Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

NCERT drops Periodic Table from Class X book


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Periodic Table

Mains level : Read the attached story

ncert curriculum periodic table

Central Idea

  • Changes notified by NCERT: The NCERT notified changes in its June 2022 circular, omitted the Periodic Table from 10th class books. This has been widely debated in academic circles.
  • New textbooks hit the market: The textbooks with the deletions and changes have now been released in the market.

What is Periodic Table?

History Developed by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. He arranged elements based on their atomic masses and predicted the existence of undiscovered elements.
Organization Elements are arranged based on their atomic numbers, electron configurations, and properties.
Periods There are seven periods (rows) in the table, representing different principal energy levels.
Groups The table has 18 groups (columns), with elements in the same group sharing similar properties.
Main Groups Elements in groups 1, 2, and 13 to 18 are referred to as main group elements.
Transition Metals Groups 3 to 12 consist of transition metals, known for their variable oxidation states.
Lanthanides The first row of the f-block contains the 15 lanthanide elements.
Actinides The second row of the f-block contains the 15 actinide elements.
Periodic Trends Various trends exist across the table, such as atomic radius, ionization energy, and electronegativity.
Periodic Law The chemical and physical properties of elements repeat in a periodic manner based on their atomic numbers.
Modern Versions Modern versions incorporate atomic numbers and reflect our understanding of atomic structure.
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) IUPAC is the international organization responsible for the standardization of chemical nomenclature, symbols, and the Periodic Table.
Database Management Several organizations and databases manage and maintain comprehensive information about the elements, their properties, and the Periodic Table. Examples include the IUPAC, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).


Why this matters?

  • NCERT textbooks as a cornerstone: NCERT textbooks are considered a cornerstone for guiding the publication of State board textbooks, affecting nearly 60 State boards.
  • Concerns for non-science stream students: With a significant number of students opting for Arts and Commerce streams, they may lose the opportunity to learn crucial basic Chemistry concepts now only accessible in Class XI.

Controversial Deletions and Omissions by NCERT

  • Fundamental knowledge of chemistry: Experts argue that leaving out the periodic table and logical organization of elements from the textbooks hinders students’ understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts.
  • Rationalization of contents due to the pandemic: The NCERT claims that the exercise of reducing the content load on students is carried out across all classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Previous controversial deletions: Earlier, NCERT dropped Darwin’s theory of evolution from Class X textbooks and deleted chapters from Political Science textbooks, including Democracy and Diversity, Popular Struggles and Movements, Political Parties, and Challenges to Democracy.

Additional controversial omissions

  • Exclusion of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad: Any mention of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a freedom fighter and India’s first Education Minister, has been deleted from the textbooks.
  • Omission of J&K’s accession to India: The fact that Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India on the basis of autonomy has been removed from the revised Class XI textbook.
  • Further omissions in the CBSE syllabus: The history of Mughal courts, references to the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, the Naxalite movement, and mention of Dalit writers were also omitted from the CBSE syllabus.

Reasons cited for curriculum revamp

  • Multiple sets of authors: Textbooks have undergone changes over the years, written by different sets of historians. There have been no controversies regarding these changes.
  • Celebration of diversity and assimilation: Exclusively holding on to one set of textbooks is contrary to the spirit of a civilization that celebrates diversity and assimilation.
  • NCF’s efforts for inclusive representations: The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) aims to bring a plurality of voices and more inclusive representations of marginalized and previously excluded history.

Allegations of Distortions in history textbooks

  • Deliberate distortions: Some sections of the media allege that the corrections and improvements made in the NCERT history textbooks are deliberate distortions or rewriting of history.
  • Sense of entitlement: The charge of rewriting history under a specific ideology betrays a sense of entitlement, suggesting that only one set of historians had the knowledge to determine what should be taught.
  • Autonomy breach: While autonomy in academic and intellectual activities is crucial, the notion that institutional autonomy has been undermined and academic freedom is under stress is a one-sided and pointless exercise.

Way forward

  • Logical revision: There is an urgent need for a comprehensive revision of NCERT textbooks, not only in history but in all subjects, to incorporate new knowledge and discoveries.
  • Prudent use of existing textbooks: Until a detailed plan and advice for a comprehensive revision of books and syllabi is formulated, NCERT has chosen to use the existing textbooks.
  • Presenting facts lucidly: Textbooks should present facts lucidly, allowing students to acquire the knowledge they seek.
  • Avoid politicizing: Academics and politicians should refrain from politicizing school textbooks and instead focus on telling students the stories of the past without weaving in half-truths or erasing vast chunks of history.
  • Addressing gaps and inclusivity: Continuous revision of the curriculum is necessary to address gaps, make textbooks relevant, and ensure inclusivity.


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Interstate River Water Dispute

Row over Mekedatu Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mekedatu Project

Mains level : Interstate water disputes


Central Idea

  • Announcement of dam and reservoir: The Deputy CM of Karnataka announced plans for the construction of a dam and reservoir called Mekedatu near the state’s border with Tamil Nadu.
  • Objections raised by Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu expressed strong objections to the project, arguing that it goes against the rulings of both the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and the Supreme Court.
  • Warning of protests: Political parties in Tamil Nadu have warned of potential protests and opposition if the construction of the Mekedatu dam proceeds.

What is Mekedatu Project?

  • Location and purpose: The Mekedatu dam project is planned to be constructed in Ramanagaram district, approximately 100 km south of Bengaluru. Its primary purpose is to address the drinking water needs of Bengaluru and replenish the regional groundwater table.
  • Proposed capacity and estimated cost of the dam: The dam is proposed to have a capacity of 48 TMC (thousand million cubic) feet and is estimated to cost Rs 6,000 crore.
  • Background and previous developments of the project: The idea of the Mekedatu dam has been under consideration for several years. In 2014, the Karnataka government invited expressions of interest for the project and allocated funds for a detailed project report in the following year.

Opposition to the Project

  • Widespread protests and state-wide bandh in TN: When the project was initially proposed, Tamil Nadu witnessed widespread protests against it. These protests culminated in a statewide bandh, supported by various stakeholders.
  • Resolutions passed by TN Assembly against the project: The Tamil Nadu Assembly, representing the voice of the people, passed unanimous resolutions expressing strong opposition to the Mekedatu project in December 2018 and January 2022.
  • Political actions and legal involvement in the dispute: Various political leaders and parties in Tamil Nadu have taken actions, including raising the issue with the central government and approaching the Supreme Court to challenge the project’s legality.

Arguments against the Project

  • Concerns over modification of river flow: Critics of the Mekedatu project argue that constructing reservoirs on the Cauvery River would modify its natural flow, potentially leading to adverse effects downstream.
  • Violation of the final award of the water disputes tribunal: Tamil Nadu contends that the proposed dam violates the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, which determined the water-sharing arrangements between the two states.
  • Impact on water flow in catchment areas: Tamil Nadu raises concerns that the project’s implementation would impound the flow in catchment areas, affecting the availability of water downstream and potentially leading to water scarcity in the state.

Justifications and proposals

  • Ensuring adequate flow to TN: Karnataka argues that the construction of the Mekedatu dam will not hinder the stipulated quantum of water release to Tamil Nadu nor be utilized for irrigation purposes.
  • Allocation of funds and willingness to negotiate: The Karnataka government has earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for the project, indicating its commitment. It also expresses willingness to engage in discussions and negotiations with Tamil Nadu to address concerns and find a resolution.
  • Clearance of feasibility study: The Central Water Commission cleared a feasibility study for the Mekedatu project in 2018, providing additional support for Karnataka’s justifications and indicating the project’s viability.

Historical context of the dispute

  • Past opposition and protests against the dam: The Mekedatu dam has been a subject of contention and opposition for several years. Tamil Nadu has witnessed widespread protests, reflecting public sentiment against the project.
  • Political actions and involvement of state delegations: Political leaders from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been actively involved in addressing the issue. Delegations from both states have approached the central government seeking support or intervention.
  • Legal challenges and the role of the Supreme Court: Tamil Nadu’s approach to the Supreme Court against the Mekedatu project highlights the legal dimension of the dispute. The involvement of the court plays a crucial role in considering the arguments and reaching a resolution.

Environmental and Economic considerations

  • Potential benefits of the dam for water supply: Proponents of the Mekedatu project argue that it will address the pressing drinking water needs of Bengaluru, ensuring a stable water supply for the growing city.
  • Concerns about environmental impact and ecosystem disruption: Critics raise concerns about the potential environmental impact of constructing the dam and reservoir. They highlight potential disruptions to local ecosystems and the natural flow of the river.
  • Evaluating the economic viability of the project: Given the significant estimated cost of the Mekedatu project, there is a need to evaluate its cost-effectiveness and long-term economic viability, considering factors such as funding sources, returns on investment, and sustainable utilization of resources.

Way forward

  • Importance of negotiation and finding common ground: The conflict surrounding the Mekedatu project emphasizes the importance of dialogue, negotiations, and finding mutually acceptable solutions that address the concerns of both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Role of the Supreme Court and other mediators in resolving conflicts: The involvement of the Supreme Court and other mediators can play a crucial role in facilitating discussions, mediating conflicts, and reaching a resolution that adheres to legal frameworks and considers the interests of both states.
  • Promoting inter-state cooperation for sustainable water management: The dispute underscores the need for robust inter-state cooperation and collaboration on water management issues. It is crucial to ensure sustainable and equitable utilization of shared water resources, respect legal frameworks, and address the concerns of all stakeholders involved.


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Labour, Jobs and Employment – Harmonization of labour laws, gender gap, unemployment, etc.

Highlights of the Global Slavery Index, 2023


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Global Slavery Index, 2023

Mains level : Forced labour

Central Idea

  • India tops the list of Global Slavery Index, 2023 with 11 million people working as forced laborers.

Global Slavery Index, 2023

Publisher Walk Free Foundation
Purpose Assess modern slavery conditions worldwide
Data Sources International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Indicators Forced labor, forced marriage, human trafficking, exploitation
Rankings Countries ranked based on estimated number of people in modern slavery
Index Score Reflects vulnerability and response to modern slavery
Recommendations Calls for action to combat modern slavery and protect rights
Target Audience Policymakers, activists, researchers, organizations
Impact Raises awareness, informs strategies, promotes human rights


Key highlights

  • The number of people living in conditions of modern slavery has increased by 25% over the last 5 years, reaching 50 million people.
  • G20 nations, including India, China, Russia, Indonesia, Turkey, and the US, are contributing to this increase through their trade operations and global supply chains.

Definition and scope of modern slavery

  • Modern slavery encompasses various practices such as-
  1. Forced labor
  2. Forced marriage
  3. Debt bondage
  4. Commercial sexual exploitation
  5. Human trafficking
  6. Slavery-like practices (ex. coercion to do certain work)
  7. Sale and exploitation of children.
  • It involves situations where threats, violence and deception prevent individuals from refusing or leaving.

Factors contributing to the increase

  • The rise of modern slavery is influenced by climate change, armed conflict, weak governance, and health emergencies like COVID-19.
  • G20 nations account for over half of all people living in modern slavery.
  • Imports of at-risk products worth $468 billion, including electronics, textiles, palm oil, and solar panels, worsen forced labor conditions by coming from countries with weak worker protection.

Manifestations of modern slavery in Global Supply Chains

  • The report highlights the prevalence of forced labor across different points in the global supply chain, particularly in industries such as textiles.
  • Exploitative conditions, unpaid work, low wages, debt bondage, and health and safety risks are common in industries like spinning mills.
  • G20 countries collectively import billions of dollars’ worth of goods produced by forced labor every year.

India’s measures against on modern slavery

  • India has passed laws like the Bonded Labour Abolition Act of 1976 to address modern slavery.
  • However, implementation challenges, corruption, legal loopholes, and lack of political hinder effective enforcement of these laws.
  • Moreover, there are lacunas in proper identification and enumeration of people trapped in modern slavery conditions.

Way forward

  • Strengthen Measures and Legislation: Enact stronger laws to prevent the sourcing of goods and services associated with modern slavery.
  • Embed Anti-Slavery Measures in Climate Change Plans: Integrate anti-slavery efforts into sustainability plans, acknowledging the link between climate change and vulnerability to modern slavery.
  • Enhance Education and Tighten Regulations: Provide accessible education while tightening regulations on forced labor, child marriage, and exploitative practices.
  • Prioritize Rehabilitation and Support: Prioritize comprehensive support systems for the rehabilitation of bonded laborers, including financial aid, education, job security, and fair compensation.
  • Hold G20 Nations Accountable and Foster Cooperation: Ensure accountability among G20 nations and promote collaborative efforts to eliminate modern slavery.


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Foreign Policy Watch: India-ASEAN

Cambodian King’s state visit to India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Angkor Wat

Mains level : India-Cambodia Relations


Central Idea

  • Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni is on his maiden state visit to India to mark the culmination of 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with India.

Marking 70th Anniversary of Diplomatic Ties

  • This visit holds special significance as it is the first state visit by a Cambodian King in nearly six decades, with the last visit being made by King Norodom Sihamoni’s father in 1963.
  • India and Cambodia share warm and friendly relations, characterized by deep-rooted people-to-people ties, cultural connections, and a commitment to mutual economic growth.

India-Cambodia Diplomatic Ties: A Backgrounder


[A] Historical Background

Additional Information
Indianization of Southeast Asia Spread of Indian religions, cultural practices, art, architecture, and literature across Southeast Asia
Funan Kingdom (1st to 6th century CE) Indian traders establishing commercial links with Funan, leading to the exchange of goods, ideas, and cultural practices
Chenla Kingdom (6th to 9th century CE) Emergence of Chenla as an Indianized kingdom with continued Indian cultural and religious influence
Khmer Empire (9th to 15th century CE) Peak of Indian influence, adoption of Hinduism and later Buddhism, construction of monumental temples and structures like Angkor Wat
Sanskrit Inscriptions and Literature Adoption of Sanskrit as court language, creation of inscriptions and literary works in Sanskrit
Cultural Exchange and Artistic Influence Indian art, architecture, and performing arts influencing Cambodian temples, sculptures, and dance forms
Royal Ties and Religious Connections Close connections between ruling elites of the Khmer Empire and Indian kingdoms, the transmission of Buddhist teachings and scriptures from India


[B] Diplomatic Relations

  • Establishment of Diplomatic Ties: India and Cambodia established diplomatic relations in 1952 after Cambodia’s independence from French colonial rule.
  • High-Level Visits: Frequent visits by Indian Prime Ministers and Presidents to Cambodia and vice versa to strengthen bilateral relations and political dialogue.
  • Bilateral Agreements: Signing of agreements covering areas such as economic cooperation, cultural exchanges, defense, and tourism.
  • Resident Diplomatic Missions: Indian Embassy in Phnom Penh and Cambodian Embassy in New Delhi facilitating regular communication and coordination.
  • Regional and Multilateral Engagement: Collaboration within organizations like ASEAN and East Asia Summit, providing platforms for regional cooperation and addressing challenges.

Various facets of India-Cambodia Relations

(1) Economic Cooperation

  • Growing Bilateral Trade: Focus on sectors like textiles, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, agriculture, and information technology.
  • Development Assistance: India’s support in sectors like agriculture, irrigation, human resource development, and capacity building.
  • Investment and Joint Ventures: Exploring opportunities for investment and collaborative projects.

(2) Defense and Security Cooperation

  • Training and Capacity Building: Defense cooperation through training programs for Cambodian armed forces personnel.
  • Defense Dialogues and Exchanges: Regular engagement in discussions on maritime security, counter-terrorism, and defense industry collaboration.

(3) Cultural and Educational Exchanges

  • Art, Music, Dance, and Literature: Fostering cultural ties through exchanges and appreciation of each other’s cultural heritage.
  • Scholarships and Education: ICCR scholarships facilitate Cambodian students’ higher education in India.
  • People-to-People Connections: Cultural festivals, events, and tourism enhance mutual understanding and interactions.

Strategic significance of Cambodia for India

  • Geostrategic Location: Cambodia’s position in Southeast Asia provides India with access to crucial sea routes and enhances its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Regional Connectivity: Cambodia’s connectivity with other ASEAN countries allows India to strengthen regional partnerships and facilitate trade, investment, and people-to-people exchanges as part of its Act East Policy.
  • Balancing China’s Influence: Strengthening relations with Cambodia enables India to maintain a balanced approach and counterbalance China’s growing influence in the region.
  • Maritime Security: Cambodia’s coastal geography and access to the Gulf of Thailand are strategically important for India’s maritime security concerns. Cooperation with Cambodia supports regional stability and ensures the safety of vital sea routes.
  • Economic Engagement: Cambodia’s growing economy and investment potential offer opportunities for India to enhance economic cooperation, boosting trade, investments, and joint ventures for mutual benefit.
  • Cultural Diplomacy: Cambodia’s historical and cultural linkages with India provide a foundation for strong cultural and people-to-people ties, enhancing India’s soft power in the region.
  • Defense and Security Cooperation: Collaborating with Cambodia in defence and security areas contributes to regional security, including capacity building, joint exercises, and information sharing.

Way Forward

  • Strengthen Economic Ties: Expand bilateral trade and investment, explore new sectors, and foster business partnerships.
  • Enhance Defense Cooperation: Continue training and capacity-building programs, and deepen discussions on shared security challenges.
  • Cultural Exchanges and Tourism: Promote greater cultural understanding, organize more cultural events, and facilitate tourism exchanges.
  • People-to-People Contacts: Encourage more interactions between citizens, foster academic collaborations, and promote tourism.
  • Regional Cooperation: Engage actively within ASEAN and other regional forums to address common challenges and pursue shared interests.


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Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Low Enrollment of Muslims in Higher Education


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AISHE

Mains level : Religious disparity in higher education


Central Idea

  • All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-21 conducted by the Ministry of Education reveals the underrepresentation of Muslims in higher education compared to other communities.

What is the AISHE?

  • To portray the status of higher education in the country, the Ministry of Education conducts an annual web-based AISHE since 2010-11.
  • Data is collected on several parameters such as teachers, student enrolment, programmes, examination results, education finance and infrastructure.
  • Indicators of educational development such as Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Pupil-teacher ratio, Gender Parity Index, Per Student Expenditure will also be calculated from the data collected through AISHE.
  • These are useful in making informed policy decisions and research for development of the education sector.

AISHE 2020-21 data on Minority Education

The survey highlights a decline in Muslim enrollment, potentially due to economic constraints and limited opportunities for pursuing higher education.

(1) Decline in Muslim Enrollment:

  • Muslim enrollment in higher education declined by 8% in the 2020-21 academic year, while other marginalized communities experienced improved enrollment rates.
  • Economic impoverishment forces talented Muslim students to prioritize earning opportunities after completing school, rather than pursuing higher education.
  • Drastic declines were reported in UP (36%), J&K (26%), Maharashtra (8.5%), and TN (8.1%).
  • Delhi witnessed a significant portion of Muslim students failing to enroll for higher education.

(2) Uttar Pradesh’s Low Enrollment Rate:

  • Muslims constitute around 20% of the population in the state.
  • Despite an increase in the number of colleges in UP, mere 4.5% Muslim enrollment is in higher education.

(3) Kerala’s Exceptional Performance:

  • Kerala stands out as the only state where 43% of Muslims pursue higher education, bucking the trend of low enrollment.

(4) Female enrolment improving:

  • Muslim and other minority communities exhibit higher female student enrollment than male students, indicating progress for women in minority communities.
  • Male members of the Muslim community face pressure to earn a living early, potentially hindering their pursuit of higher education.

(5) Lack of Muslim Teachers:

  • Muslim representation among teachers in higher education institutions is alarmingly low, comprising only 5.6%.
  • General Category teachers account for 56%, while OBC, SC, and ST teachers make up 32%, 9%, and 2.5%, respectively.
  • Gender disparities among teachers persist, with only 59 female Muslim teachers for every 100 male Muslim teachers.

Reasons for such low enrollment

  • Religious influence: Certain societal and cultural norms within the Muslim community prioritize early marriage and family responsibilities over pursuing higher education, especially for female students.
  • Economic Challenges: The Muslim community faces financial limitations that hinder their ability to afford higher education expenses, including tuition fees and accommodation.
  • Lack of Awareness and Guidance: Many Muslim students, particularly those from marginalized backgrounds, lack information about available higher education opportunities, scholarships etc.
  • Preferences for religious preachings: Many families prefer religious teachings at Madrasas over STEM education considering the acute competition and lack of reservation facilities.
  • Stereotypes and Discrimination: Instances of religious discrimination and bias discourage Muslim students from pursuing higher education and create a sense of unwelcomeness in educational institutions.
  • Socio-political Factors: Political decisions, policy changes, or the withdrawal of educational support programs can have a direct impact on the enrollment of Muslim students in higher education.

Schemes promoting Muslim education in India

  • Maulana Azad National Fellowship: Provides scholarships for minority students pursuing M Phil and Ph D programs.
  • National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC): Offers interest-free loans and scholarships to economically disadvantaged minority students.
  • Nai Udaan Scheme: Provides free coaching and assistance for competitive exams to minority students.
  • Seekho Aur Kamao (Learn and Earn) Scheme: Offers skill development and vocational training to enhance employability among minority students.
  • Pre-Matric and Post-Matric Scholarship Schemes: Provides financial assistance for educational expenses to increase access to education for minority students.
  • Bridge Courses and Remedial Coaching: Helps minority students bridge educational gaps and improve academic performance.

Way Forward

Following efforts should be made to address the declining enrollment of Muslim students in higher education:

  • Providing scholarships and financial aid to economically disadvantaged Muslim students.
  • Creating awareness programs to highlight the importance of higher education and its long-term benefits.
  • Collaborating with community organizations to develop mentoring and support systems for Muslim students.
  • Implementing policies that promote inclusive education and equal opportunities for all communities.
  • Encouraging the recruitment and representation of Muslim teachers and non-teaching staff in higher education institutions.


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Judicial Reforms

Live streaming of Court Proceedings


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Live Streaming of Court

live streaming court

Central Idea

  • The significance of live-streaming court proceedings as an extension of the ‘open justice’ and ‘open courts’ principle remains largely unrealized in India.
  • Only nine out of the 25 High Courts in the country have implemented live streaming, while the Supreme Court restricts it to Constitutional cases.

What is live-streaming technology?

  • At its core, streaming content is meant to help people attend events, expos, and experiences they cannot attend in person.
  • Live streaming technology is how videos are streamed over the internet, live, in real-time, as they are being recorded.
  • Live streaming technology is the internet’s response to live television broadcasts, with the most popular being news shows and sports.

Why discuss this?

  • The Supreme Court emphasized the need for live streaming in district courts and High Courts as these are the courts where most citizens seek justice.
  • Time and resource constraints, as well as the inability to travel long distances, limit public access to court hearings.
  • Videoconferencing became essential since the COVID-19 pandemic, as physical hearings were not possible.

Early Adopters

  • The Gujarat HC pioneered live streaming in October 2020, streaming proceedings on YouTube as an experiment.
  • Other HCs, such as Karnataka and Meghalaya, followed with varying degrees of success.
  • The Gujarat HC’s YouTube channel gained 1.24 lakh subscribers and 1.9 crore views.

Existing Restrictions

  • Model Rules for Live Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings: These exclude certain case categories from live streaming, including matrimonial matters, child adoption and custody, sexual offences, child sexual abuse, and juvenile cases.
  • Broadcasting rights issue: The Delhi High Court notified rules for live streaming proceedings but imposed restrictions such as a ban on reproducing or transmitting audio-visual recordings.

Significance of live streaming

  • Instilling Faith in the Judiciary: Allowing ordinary people to view the workings of the highest court without barriers builds faith in the judiciary.
  • Empowering the Masses: Live streaming enables the legal system to empower the masses and develop an informed citizenry.
  • Respect for Rule of Law: Understanding the importance of the rule of law and how the judiciary protects the rights of marginalized sections of society.
  • Living up to Constitutional Expectations: Live streaming aligns with public interest and the preservation of constitutional Article 19 and 21.
  • Increased Transparency: Encourages the principle of open court, reduces reliance on second-hand information, and allows the public’s right to know.
  • Elevating Legal Standards: Lawyers become better prepared, refrain from irresponsible remarks, and take justice delivery more seriously.
  • Level Playing Field: Provides equal opportunities for younger lawyers to showcase their skills and competence.
  • Academic Advancement: Inspires law students and encourages legal research on the functioning of the judiciary and the legal profession.
  • Easy Accessibility: Eliminates the need for physical presence, allowing litigants to access proceedings from anywhere.

Issues with such policy

  • Contempt of Court: Existing video clips of court proceedings on social media platforms often lack context and sensationalize events, potentially undermining the dignity of the court.
  • Disinformation and Sensationalism: There are concerns that misuse or selective use of live streaming content may contribute to the spread of disinformation among the public.
  • Unnecessary Activism: Increased visibility through live streaming could lead to justices behaving like politicians, seeking individual exposure rather than focusing solely on justice.

Physical barriers for it

  • Internet Connectivity: Issues related to internet connectivity may hinder seamless live streaming, requiring attention for reliable access to court proceedings.
  • Adequate Infrastructure: Provision of well-equipped spaces where lawyers can effectively present their cases is crucial for a smooth transition to live-streamed proceedings.
  • Awareness and Training: Judges, court staff, and lawyers may lack familiarity with digital technology and its benefits. Efforts should be made to raise awareness and provide comprehensive training to ensure their proficiency.

Global examples

  • Several countries, including the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, and China, have implemented live streaming of court proceedings in various formats.
  • Live streaming formats include audio recordings (US), video recordings streamed on television (Brazil), video streaming on court websites (UK, Canada), and live streaming from trial courts up to the supreme court (China).

Way Forward

To promote open justice and improve access to justice, the following steps are recommended:

  • Implementation of live streaming in all courtrooms of the Supreme Court and across all High Courts and district courts.
  • Ensuring adequate infrastructure for videoconferencing and live streaming beyond the pandemic.
  • Reviewing and revising restrictions on live streaming to strike a balance between transparency and privacy concerns.
  • Conducting awareness campaigns to educate the public about the availability and benefits of live-streamed court proceedings.


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Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Slowing of Overturning Circulation in Antarctic


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Overturning Circulation

Mains level : Not Much


Central Idea

  • Recent research indicates that the Antarctic overturning circulation, a global network of ocean currents, is slowing down at a faster rate than previously predicted.
  • The overturning circulation is crucial for redistributing heat, carbon, and nutrients, and maintaining Earth’s climate stability and deep-ocean oxygen levels.

What is Overturning Circulation?

  • The overturning circulation (OC) refers to the large-scale circulation pattern in the global ocean, involving both surface and deep currents.
  • It is a network of ocean currents that plays a crucial role in redistributing heat, carbon, and nutrients around the globe.
  • It is driven by the sinking of dense, cold, oxygen-rich water from the ocean surface to the deep ocean and the rising of less dense water in different regions.

How does it work?

  • It operates on a global scale and involves the sinking and rising of water masses driven by density differences.
  • Cold, dense water sinks in certain regions, while warmer, less dense water rises in other areas, creating a continuous flow of water.

Key components and processes

  • Antarctic Bottom Water: Cold, dense water forms near Antarctica and sinks to the ocean floor, spreading northward along the seafloor.
  • North Atlantic Deep Water: Another dense water mass forms in the North Atlantic and sinks to great depths.
  • Thermohaline Circulation: Temperature and salinity differences drive the sinking and rising of water masses, influencing the overturning circulation.
  • Deep Ocean Currents: Once the dense water sinks, it flows along the deep ocean basins, connecting various regions of the world ocean.

Observing and studying the OC

  • Monitoring the overturning circulation is challenging due to its vast scale and complex dynamics.
  • Observations include ship-based measurements, moored instruments, floats, satellites, and numerical models.
  • Scientists use a combination of measurements and simulations to understand the behavior and changes in the overturning circulation.

Importance of the Overturning Circulation

  • Heat redistribution: The overturning circulation helps regulate Earth’s climate by transporting heat from the equator to the poles and vice versa.
  • Assist carbon cycle: It plays a vital role in redistributing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, impacting the global carbon cycle.
  • Nutrient cycling: The circulation also facilitates the transport of nutrients, affecting marine ecosystems and productivity.

Consequences of a Slowing OC

  • Climatic changes: A slowdown in the overturning circulation can have significant consequences for Earth’s climate and marine ecosystems.
  • Nutrient disruption: It can disrupt the transport of heat, carbon, and nutrients, leading to changes in regional and global climate patterns.
  • De-oxygenation: Reduced oxygen supply to the deep ocean can affect deep-sea marine life and potentially lead to shifts in species distribution.

Impact of Melting Antarctic Ice

  • Melting Antarctic ice disrupts the formation of Antarctic bottom water, a key component of the overturning circulation.
  • Freshening of surface waters due to melt-water makes them less dense and less likely to sink, slowing down the circulation.

Future Outlook

  • Antarctica’s ice loss is expected to continue and accelerate with global warming.
  • Anticipated freshening due to increased ice loss will prolong the slowdown and further decrease deep-ocean oxygen levels.
  • The consequences of the slowdown extend beyond Antarctica, affecting the global ocean, climate change, and sea level rise.
  • Urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to address these issues.

Way forward

  • Intensify efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Implement measures to mitigate ice loss from Antarctica and address the freshening of surface waters.
  • Promote scientific research and monitoring to understand and respond to the ongoing changes.
  • Raise awareness about the importance of the overturning circulation and its impact on climate and marine ecosystems.


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Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

Iron Fortification: Health Risks of Excessive Iron Intake


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Iron fortification

Mains level : Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • Iron is an essential mineral for bodily functions, but excessive intake can be harmful.
  • Fortification of food with iron is a suggested method for treating iron deficiency anemia.
  • Excess consumption of fortified foods or simultaneous consumption of multiple fortified foods can lead to excessive iron intake.

What is Iron Fortification?

  • Iron fortification refers to the process of adding iron to food products to increase their iron content.
  • It is done using various forms of iron, such as iron salts or iron powders, which are added to the food during processing.
  • It is a public health strategy employed to address iron deficiency, particularly in populations where inadequate iron intake is prevalent.
  • The goal is to provide a significant portion of the recommended daily iron intake through fortified foods, contributing to the prevention and treatment of iron deficiency anaemia.

Implications for Iron Overload

  • Comorbidities: Iron overload conditions, such as thalassemia, hemochromatosis, and chronic liver disease, have impaired iron excretion mechanisms.
  • Blooding events: Iron absorption is balanced by steady and minimal excretion, except during bleeding events.
  • Menstrual bleeding: Women can excrete iron through menstrual bleeding, while men are less capable of iron excretion.
  • Oxidative stress: Increased iron intake can lead to oxidative stress, cellular damage, and impaired mitochondrial function.
  • Heart ailments: High serum ferritin levels (a marker of iron storage) are associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as high fasting serum glucose, high total cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hypertension.
  • Liver damage: Very high amounts of iron can activate hepatic stellate cells and cause excessive deposition of extracellular matrix in the liver. Prolonged liver iron overload can lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

Challenges and consequences

  • Minimal absorption: Only a small percentage of ingested iron from fortified foods is absorbed, with the rest passing through the intestine.
  • Digestive issues: Unabsorbed iron can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal lining and disrupt the colonic microbiota, leading to abdominal discomfort and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Issues with nutrition absorption: Excessive iron in the gastrointestinal tract can impair the absorption of other essential minerals like zinc and copper and potentially result in other deficiencies.

Way Forward

  • Implement individualized strategies for iron intake rather than mandatory fortification programs to avoid unsupervised high iron intake across diverse populations.
  • Ensure thorough monitoring and detection of adverse events related to iron intake.
  • Precision in public health approaches is necessary to prevent the risk of iron overload and potential long-term chronic illnesses associated with excess iron.
  • Evaluate the specific dietary iron needs of different population segments to avoid unnecessary excess iron consumption.


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Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

Model Prisons Act 2023 to replace British-era Law


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Model Prisons Act

Mains level : Prison reforms in India


Central Idea: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has prepared the ‘Model Prisons Act 2023’ to replace the outdated Prisons Act of 1894.

Model Prisons Act, 2023

  • The focus of the new act is to reform and rehabilitate inmates and overhaul prison administration.
  • The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), a think tank on policing subjects, was tasked with reviewing the laws and preparing a new draft.

Salient Features of the Act

  • The model act includes provisions for the punishment of prisoners and jail staff for using prohibited items such as mobile phones in jails.
  • It establishes and manages high-security jails, open jails (open and semi-open), and provisions for protecting society from hardened criminals and habitual offenders.
  • The act provides legal aid to prisoners and includes provisions for parole, furlough, and premature release as incentives for good conduct.

Need for a New Prisons Act

  • Outdated laws: The existing laws, including the Prisons Act of 1894, the Prisoners Act of 1900, and the Transfer of Prisoners Act of 1950, are outdated and need to be updated.
  • Better prison administration: The MHA found several gaps in the existing act and emphasized the need for a correctional focus in prison administration.
  • Prisoners’ rehab: The existing Prisons Act of 1894 lacks a focus on reform and rehabilitation of prisoners.
  • Use of technology: The act also incorporates the use of technology in prison management and emphasizes the physical and mental well-being of prisoners.

Review and Integration of Existing Laws

  • Along with the Prisons Act of 1894, the Prisoners Act of 1900 and the Transfer of Prisoners Act of 1950 have also been reviewed by the MHA.
  • Relevant provisions from these acts have been assimilated into the Model Prisons Act 2023.
  • State governments and union territory administrations are encouraged to adopt the model act in their jurisdictions, with necessary modifications and the repeal of the existing three acts.

Focus Areas of the Model Act

  • Segregation of prisoners: The act emphasizes security assessment and segregation of prisoners, individual sentence planning, and grievance redressal.
  • Prison development board: It proposes the establishment of a prison development board and aims to promote an attitudinal change towards prisoners.
  • Gendered division: The act provides for separate accommodation for women prisoners, transgender individuals, and other specific groups.
  • Technological push: It highlights the use of technology in prison administration, such as video-conferencing with courts and scientific and technological interventions.

Key Lessons

  • Changing Perspective on Prisons: The statement acknowledges that globally, prisons are now seen as reformative and correctional institutions.
  • Retributive deterrence: Prisons are no longer considered solely as places of retributive deterrence but as institutions where prisoners can be transformed and rehabilitated as law-abiding citizens.

Considerations for prison reforms in India

  • Overcrowding and Understaffing: Addressing the issue of prison overcrowding by exploring alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, such as diversion programs and community-based sentencing.
  • Legal Aid and Access to Justice: Ensuring that prisoners have access to legal aid and representation to protect their rights and facilitate fair trials. Promoting awareness among inmates about their legal rights and avenues for seeking redress.
  • Prison Healthcare: Enhancing healthcare services within prisons, including mental health support and substance abuse treatment programs.
  • Women and Children in Prisons: Creating gender-responsive policies and separate accommodations for women prisoners, ensuring their safety, privacy, and access to reproductive health services.
  • Community Reintegration: Collaborating with community-based organizations, NGOs, and vocational training institutes to support the reintegration of released prisoners into society.
  • Technology and Digital Solutions: Leveraging technology to improve prison management, record-keeping, and communication systems.


  • The Model Prisons Act, 2023 emphasizes rehabilitation and recognizes the potential of prisoners to become law-abiding citizens.
  • The act provides a framework for creating a more just and rehabilitative criminal justice system.
  • It focuses on the well-being of inmates and aims to ensure their successful reintegration into society.


Also read:

PM calls for Prison Reforms and Repeal of Obsolete Laws

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Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

Debate over Fortified Rice


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Fortified Rice

Mains level : Food fortification and related concerns

fortified rice

Central Idea

  • The Union Food Ministry refuted the allegations made by the Opposition regarding the distribution of Fortified Rice through fair price shops.

What is Fortified Rice?

  • Fortified rice refers to the process of enhancing regular rice with essential nutrients to address nutritional deficiencies in populations that heavily rely on rice as a staple food.
  • These added nutrients aim to improve the nutritional value of rice and combat specific deficiencies prevalent in certain regions or population groups.
  • The fortification process involves coating the rice grains with a nutrient-rich powder or premix.
  • The specific nutrients added to fortified rice can vary, but commonly include:
  1. Iron: Iron is often added to fortified rice to address iron deficiency anaemia, a widespread nutritional problem globally.
  2. Vitamins: Essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B-complex (including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folic acid), and vitamin D may be included in fortified rice to address specific vitamin deficiencies prevalent in target populations.
  3. Minerals: Other minerals like zinc, calcium, and iodine may be incorporated into fortified rice, depending on the specific nutritional needs and deficiencies of the target population.

Need for fortification

  • Data from the National Family Health Survey 2019-21 shows that 57 per cent of women in the reproductive age group (15-49) are deficient in iron.
  • Moreover, studies have shown that about a fifth of the children (0-5 years) who do not have access to a nutritious and diversified diet suffer from vitamin-A deficiency.
  • Vitamin D deficiency has been termed a silent epidemic.

Advantages offered

  • Health: Fortified staple foods will contain natural or near-natural levels of micro-nutrients, which may not necessarily be the case with supplements.
  • Taste: It provides nutrition without any change in the characteristics of food or the course of our meals.
  • Nutrition: If consumed on a regular and frequent basis, fortified foods will maintain body stores of nutrients more efficiently and more effectively than will intermittently supplement.
  • Economy: The overall costs of fortification are extremely low; the price increase is approximately 1 to 2 percent of the total food value.
  • Society: It upholds everyone’s right to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with the right to adequate food and the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger.

Issues with fortified food

  • Against nature: Fortification and enrichment upset nature’s packaging. Our body does not absorb individual nutrients added to processed foods as efficiently compared to nutrients naturally occurring.
  • Bioavailability: Supplements added to foods are less bioavailable. Bioavailability refers to the proportion of a nutrient your body is able to absorb and use.
  • Immunity issues: They lack immune-boosting substances.
  • Over-nutrition: Fortified foods and supplements can pose specific risks for people who are taking prescription medications, including decreased absorption of other micro-nutrients, treatment failure, and increased mortality risk.

Possible health hazard

  • Thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia and malaria are conditions where there is already excess iron in the body, whereas TB patients are unable to absorb iron.
  • Consumption of iron-fortified foods among patients of these diseases can reduce immunity and functionality of organs.

Ministry’s justification of Fortified Rice

  • The Ministry cited various studies to support the assertion that consumption of fortified rice leads to a significant improvement in haemoglobin levels and a reduction in the prevalence of anaemia.
  • Rice fortification has been adopted by seven countries, including the U.S., since 1958, highlighting its effectiveness as a public health intervention.
  • Ongoing evaluation, conducted by NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research, is being carried out to assess the impact and effectiveness of fortified rice.
  • Evaluation studies focusing on pilot districts are currently underway to gather comprehensive data and insights.

Way Forward

  • Collaborative efforts between the Ministry, NITI Aayog, and other relevant institutions should be prioritized to conduct a thorough and independent evaluation of the fortified rice program.
  • Transparent communication of evaluation results and findings is crucial to foster trust and address any potential shortcomings or areas of improvement.
  • Incorporating feedback and recommendations from stakeholders will be valuable in enhancing the implementation and impact of the fortified rice distribution program.
  • Continuous monitoring and assessment of the program’s effectiveness should be a priority, enabling necessary adjustments and improvements to be made in a timely manner.


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Financial Inclusion in India and Its Challenges

IRDAI’s ambitious plan ‘Bima Trinity’


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BIMA Trinity

Mains level : Insurance sector reforms


Central Idea

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) in India aims to implement ambitious plans to improve the insurance sector.
  • The key objectives include offering affordable bundled policies that cover multiple risks and providing expedited claim settlements with value-added services.

“Bima Trinity” – A Comprehensive Plan

  • The IRDA is collaborating with general and life insurance firms to develop a comprehensive plan called “Bima Trinity.”
  1. Bima Sugam
  2. Bima Vistar
  3. Bima Vaahaks

 (1) Bima Sugam – One-Stop Shop Platform

  • The IRDA is developing the Bima Sugam platform, which will integrate insurers and distributors onto a single platform.
  • This platform will serve as a one-stop shop for customers, simplifying the process of purchasing policies and accessing services.
  • Customers will be able to pursue service requests and settle claims through the same portal, enhancing convenience and efficiency.

(2) Bima Vistar

  • The IRDA is working on the development of Bima Vistar, a bundled risk cover that encompasses life, health, property, and casualties or accidents.
  • This bundled policy aims to provide comprehensive protection against a wide range of risks.
  • Policyholders will have defined benefits for each risk, allowing for faster claim payouts without the need for surveyors.
  • Bima Vistar will offer defined benefits for each risk category, ensuring clarity and ease of understanding for policyholders.
  • If a loss occurs, the defined benefit will be promptly transferred to the policyholder’s bank account, eliminating unnecessary waiting periods.

(3) Bima Vaahaks: Women-Centric Workforce

  • As part of the Bima Trinity plan, the IRDA envisions a women-centric workforce known as Bima Vaahaks.
  • Bima Vaahaks will operate at the Gram Sabha level and engage with women heads of households.
  • Their role will be to educate and convince women about the benefits of a comprehensive insurance product like Bima Vistar.
  • They will emphasize the usefulness of a composite insurance product like Bima Vistar during times of distress.
  • By highlighting the advantages and addressing concerns, these Bima Vaahaks will play a crucial role in empowering women and ensuring their financial security.

Other developments

  • Leveraging Digitized Registries for Faster Claims: With the increasing digitization of birth and death registries in many states, the IRDA plans to integrate its platform with these registries. This integration would allow for seamless sharing of data and facilitate faster claim settlements.
  • Streamlined Claim Settlement Process: Policyholders can access the platform, retrieve their policy from the insurers’ repository, and provide the necessary documents, such as the death certificate. This swift claim settlement process revolutionizes the insurance industry by significantly reducing the time taken for policyholders to receive their claims.

Expansion of Insurance Penetration

(1) Legislative Amendments for Increased Investments

  • The IRDA plans to introduce legislative amendments to attract more investments into the insurance sector. These amendments would allow for differentiated licenses for niche players, similar to the banking sector.
  • The objective is to encourage more participation, ultimately making insurance more accessible and affordable for citizens.

(2) Making Insurance Available, Affordable, and Accessible

  • The IRDA is focused on adopting a multi-level approach to make insurance available, affordable, and accessible to a larger population.
  • The aim is to address the low insurance penetration in the country and double the number of jobs in the sector.
  • The regulator believes that by implementing these changes, insurance can become more inclusive and reach citizens at the Gram Sabha (village council), district, and state levels.

(3) Identifying Significant Protection Gaps

  • The IRDA acknowledges the existence of significant protection gaps in various lines of insurance, including life, health, motor, property, and crops.
  • These gaps highlight the need for comprehensive coverage and prompt claim settlements.

Proposed Amendments for Regulatory Reforms

The IRDA has proposed amendments to insurance laws to enable regulatory reforms that encourage increased investment and innovation.

  • Differentiated capital requirements: These amendments aim to introduce differentiated capital requirements for niche insurers, attracting more investment into the sector.
  • Other value-added services: Additionally, the proposed amendments will allow insurers to offer value-added services alongside policies, catering to the evolving needs and preferences of customers.
  • Encouraging new players and services: The proposed amendments will pave the way for the entry of new players in the insurance sector. Micro, regional, small, specialized, and composite insurers will have the opportunity to operate and cater to different geographical areas and population segments.

Comparison with Banking Sector

  • The IRDA draws parallels between the proposed changes in the insurance sector and the existing diversity in the banking sector.
  • Similar to the banking sector, which includes various types of banks addressing different needs and geographies, the insurance sector can benefit from a diverse range of insurers.
  • Payment banks, small finance banks, cooperative banks, and other specialized institutions serve specific purposes and cater to distinct segments of the population.

Way Forward

The IRDA’s initiatives, including bundled policies and expedited claim settlements, have the potential to significantly enhance insurance accessibility and affordability in India. To move forward effectively, the following steps can be considered:

  • Collaborating with Insurers: The IRDA should work closely with insurance companies to refine and implement the Bima Trinity plan, ensuring the success of bundled policies and integrated platforms.
  • Technological Integration: Prioritizing the integration of birth and death registries with the IRDA platform to expedite claim settlements. Emphasizing technological advancements and partnerships for seamless data sharing and processing.
  • Awareness and Education: Launch a comprehensive awareness campaign in collaboration with insurers and stakeholders to educate the public, especially women, about the benefits of bundled policies and comprehensive insurance coverage.
  • Regulatory Reforms: Expediting proposed amendments to insurance laws to enable differentiated capital requirements and value-added services. Active engagement with relevant government bodies to ensure smooth implementation.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: Establishing a robust framework for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of bundled policies, claim settlement processes, and insurance penetration in different regions.
  • Continuous Innovation: Encouraging insurers to continuously innovate and develop new products and services that address emerging risks and meet evolving consumer preferences in the rapidly evolving insurance landscape.


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Judicial Reforms

Why do judges seek ‘RECUSAL’ for themselves?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Recusal of Judges

Mains level : Read the attached story

Central Idea

Recusals by judges have been a frequent occurrence in recent weeks, raising important questions about the circumstances under which judges should recuse themselves, the need for recording reasons for recusal, and the reliance on individual judges’ discretion.

What is Recusal?

  • Recusal is the removal of oneself as a judge or policymaker in a particular matter, especially because of a conflict of interest.
  • Recusal usually takes place when a judge has a conflict of interest or has a prior association with the parties in the case.
  • For example, if the case pertains to a company in which the judge holds stakes, the apprehension would seem reasonable.
  • Similarly, if the judge has, in the past, appeared for one of the parties involved in a case, the call for recusal may seem right.
  • A recusal inevitably leads to delay. The case goes back to the Chief Justice, who has to constitute a fresh Bench.

Reasons for Judicial Recusal

  • Conflict of interest: Recusal often occurs when a judge has a direct conflict of interest or a prior association with the parties involved in a case. For instance, if a judge holds stakes in a company involved in the case, it would be reasonable to recuse themselves.
  • Earlier difference of opinion: Similarly, if the judge previously represented one of the parties in a case, recusal may be necessary.
  • Prevent bias: Some judges may recuse themselves based on apprehension of bias, while others may refuse to withdraw, considering the potential damage to the institution.
  • Absence of Codified Rules: India currently lacks codified rules specifically governing recusals, but the Supreme Court has addressed the issue through various judgments.

Procedure for Recusal

  • Automatic and Plea-based Recusal: Recusal can happen automatically when a judge recognizes a conflict of interest or when a party raises a plea for recusal due to bias or personal interest.
  • Judge’s Discretion: The decision to recuse rests solely on the conscience and discretion of the judge; no party can compel a judge to withdraw.
  • Transfer of the Case: When a judge recuses, the case is transferred to the Chief Justice, who reassigns it to an alternate bench to ensure the continuity of proceedings.

Recording Reasons for Recusal

  • Responsibility of Judges: Since there are no statutory rules, judges are responsible for recording their reasons for recusal.
  • Oral or Written Disclosure: Reasons for recusal can be specified orally in open court or through a written order, or they may remain undisclosed.


  • Lack of transparency: This regarding reasons for recusal has faced criticism, particularly when mass recusals occur in sensitive cases.
  • Motives undisclosed: Some judgments have argued for the need to indicate reasons to avoid attributing motives to recusals, while others express concerns that specifying reasons could lead to challenges and hinder the recusal process.
  • Inevitable delay: Recusal inevitably leads to delays in the proceedings as the case is transferred back to the Chief Justice, who must assign it to a fresh bench.

Past Supreme Court Rules on Recusal

  • Factors for Impartiality: The Supreme Court has established various factors to determine the impartiality of a judge in previous judgments.
  • Reasonableness of Apprehension: The reasonableness of the party’s apprehension of bias is a crucial consideration when deciding whether recusal is necessary.
  • Definition of Judicial Bias: Judicial bias is defined as a predisposition that compromises a judge’s impartiality.
  • Real Danger Test: Pecuniary interests automatically disqualify a judge, while other cases require applying the “real danger” test to evaluate the possibility of bias.

Issues with Recusal

  • Abdication of Duty: Recusal has been viewed as a potential abdication of a judge’s duty, raising concerns about maintaining institutional civility while fulfilling the independent role of judges as adjudicators.
  • Importance of Providing Reasons: Justice Kurian Joseph, in his separate opinion in the 2015 National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) judgment, emphasized the importance of judges providing reasons for recusal to enhance transparency.
  • Constitutional Duty for Transparency: Indicating reasons for recusal is a constitutional duty, reflecting the need for judges to be transparent and accountable.

Practices in Foreign Jurisdictions

  • United States: It has well-defined laws and codes that explicitly detail grounds for recusal, such as financial interests, prior involvement as a lawyer or witness, and relationships with parties.
  • United Kingdom: It has adopted the “real danger” test to disqualify judges based on substantive evidence of bias, although this approach has faced criticism.

Importance of Appearance of Bias

  • The European Convention of Human Rights emphasizes the significance of the “appearance of bias” to ensure fairness from the perspective of a reasonable observer.

Way Forward

  • To ensure fairness and maintain public trust in the justice system, it is crucial to establish clear guidelines and rules for recusal in India.
  • Codifying principles, requiring judges to record reasons for recusal, and promoting transparency can address concerns about bias and uphold the integrity of the judiciary.
  • Learning from foreign jurisdictions, such as studying the comprehensive recusal laws in the United States, can provide valuable insights for developing a robust framework for recusal in India.
  • Enhancing transparency and accountability in the recusal process will contribute to a stronger and more trusted judicial system.


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Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Is Project Cheetah failing?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Project Cheetah

Mains level : Translocation of wildlife, Issues and challenges


Following the death of three cheetah cubs this week, the Centre has appointed a new steering committee, comprising national and international experts, to oversee the implementation of Project Cheetah.

What is Project Cheetah?

  • After being reported extinct in India for seven decades, the cheetah is set to make a comeback through ‘Project Cheetah’.
  • The Government of India reintroduced eight African cheetahs, consisting of five females and three males, at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

Origin and Approval of Project Cheetah

  • Project Cheetah received approval from the Supreme Court of India in January 2020 as a pilot program to reintroduce the cheetah species to the country.
  • The initiative was first proposed in 2009 by Indian conservationists in collaboration with the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a non-profit organization headquartered in Namibia.
  • The CCF is dedicated to the preservation and rehabilitation of cheetahs in their natural habitats.

Chronology of events

  • Medieval times: During the Mughal Period, they were extensively used for hunting, and Emperor Akbar owned a menagerie of 1,000 cheetahs. Various states in Central India, particularly Gwalior, had cheetahs for a long time.
  • 1947: The country’s last three surviving cheetahs were shot by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh, the ruler of a small princely state in Chhattisgarh. India’s last spotted cheetah died in the Sal forests of Chhattisgarh’s Koriya district in 1948, leading to the animal’s official extinction in India in 1952.
  • 1970s: The first concrete efforts to reintroduce the cheetah began in the 1970s during talks with Iran’s Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. The plan involved swapping India’s Asiatic lions for Iran’s Asiatic cheetahs.
  • 2009: Another attempt was made to acquire Iranian cheetahs, but it was unsuccessful as Iran did not permit the cloning or export of its cheetahs.
  • 2012: The reintroduction project was halted in 2012 when the Supreme Court ordered a stay on it.
  • 2020: In 2020, South African experts surveyed four potential reintroduction sites: Kuno-Palpur, Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, and Madhav National Park.

Basis of recent translocation

  • Coexistence approach: India’s approach is unique as it aims to reintroduce the cheetah in an unfenced protected area using a coexistence approach.
  • Fenced protection: Fencing has been successful in other countries but limits population growth and range.
  • Perfect breeding area selection: Kuno NP’s core conservation area is largely free of human-made threats.

Various challenges

  • Retaliatory killing: Anthropogenic threats like snaring for bush meat and retaliatory killings pose risks to the cheetahs.
  • Fencing issues: Maintaining cheetahs and their prey base in an enclosure is considered impossible.
  • Habitation stress: Captivity and changes in habitat induce anxiety and stress, hindering reproduction.
  • Acclimatization issues: The climate, prey species, and overall conditions in Kuno forest may not stimulate mating and reproduction.
  • Prolonged captivity: Concerns are raised about the prolonged captivity of cheetahs before translocation, which may have increased stress and vulnerability.

Is the project a failure?

(1) Understanding adaptation challenges

  • The deaths among cheetahs must be considered in light of their natural lifespan and the difficulties they face in adapting to Indian conditions.
  • Daksha, a female cheetah, died from injuries sustained during a violent mating attempt by two males, which aligns with known predator behavior.

(2) Immediate assessment is an absurdity

  • The success of wildlife breeding programs is not an overnight phenomena. It is premature to judge at this juncture.
  • The increase in lion and tiger populations in Gir, Gujarat also took sustained efforts over decades.

(3) Complexities and Publicity of the Project

  • The cheetahs’ arrival in India followed extensive government planning, Supreme Court hearings, negotiations with multiple countries, logistical challenges, and the PM’s involvement.
  • The project received significant publicity. This necessarily doesn’t mean that the PM has a Midas touch.


  • The relocation program is considered an experiment, and every death and birth should not be seen as a definitive success or failure.
  • However, clear criteria and timelines must be established for project managers to determine if adjustments are necessary.


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Civil Services Reforms

Code of Conduct for Civil Servants: A Review


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NA

Mains level : Conduct of Civil Servants

Central Idea

  • The civil services in India have witnessed a resurgence in popularity, with a growing number of candidates applying each year.
  • In this article, we delve into the various rules that govern civil servants and the restrictions they face throughout their career.

Civil Services and Services Allocation

  • Successful applicants in the civil services examination can join various services based on their rank and personal preferences.
  • Three prominent services, known as All India Services, include the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and Indian Forest Service (IFS).
  • Other services, known as Central Civil Services, are under the central government and do not have a state cadre system.

Rules for Conduct of Civil Servants

  • Civil servants are governed by two sets of rules:
  1. All India Services Conduct Rules, 1968, and
  2. Central Civil Services Conduct Rules, 1964
  • These rules cover a wide range of issues, outlining the expected behaviour and conduct of civil servants.

Issues with these rules

(1) Vague and Specific Rules

  • The Conduct Rules include both vague and specific provisions.
  • Rule 3(1) emphasizes maintaining absolute integrity and devotion to duty without engaging in any behaviour unbecoming of a civil servant.
  • Rule 4(1) prohibits the use of one’s position or influence to secure employment for family members with private organizations or non-governmental organizations.

(2) Restrictions on Political Affiliation and Expression of Opinion

  • Rule 5(1) prohibits civil servants from being members of political parties or organizations involved in politics.
  • Rule 7 restricts civil servants from making adverse criticisms of government policies or actions in public media or documents.

(3) Prohibition on Dowry

  • Giving or taking dowry is strictly prohibited for civil servants under Rule 11(1-A).
  • Civil servants are required to report any gifts exceeding Rs. 25,000 received from near relatives or personal friends.

Amendments and Updates to the Rules

  • The Conduct Rules are not static and have been amended and updated over time.
  • The government determines the political nature of organizations, impacting civil servants’ association with them.
  • Additional sub-rules were added in 2014, focusing on maintaining high ethical standards, integrity, political neutrality, and accountability.

Coverage and Penalties

  • Civil servants are covered by these rules as soon as they join training, which is part of their probation period.
  • Violations of the rules can result in major penalties, including dismissal from the service.
  • The Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) complements the Conduct Rules in addressing corruption issues.

Challenges in Enforcement

  • While the rules outline penalties, enforcing them can be challenging.
  • Complaints with proper details are necessary for action to be taken.
  • Proper channels, such as the Central Vigilance Commission and investigation agencies, exist for filing complaints.

Way Forward

  • Ensuring the effective implementation of the Conduct Rules requires streamlining the complaint process and encouraging transparency.
  • Regular review and updates of the rules can help address emerging challenges and ensure their relevance.
  • Training programs and awareness campaigns can enhance civil servants’ understanding of their responsibilities and the consequences of non-compliance.
  • Collaborative efforts between government bodies, civil society, and the public can foster a culture of accountability and ethical conduct among civil servants.


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Human Rights Issues

GANHRI defers accreditation of India’s NHRC


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GANHRI, NHRC

Mains level : Alleged HR violations in India, Western propaganda behind

india nhrc ganhri

Central Idea

The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), a UN-recognized organization, has deferred the accreditation of India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC-India) for the second time in a decade.

GANHRI (Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions)

Purpose Promote and protect human rights globally
Year Established 1993
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
Members National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from various countries
Key Functions – Promoting and strengthening NHRIs worldwide

– Advocating for human rights at national, regional, and global levels

– Facilitating cooperation and sharing of best practices among NHRIs

– Providing capacity-building support to NHRIs etc.

Organizational Structure President: Elected from GANHRI members for a specified term

Bureau: Assists the President in overseeing GANHRI’s work

Sub-Committees: Focused on specific thematic or regional issues

Key Documents – Paris Principles: Provide guidance for the establishment and operation of NHRIs

– GANHRI Strategy: Outlines the organization’s strategic objectives and actions


Reasons for India’s Deferment

The GANHRI’s letter to the NHRC cited several reasons for the deferment of accreditation, including:

  • Political Interference: The NHRC-India faced objections related to political interference in appointments, compromising its independence.
  • Police Involvement: Involving the police in probes into human rights violations raised concerns about impartiality and fair investigations.
  • Lack of Cooperation: The NHRC’s poor cooperation with civil society was criticized, hindering its effectiveness in protecting human rights.
  • Lack of Diversity: The GANHRI highlighted the lack of diversity in staff and leadership positions within the NHRC.
  • Insufficient Protection of Marginalized Groups: The NHRC was found to have taken insufficient action to protect marginalized groups, contrary to the U.N.’s principles on national institutions (the ‘Paris Principles).

Concerns highlighted against India

  • Many NGOs such as Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders etc. wrote a joint letter to GANHRI expressing their objections to NHRC India’s ‘A’ rank.
  • They highlighted the commission’s failure to protect marginalized communities, religious minorities, and human rights defenders.
  • The letter emphasized that the NHRC’s functioning has regressed since 2017, undermining its independence and adherence to the Paris Principles.

Paris Principles and Accreditation Criteria

The United Nations’ Paris Principles, adopted in 1993, serve as international benchmarks for accrediting National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). The Paris Principles outline six main criteria that NHRIs must meet:

  • Mandate and Competence: NHRIs should have a clear mandate and the necessary expertise to protect human rights effectively.
  • Autonomy from Government: NHRIs must operate independently from government influence or control.
  • Independence: NHRIs should have their independence guaranteed by a statute or constitution.
  • Pluralism: NHRIs should ensure diversity and inclusivity in their staffing and leadership positions.
  • Adequate Resources: NHRIs should have sufficient resources to carry out their mandated functions effectively.
  • Powers of Investigation: NHRIs should possess adequate investigative powers to address human rights violations.

Background of NHRC-India

  • The NHRC-India was established under the Protection of Human Rights Act enacted by Parliament in 1993.
  • It has held ‘A’ status accreditation since the beginning of the NHRI accreditation process in 1999, which it retained in 2006, 2011, and 2017, despite a previous deferment.
  • This status allows participation in the work and decision-making of GANHRI, the Human Rights Council, and other U.N. mechanisms

Response from India

  • The NHRC clarified that the deferment by the Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) does not affect its current ‘A’ status accreditation and associated privileges.
  • The reaccreditation process is still ongoing, and the SCA has recommended advocating with the government and Parliamentarians for legislative amendments to improve compliance with the Paris Principles.
  • The NHRC assured that they have addressed most of the issues raised by the SCA and will submit a response shortly as part of the ongoing process.

Way Forward

To address the concerns raised by GANHRI and human rights organizations, the NHRC-India should take the following steps:

  • Strengthen Independence: Ensure that the NHRC operates independently without political interference, safeguarding its credibility and effectiveness.
  • Promote Diversity: Take measures to enhance diversity in staffing and leadership positions within the NHRC to ensure a broader representation of society.
  • Improve Protection of Marginalized Groups: Develop comprehensive strategies and policies to provide effective protection and support to marginalized communities, religious minorities, and human rights defenders.
  • Address Legislative Amendments: Actively engage with the government and Parliamentarians to advocate for necessary legislative amendments that align with the Paris Principles and enhance compliance with international human rights standards.


  • By implementing these measures, the NHRC-India can strengthen its functioning, regain the confidence of GANHRI and human rights organizations, and ensure the effective protection of human rights in India.


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Judicial Reforms

CJI criticizes Forum Shopping Practice


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Forum Shopping

Mains level : Ethics in judicial conduct

Central Idea

  • The CJI, DY Chandrachud expressed his disapproval of forum shopping, a practice in which litigants or lawyers deliberately choose a specific judge or court that they believe will provide a more favorable judgment.

Understanding Forum Shopping

  • Forum shopping refers to the intentional selection of a court or judge by litigants or lawyers with the expectation of obtaining a favourable outcome.
  • It involves strategically moving a case to a particular jurisdiction based on a perception of better judgment.
  • Lawyers consider the appropriate forum as part of their litigation strategy, sometimes opting for higher courts like the Supreme Court to gain wider attention for their case.
  • However, deliberately avoiding a specific judge or manipulating the process to obtain favourable treatment is generally discouraged.

Concerns and Criticisms

The practice of forum shopping raises several concerns, including:

  • Injustice to the Other Party: Forum shopping can result in unfair treatment and injustice to the opposing party, as it undermines the principle of impartiality and equal access to justice.
  • Overburdening Certain Courts: Concentrating cases before specific judges or courts can overload their workload, causing delays and hindering the judicial process.
  • Interference with Judicial Process: Forum shopping interferes with the smooth functioning of the judicial system, as cases may be filed and refiled in multiple jurisdictions, leading to unnecessary duplication of efforts.

Approaches in Common Law Countries

  • Countries following the common law tradition, including the US and UK, have criticized forum shopping and adopted measures to discourage or prohibit the practice.
  • One such measure is the principle of “forum non-conveniens,” which grants courts discretionary powers to refuse jurisdiction when another court or forum would be more appropriate to hear the case.
  • This allows the court to dismiss a case in the interest of justice and fairness, redirecting it to the appropriate venue.
  • The Supreme Court, in its ruling in ‘Chetak Construction Ltd. vs. Om Prakash (1988),’ emphasized that a litigant should not be allowed to choose the forum and called for stern action against any attempt at forum shopping.

Supreme Court’s View on Forum Shopping

  • In a 2022 ruling, the Supreme Court reiterated its condemnation of forum shopping, citing its previous 2017 ruling in ‘Union of India & Ors. vs. Cipla Ltd.’
  • The court established a “functional test” to determine whether forum shopping is occurring.
  • The test considers the functional similarity between different courts or whether a litigant is employing subterfuge to manipulate the system.

Way Forward

To address the issue of forum shopping, it is essential to:

  • Create Awareness: Raise awareness among litigants, lawyers, and the general public about the negative consequences of forum shopping and the importance of upholding judicial integrity and fairness.
  • Strengthen Ethical Standards: Emphasize the ethical obligations of lawyers to uphold the integrity of the legal profession and discourage forum shopping practices.
  • Streamline Jurisdictional Rules: Develop clear guidelines and rules regarding jurisdictional issues to prevent unnecessary disputes and ensure cases are heard by the appropriate courts.
  • Judicial Training and Monitoring: Provide training and guidance to judges on identifying and addressing instances of forum shopping, while also monitoring court proceedings to detect any potential manipulation.


  • By implementing these measures, the legal system can discourage forum shopping, uphold the principles of justice and fairness, and maintain the integrity of the judicial process.


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Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Delhi Governance New Ordinance


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ordinances

Mains level : Issues with Ordinance


Central Idea

  • The central government issued an Ordinance on May 19, overturning a unanimous Supreme Court verdict.
  • The Ordinance grants the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi authority over services, challenging the elected government’s control over officials’ transfer and posting.
  • This raises constitutional concerns about the balance of power between the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor.

Issues with this ordinance

  • The Ordinance bestowed power over services to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
  • It established the “National Capital Civil Service Authority,” consisting of the Chief Minister and two senior IAS officials, to decide matters by majority vote.
  • This provision potentially allows the elected Chief Minister’s viewpoint to be overruled.

Key issues with the current model of Governance of Delhi

  • Undermining the elected government: The LG, who will be the government, is under no obligation to implement any law passed by the assembly or carry out the directions of the house as he is not responsible to the assembly.
  • Lack of Executive Accountability: The Lieutenant Governor, who is the head of government, is not accountable to the assembly, which undermines the principle of executive accountability.
  • Against the privilege of legislature: Framing the rules to conduct its proceedings is thus a part of the privilege each house of a legislature enjoys.
  • Delay in decision-making: The requirement for LG’s approval for many decisions has led to delays in decision-making, which has impacted the development and governance of the city.
  • Accountability issues: The division of responsibilities between the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor has led to difficulties in fixing responsibility for actions and decisions.
  • Against Co-operative Federalism: The Act not only negates cooperative federalism but also upturns the fundamental principles laid down by the Supreme Court in Government of NCT Delhi vs Union of India case (2018).
  • Control over Services Department: Governance has always been a contentious issue since Delhi is not a full state and the Services department comes under the L-G.

What is Ordinance?

  • Under Article 123 of the Constitution, the President possesses law-making powers through the issuance of ordinances during the recess of Parliament.
  • Article 213 grants the Governor of a state the authority to issue ordinances when the state legislative assembly or either of the two Houses (in states with bicameral legislatures) is not in session.
  • However, there are limitations to this authority:
  1. Issuance during Recess: The President can only promulgate an ordinance when one or both Houses of Parliament are not in session.
  2. Immediate Action: An ordinance can only be issued when the President deems it necessary for immediate action.
  3. Justiciability: The President’s intentions to issue ordinances can be subject to judicial review if mala fide intentions are proven.

Features of Ordinances

Several characteristics and provisions are associated with ordinances:

  • Retrospective Effect: An ordinance can have a retrospective application, meaning it can be enacted prior to its approval.
  • Nullity during Parliamentary Session: An ordinance issued while Parliament is in session is considered null and void.
  • Time Limit for Approval: An ordinance must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of its reassembly. Failure to do so leads to its expiration.
  • Continuation of Acts and Laws: Acts, laws, and events resulting from the ordinance remain in effect until its expiration.
  • Limits on Legislative Authority: Ordinances can only be passed on subjects within the legislative competence of the Indian Parliament.
  • Protection of Fundamental Rights: Ordinances cannot be used to revoke the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Their enforcement would render them null and void if both Houses pass a resolution opposing them.

Issues with the Ordinances

The use of ordinances has raised concerns regarding their potential misuse and circumvention of democratic processes. Some key concerns are:

  • Bypassing the Legislature: Deliberate bypassing of the legislature to avoid debate and deliberation on contentious legislative proposals undermines democratic principles.
  • Repromulgation of Ordinances: Repromulgation without placing the ordinance before the legislature subverts democratic legislative processes and the separation of powers.
  • Presidential Satisfaction: The satisfaction of the President as a requirement for issuing an ordinance provides scope for potential misuse.
  • Ignoring Supreme Court’s Judgments: Instances of ordinances being promulgated despite Supreme Court judgments highlighting their conditional and exceptional nature raise concerns about adherence to constitutional principles.

Judicial Safeguards to avoid re-promulgation of ordinances

  1. Supreme Court in RC Cooper vs. Union of India (1970) held that the President’s decision to promulgate ordinance could be challenged on the grounds that ‘immediate action’ was not required, and the ordinance had been issued primarily to bypass debate and discussion in the legislature.
  2. It was argued in DC Wadhwa vs. the State of Bihar (1987) that the legislative power of the executive to promulgate ordinances is to be used in exceptional circumstances and not as a substitute for the law-making power of the legislature.
  3. Supreme Court in Krishna Kumar Singh v. the State of Bihar held that the authority to issue ordinances is not an absolute entrustment, but is “conditional upon satisfaction that circumstances exist rendering it necessary to take immediate action”.

Way ahead

  • Every ordinance issued must be laid before both the Houses of Parliament or state legislature within six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament or state legislature and it ceases to exist if it is not approved within six weeks of reassembly.
  • 44th Constitutional Amendment has reiterated that the satisfaction of the President to promulgate ordinance could be challenged in case an ‘immediate action’ was not required.
  • Our Constitution has provided for the separation of powers among the legislature, executive and judiciary where enacting laws is the function of the legislature.
  • The executive must show self-restraint and should use ordinance making power only in unforeseen or urgent matters and not to evade legislative scrutiny and debates.


  • The recent Ordinance and its constitutional implications highlight the need for a balanced distribution of powers between the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor in Delhi.
  • It is essential to uphold democratic principles and ensure that legislative functions are carried out by the appropriate constitutional authorities.
  • A comprehensive review of the governance framework in Delhi may be necessary to address these concerns and ensure effective and harmonious governance in the capital city.


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Citizenship and Related Issues

Digital Census and Self-enumeration through NPR Update


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Population Register (NPR)

Mains level : Read the attached story

Central Idea

  • The article discusses implementation of a digital Census and the option for citizens to self-enumerate through updating their National Population Register (NPR) details online.

What is the news?

  • Census 2021, the first digital Census, will allow citizens to “self-enumerate” when it is conducted.
  • The government has not announced the date for the Census yet, and a notification from January 2, 2023, indicates that the exercise is postponed until at least September.

What is National Population Register (NPR)?

  • The NPR is a register that records the usual residents of the country.
  • It is prepared at various levels, including local, sub-district, district, state, and national.
  • The creation of the NPR is governed by the provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
  • A usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more, or a person intending to reside for next 6 months or more.

Differences between NPR and Census

  • The census involves a detailed questionnaire, collecting information such as age, sex, marital status, occupation, religion, and more.
  • The NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.
  • The census is governed by the Census Act, 1948, while the NPR operates under a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Stipulated process for self-enumeration

  • Self-enumeration for the Census will be available only to households that have updated their NPR details online.
  • The Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI), responsible for the Census, has developed a web-based “self-enumeration (SE)” portal, presently available in English.
  • The mobile-friendly portal, yet to be launched, will allow users to register their mobile numbers in the NPR database, self-enumerate, and fill in Houselisting Operations details.
  • During self-enumeration, the collection of Aadhaar or mobile numbers is mandatory.

How are NPR and NRC related?

  • According to the Citizenship Rules 2003, the NPR is the initial step in compiling the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC/NRC).
  • The NPR was updated in 2015, but new questions were added as part of a trial exercise involving 30 lakh respondents in September 2019.
  • The exercise is seen as a step towards the compilation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC) as per the Citizenship Rules, 2003.

What about data confidentiality?

  • While similar data is collected through the Census, individual data remains confidential under Section 15 of the Census Act, 1948.
  • Only aggregated data is released at administrative levels.
  • Data collected under the NPR are shared with states and used by the Central government for various welfare schemes at the individual level.

Way forward

To ensure the success of the digital Census and self-enumeration process, the government should consider the following:

  • Conduct thorough awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the self-enumeration process and its benefits.
  • Provide multi-language support on the self-enumeration portal to accommodate diverse language preferences.
  • Address concerns regarding data privacy and security to build trust among citizens.
  • Establish a robust support system to assist citizens in case of technical issues or questions during self-enumeration.
  • Regularly update and improve the self-enumeration portal based on user feedback to enhance user experience and ease of use.


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Interstate River Water Dispute

In news: Krishna Water Dispute


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Krishna Water Dispute

Mains level : Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • The dispute over the water share of the Krishna River between Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana has remained unresolved for nine years since the bifurcation of the combined state.

About Krishna River

Origin Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra
Length Approximately 1,400 km
States swept Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
Tributaries Tungabhadra, Bhima, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Musi
Significance Irrigation, hydropower, drinking water
Basin Approximately 2,59,000 sq km
Dams Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar, Almatti, Koyna
Delta Forms fertile delta in Bay of Bengal


What is Krishna Water Dispute?

  • The dispute dates back to the formation of AP in November 1956.
  • Before the formation of AP, a Gentlemen’s Agreement was signed in February 1956 by four senior leaders from different regions of Andhra.
  • The agreement aimed to protect Telangana’s interests and ensure equitable distribution of water resources based on global treaties.
  • However, the focus on irrigation facilities favored Andhra, which had existing systems developed by the British at the expense of drought-prone areas in Telangana.

Resolution achieved till now

(1) Bachawat tribunal

  • In 1969, the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I) was established to settle the water share dispute among Maharashtra, Karnataka, and AP (before bifurcation).
  • The Tribunal allocated 811 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of dependable water to AP.
  • The water was later divided in a 512:299 tmcft ratio between Andhra and Telangana, respectively, based on the command area developed by each region.
  • The Tribunal recommended diverting water from the Tungabhadra Dam to the drought-prone Mahabubnagar area of Telangana, but this recommendation was not implemented, leading to discontent.

(2) Water-sharing arrangement after bifurcation

  • The AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, did not mention water shares, as the KWDT-I Award was still in force and had not specified region-wise allocations.
  • In 2015, the two states agreed to an ad hoc arrangement of sharing water in a 34:66 ratio (Telangana: Andhra) during a meeting convened by the Ministry of Water Resources.
  • The arrangement was supposed to be reviewed annually.
  • The Act focused on the establishment of the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) for water resource management.

Claims by each state

  • Telangana argues that it is entitled to a minimum of 70% share in the allocation of the 811 tmcft based on global practices and basin parameters.
  • Telangana highlights how AP diverts around 300 tmcft of water from within the basin, affecting drought-prone areas in Telangana.
  • AP also claims a higher share of water to protect the interests of already developed command areas.

Centre’s position

  • The Centre convened two meetings of the Apex Council in 2016 and 2020, involving the Union Minister and Chief Ministers of Telangana and AP, but no substantial progress was made.
  • In 2020, following a suggestion by the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), Telangana withdrew its petition from the Supreme Court with the assurance that the matter would be referred to a Tribunal.
  • However, the Centre has not taken any action on the issue for over two years, while the two states continue to engage in ongoing disputes.

Way Forward

Considering the prolonged dispute and the failure to reach a resolution, it is crucial for all stakeholders to take proactive steps. The following measures could be considered:

  • Mediation: Appoint an independent body or mediator to facilitate negotiations between the two states and assist in finding a fair and mutually agreeable solution.
  • Scientific assessment: Conduct a comprehensive scientific assessment of the basin parameters, water requirements, and the impact of existing water utilization practices to inform the allocation of water shares.
  • Public awareness: Raise public awareness about the importance of water conservation, efficient utilization, and sustainable practices to reduce the overall demand for water resources.
  • Implementation of recommendations: Act upon the recommendations of previous tribunals and committees to ensure equitable distribution of water resources and address the grievances of both states.
  • More deliberations: Foster a spirit of cooperation and collaboration between AP and Telangana to jointly manage and sustainably utilize the Krishna River water resources for the benefit of both regions.

It is crucial for the central government to play an active role in facilitating dialogue, providing necessary support, and expediting the resolution process to ensure a fair and just outcome for all parties involved.


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Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

AFSPA likely to end from Assam


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AFSPA

Mains level : Law and order in NE


Central Idea: Assam CM has stated that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is likely to be completely lifted from the state by the end of the year due to a significant improvement in the law and order situation.

What is Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958?

  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act, to put it simply, gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas.”
  • AFSPA gives armed forces the authority use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • The Act further provides that if “reasonable suspicion exists”, the armed forces can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.

A Backgrounder

  • The AFSPA, 1958 came into force in the context of insurgency in the North-eastern States decades ago.
  • It provides “special power” to the Armed Forces applies to the Army, the Air Force and the Central Paramilitary forces etc.
  • It has been long contested debate whether the “special powers” granted under AFSPA gives total immunity to the armed forces for any action taken by them.

What are the Special Powers?

  • Power to use force: including opening fire, even to the extent of causing death if prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons or carrying arms and weapons, etc are in force in the disturbed area;
  • Power to destroy structures: used as hide-outs, training camps, or as a place from which attacks are or likely to be launched, etc;
  • Power to arrest: without warrant and to use force for the purpose;
  • Power to enter and search premises: without a warrant to make arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunition and stolen property etc.

Who can declare/notify such areas?

  • The Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.

Issues with AFSPA

  • Power to kill: Section 4 of the Act granted officers the authority to “take any action” even to the extent to cause the death.
  • Misconduct by Armed Forces: The issue of violation of human rights by actions of armed forces came under the consideration of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law (popularly known as Justice Verma Committee) set up in 2012. It observed that- in conflict zones, legal protection for women was neglected.
  • Autocracy: The reality is that there is no evidence of any action being taken against any officer of the armed forces or paramilitary forces for their excesses.

Recommendations to repeal AFSPA

  • Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy Commission: The 2004 Committee headed by Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, the content of which has never officially been revealed by the Government, recommended that AFSPA be repealed.
  • ARC II: The Administrative Reforms Commission in its 5th Report on ‘Public Order’ had also recommended that AFSPA be repealed.

Voices for repeal

  • Human rights violations: The repeal of AFSPA is necessary not just for restoring constitutional sanity, but also as a way of acknowledging the dark history of our conduct in Nagaland.
  • Need for ensuring individual dignity: The political incorporation of Nagaland (and all other areas where this law applies) will be set back if the guarantees of the individual dignity of the Indian Constitution are not extended.
  • Not state of exception: We often describe AFSPA in terms of a “state of exception”. But this theoretical term is misleading. How can a law that has been in virtually continuous existence since 1958 be described as an “exception”.
  • Lack of human empathy: At the heart of AFSPA is a profound mutilation of human empathy.


  • To bring in lasting peace in the North East, the government needs to avoid the trap of watered-down peace accords.
  • While the move to withdraw AFSPA is welcome, it needs to be gradually erased.
  • For that, changes in the ground situation would be crucial. Mere smoke signals or drum-beating can never do the job.


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