Oct. 31, 2022

Mains Article
31 Oct 2022

The extra-constitutional delusions of Raj Bhavan


  • The article critically analyses the powers and limitations of Governor in respect of recent actions by Governor’s office that have evoked nationwide attention for all the wrong reasons.


  • Recent controversy: A tweet put out recently by the office of the Kerala Governor stated that the statements of individual Ministers that lower the dignity of the office of the Governor can invite action including “withdrawal of pleasure”.
  • Constitutional backing: Though Raj Bhavan did not explicitly say that such Ministers would be expelled but, going by the text of Article 164(1) of the Constitution, this gave a clear indication of the consequences.
    • As per Article 164(1) the ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
  • Demonstration: This was made even more apparent when the Governor sent a letter to the Kerala Chief Minister asking him to act against the State Finance Minister, who, according to the Governor, had “ceased to enjoy” the Governor’s “pleasure”. The Chief Minister however, declined to do so.
  • Other actions: The Governor’s other move, for ousting Vice-Chancellors of universities in the State, alleging deficits in their appointment process, is claimed to be in exercise of his statutory power as Chancellor.
    • But he has no such special power and can only act within the bounds of Constitution.

Constitutional facets of Governor’s office

  • Republican will: The function of the appointed Governor is always subject to the policies of the elected government, and not vice-versa. This is a foundational theory of India’s constitutional democracy.
  • Linkage of provisions: The Constitutional provisions cannot be read in isolation.
    • For example, Article 164, which contains the provision regarding appointment of the Chief Minister and administering the oaths of the Ministers is inseparable from Article 163.
    • As per Article 163(1), the Council of Ministers must aid and advise the Governor and Article 163(2) allows Governor to act in his discretion in certain specified matters as permitted by the Constitution.
    • Therefore, it follows that unless the Cabinet or the Chief Minister advises the expulsion of a Minister, the Governor cannot cause the exit of a particular Minister by “withdrawing pleasure”.
  • Limited discretion: Also, Article 163(2) allows Governor to act in his discretion in certain specified matters as permitted by the Constitution.
    • This would mean that the Governor is generally bound by the Cabinet decision except when he has a legitimate right to invoke his discretion.
    • This is elucidated in deciding on sanction to prosecute a Cabinet Minister or in Governor’s decisions as Administrator of a Union Territory, as per the orders of the President of India etc.
  • Supreme Court viewpoint: In Shamsher Singh vs State of Punjab (1974), the Supreme Court quoted the opinion of the first Attorney General of India, M.C. Setalvad, that the principle that the President (or the Governor) is guided by the aid and advice of the Cabinet covered every function whether it relates to addressing the House or returning a Bill for reconsideration, or assenting or withholding assent.
    • In this case, for the purpose of comparison, the Supreme Court extracted Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s introductory statement made in the Constituent Assembly, which stated the following:
    • The President of the United States is not bound to accept any advice tendered to him by any of his secretaries and can dismiss any Secretary at any time.
    • The President of the Indian Union, on other hand, will be generally bound by the advice of his Ministers and can do nothing contrary to their advice nor can he do anything without their advice. Also he has no power to dismiss the Ministers, as long as they command a majority in Parliament.
  • Parallel comparison: The same principles apply to the Governors as well, since the Union Minister also holds the office “during the pleasure of the President” as in Article 75(2) of the Constitution.
    • Hence, “withdrawal of pleasure”, without advice from the Council of Ministers, as indicated by Kerala Raj Bhavan recently is a misconception.
    • But this romanticism of the Constitution was to be translated to a level of judicial realism and pragmatism, which the Supreme Court did in Shamsher Singh.

Evolution of Governor as titular head

  • Outlining contrasts: Differentiating the constitutional meaning of Article 164(1), from its literal meaning, requires a historical reading of the provision as explained below:
  • Raw framework: The draft Constitution, prepared by the Constitutional Adviser in 1947, contained Article 126, according to which, “Governor’s Ministers shall be chosen and summoned by (the Governor) and shall hold office during his pleasure”.
  • Unfolding progression: This Article, which was made part of the draft of the erstwhile Article 144, was discussed at length in the Constituent Assembly.
    • The general discretion with the Governor was taken away, and the Cabinet was given the authority to rule.
    • Amendment to the draft Article 144 moved by B.R. Ambedkar resulted in the present constitutional scheme of Articles 163 and 164.
  • Legal references: Referring to Ambedkar’s speech , scholar Subhash C. Kashyap in Constitutional Law of India explained that the words ‘during pleasure’ were, always understood to mean that the ‘pleasure’ should not continue when the Ministry had lost the confidence of the majority.
    • The moment the Ministry lost the confidence of the majority, the Governor would use his ‘pleasure’ in dismissing it.
    • Therefore, the Article implies that the Governor is only a titular head of the State and that if the Cabinet has majority, the Governor cannot act against the Cabinet.

Addressing a concern

  • Imperialist mindset: The Governor’s office has a colonial origin. The Government of India Act, 1858 situated the post of Governor under the supervision of the Governor General.
    • The subsequently promulgated Government of India Act, 1935 was enforced with effect from April 1, 1937. Even as per this act, Governors were to act based on the advice of the provincial Government.
  • Constituent Assembly Debates : The potential danger that could be posed by continuation of this colonial institution was a matter of concern for the Constitution makers.
    • During the deliberations, H.V. Kamath asked if there was any guarantee against abuse of power by the Governor.
    • The immediate reaction by P.S. Deshmukh, another prominent member of the assembly was that the guarantee is the Governor’s wisdom and the wisdom of the authority that will appoint the Governor.


  • The governors should act in a nonpartisan way while fulfilling their constitutional duties and the parliament should consider the recommendations of various commissions to reform the office of the governor further for a better and healthy democracy.


Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
31 Oct 2022

Are there anti-superstition laws in India?

In News:

  • Recently, two women in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district were found killed as a part of a human sacrifice ritual.
  • Subsequently, the state government has stressed the need for a new legislation to curb such superstitious practices and urged strict implementation of the existing laws in this regard.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Legal framework w.r.t. human sacrifice (Relevant IPC Sections)
  • State-specific laws
  • Need for a nation-wide legislation


  • The brutal murders of two women as part of “ritualistic human sacrifices” in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala have left the country in shock.
  • Chilling details of the killings have sparked a debate about the prevalence of superstitious beliefs, black magic and sorcery in Kerala.
  • In the absence of a comprehensive law to counter such acts, the call for a strict anti-superstition law has grown louder.
  • As per the 2021 report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), six deaths were linked to human sacrifices, while witchcraft was the motive for 68 killings.

Legislative Framework w.r.t. human sacrifice in India:

  • While presently there exists no nationwide legislation to deal with superstitious practices, black magic, or human sacrifice in particular, certain sections of the Indian Penal Code enlist penalties applicable for such incidents.
  • Section 302 (punishment for murder) of IPC takes cognisance of human sacrifice, but only after the murder is committed.
  • Likewise, Section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) works to discourage such practices.
  • Furthermore, Article 51A (h) of the Indian Constitution makes it a fundamental duty for Indian citizens to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • Other provisions under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954 also aim to tackle the debilitating impact of various superstitious activities prevalent in India.

What do the state-specific laws say?

  • Eight states in India have witch-hunting legislations so far. These include Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Assam, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Bihar –
    • The state of Bihar emerged the pioneer in enacting a law to deal with superstitious practices in 1999.
    • The Prevention of Witch Practices Act, 1999 was amongst the first in India to address witchcraft and inhumane rituals.
  • Maharashtra –
    • The state of Maharashtra followed in 2013 to enact the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, which banned the practice of human sacrifice in the state.
    • A section in the legislation specifically deals with claims made by ‘godmen’ who say they have supernatural powers.
    • Additionally, the law also makes it possible to curtail activities of so-called godmen before they become too powerful to effectively address the menace of exploitation in the name of religion.
  • Karnataka –
    • Likewise, the state of Karnataka too effected a controversial anti-superstition law in 2017 known as the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Act.
    • The Act comprehensively counters “inhumane” practices linked to religious rituals.
  • Kerala does not have a comprehensive Act to deal with black magic and other superstitions.

Need for a country-wide Anti-superstition and Black Magic Act:

  • Only eight states in India have witch-hunting legislations so far. These include Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Rajasthan, Assam, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Allowing the unhindered continuance of such practices violates an individual’s fundamental right to equality and right to life under Article 14 and Article 21 of the Constitution respectively.
  • Such acts also violate several provisions of various International legislations to which India is a signatory, such as the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948’, ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966’, and ‘Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979’.
  • In the absence of measures to tackle superstitions, unscientific and irrational practices and misinformation regarding medical procedures can also balloon up, which can have severe detrimental effects on public order and health of citizens.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
31 Oct 2022

NCERT proposal for ‘PARAKH’: Global bodies express interest in setting up school exam regulator

In News:

  • Three global educational non-profits recently approached the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to set up the proposed regulator PARAKH.
  • PARAKH - Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development - is also part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 proposals.

 What’s in today’s news:

  • About PARAKH
  • News Summary 

PARAKH - Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development:


  • Earlier, the NCERT convened a series of meetings with various stakeholders towards the implementation of NEP 2020. This discussion also included the establishment of a new assessment regulator.
  • During the discussions, most states endorsed the NEP proposal of developing a benchmark framework to ensure consistency between state and central boards
  • As a result, the Union Ministry of Education recently invited bids to establish a regulator - PARAKH.


  • The benchmark assessment framework - PARAKH, has been proposed by the NEP 2020.
  • It will function as a standard-setting body for student assessment and evaluation for all school boards in the country and will put an end to the emphasis on rote learning.
  • While the NCERT is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Education, PARAKH will act as a constituent unit of the NCERT.
  • PARAKH will be tasked with -
    • Setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognised school boards of India.
    • Holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.
      • If the plans are on track, the NAS in 2024 will be conducted by PARAKH.
    • PARAKH will manage India's participation in international assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) in addition to NAS.
  • PARAKH will eventually become the national single-window source for all assessment-related information and expertise, with a mandate to assist all forms of learning assessment, both nationally and globally.


  • Uniformity: PARAKH would be expected to address the issue of differences in scores among students associated with different boards, who are at a disadvantage during college admissions when compared to their CBSE peers.
  • Standardisation: It will establish and implement technical standards for test design, administration, analysis and reporting at all levels of schooling.
  • Skill development: It will encourage and help school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.

News Summary:

  • Educational Testing Services (ETS), American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) have expressed interest in assisting with the establishment of India's first national school-level testing and assessment regulator, PARAKH.
  • While ETS is well-known for conducting the TOEFL and GRE, which are gateways to admission in the top universities of the world, AIR and ACER are well-known for conducting research on behavioural and social science domains.
  • Once chosen, the agency will, among other things,
    • Assist the PARAKH team in incorporating international evidence to develop evaluation processes in India to meet Covid-19 and other pandemic circumstances.
    • Provide technical guidelines and advice to boards for designing, developing and implementing state-wide methods for measuring student learning that are consistent with state and national curricular standards.
    • Support examination boards with novel assessment patterns (both internal and external), evaluation processes and practices, result calculation and compilation, post-result practices and the recent research.
Social Issues

Mains Article
31 Oct 2022

India, Gulf Cooperation Council group likely to start free trade pact negotiations next month

In News:

  • India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries are expected to start negotiations for a free trade agreement next month.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  • News Summary

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

  • The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic alliance of six countries in the Arabian Peninsula.
  • These six countries are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
  • Established in 1981, the GCC promotes economic, security, cultural and social cooperation between the six states.
  • It holds a summit every year to discuss cooperation and regional affairs.

Significance of GCC for India

  • Energy Security
    • Together, the GCC countries possess almost half of the world’s oil reserves.
    • Currently, GCC suppliers account for around 34% of India’s crude imports.
  • Trade and investments
    • Currently, the region is expanding beyond the energy sector into other fields, such as tourism, construction and finance.
    • This opens up the opportunities for trade and investments for countries like India.
  • Presence of Indian Diaspora
    • Indian diaspora in the Middle East accounts for around 7.6 million people.
    • As per the RBI report, remittances sent from this region stands to be around 30% of the total remittances received by India from abroad.
  • Geostrategic
    • GCC countries sit across the Persian Gulf, which is an important sea lane for global trade.
    • From the strategic point of view, India and GCC share the desire for political stability and security in the region.

News Summary

  • India is likely to start next month, negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council for a free trade agreement.
  • This FTA will be aimed at boosting economic ties between the regions. It will also be a shot in the arm for India’s ambition to significantly shore up its share in global exports.


  • Huge untapped potential
    • Experts believe, the GCC region holds huge trade potential and a trade pact will help in further boosting India's exports to that market.
    • GCC is a major import dependent region. India can increase its exports of food items, clothing and several other goods.
    • Sectors like chemicals, textiles, gems and jewellery and leather will get a major impetus by this agreement.
  • Boost to already existing trade ties
    • India's exports to the GCC stands at USD 44 billion in 2021-22 and imports for the same period stands at USD 110.73 billion.
      • The share of GCC members in India's total imports rose to 18 per cent in 2021-22 from 15.5 per cent in 2020-21.
    • Bilateral trade has increased to USD 154.73 billion in 2021-22 from USD 87.4 billion in 2020-21.
    • India imports predominately crude oil and natural gas from the Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
    • It exports pearls, precious and semi-precious stones; metals; imitation jewellery; electrical machinery; iron and steel; and chemicals to these countries.
  • Major source of remittances
    • Gulf nations are host to a sizeable Indian population. Out of about 32 million non-resident Indians (NRIs), nearly half are estimated to be working in Gulf countries.
    • According to a November 2021 report of the World Bank, India got USD 87 billion in foreign remittances in 2021.
      • Of this, a sizeable portion came from the GCC nations.
  • Good relationship with most of the countries in the region
    • Saudi Arabia was India's fourth-largest trading partner last fiscal.
    • From Qatar, India imports 8.5 million tonnes a year of LNG and exports products ranging from cereals to meat, fish, chemicals, and plastics.
    • Kuwait was the 27th largest trading partner of India in the last fiscal, while the UAE was the third-largest trading partner in 2021-22.
  • Boost to India’s own ambition of increasing its global trade
    • India targets to ramp up exports of goods and services to $2 trillion by 2030.
    • It also eyes to raise the share of its exports in global trade to 3% by 2027 and 10% by 2047 from the current 2.1%.
    • At the same time, India is working towards promoting hundred Indian brands as global champions.
International Relations

Mains Article
31 Oct 2022

Tata-Airbus unit: Make in India, Make for Globe, says PM Modi

In News:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of a C295 aircraft manufacturing plant in Vadodara, Gujarat.
  • The Tata-Airbus consortium will manufacture the transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • It is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company.
  • It is also the first time that the C295 aircraft will be manufactured outside of Europe.

What’s in today’s article:

  • C295 aircraft – Background, about, role, significance
  • News Summary

C295 aircraft


  • The C295 was originally produced by a Spanish aircraft manufacturer named Construcciones Aeronauticas SA.
    • This company is now part of Airbus and the aircraft’s manufacturing takes place at Airbus’s plant in Spain.
  • In September 2021, India signed a Rs 21,935 crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space to procure 56 C295 aircraft to replace the IAF’s ageing Avro-748 planes.
  • Under the agreement:
    • Airbus will deliver the first 16 aircraft in ‘fly-away’ condition from its final assembly line in Seville, Spain,
      • The 16 fly-away aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to the IAF between September 2023 and August 2025.
    • The subsequent 40 aircraft will be manufactured by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) in India as part of an industrial partnership between the two companies.
      • The first Made-in-India aircraft will be rolled out of the manufacturing facility in September 2026.


  • The C295MW is a transport aircraft with 5 to 10-tonne capacity and a maximum speed of 480 kmph.
  • It has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para-dropping of troops and cargo.
  • The company claims this aircraft has the longest unobstructed cabin in its class which can accommodate 71 seats.
  • It also claims that C295 can carry more cargo than its competitors with direct off-loading through the rear ramp.


  • As a tactical transport aircraft, the C295 can carry troops and logistical supplies from main airfields to forward operating airfields of the country.
  • It can also operate on short unprepared airstrips as it is capable of Short Take-off and Landing (STOL).
  • The aircraft can additionally be used for casualty or medical evacuation, performing special missions, disaster response and maritime patrol duties.


  • A competent platform
    • Widely used in 12 countries, C 295 is a competent and proven platform.
      • It operates in the Brazilian jungles and Columbian mountains in South America, the deserts of Algeria and Jordan in the middle east and the cold climates of Poland and Finland in Europe.
    • It is already certified and operational in numerous roles like Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C), Electronic Intelligence (ELINT), maritime patrol, aerial refuel, search and rescue (SAR), and even as a water bomber.
    • Experts believe this fleet would become the backbone of the IAF’s entire tactical transport operations in near future.
  • Strengthening of defence supply chain
    • The project will involve the creation of production infrastructure with transfer of technology from Airbus.
    • The resulting manufacturing supply chain will spread from Tata to a host of MSMEs.
    • As per the data released, about 125 MSMEs across the country will be involved in the supply chain.
  • Significant civilian potential
    • The aircraft has a unique capability to connect destinations which are tough to service or reachable.
    • In this context, it can be used for both passenger and load-carrying tasks.
    • Also, India is reaching the top three countries in the world in terms of air traffic. In coming future, India will need more than 2,000 passenger and cargo aircraft.
  • Bolster Make-in-India Programme
    • The indigenous content in the plane will be the highest ever in India.
      • 96 per cent of the work that Airbus does in Spain to produce the plane will be done at the manufacturing unit in Vadodara.
    • An essential aspect of the project is the integration of a totally indigenous electronic warfare suite from Bharat Electronics Limited and Bharat Dynamics Limited.
  • Boost to defence exports
    • After the completion of the delivery of 56 aircraft to the IAF, manufacturer will be allowed to sell the aircraft manufactured in India to civil operators and export to countries which are cleared by the Government of India.
    • Ultimately, this Tata-Airbus project will push forward India’s motto of ‘Make in India, Make for Globe’.
Defence & Security

Oct. 30, 2022

Mains Article
30 Oct 2022

How InvITs work and generate their returns

In News:

  • The buzz around the recent bond offer from the National Highway Infrastructure Trust (NHIT) has led to a lot of curiosity about Infrastructure Investment Trusts or InvITs.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About InvITs (Meaning, How it works, Use, Risks involved)
  • Significance (From India’s perspective, Number of InvITs in India)

What are Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)?

  • An infrastructure investment trust, simply put, is a pooled investment vehicle like a mutual fund.
  • While mutual funds invest the sum received in financial securities, an InvIT invests the same in real infrastructure assets like roads, power plants, transmission lines, pipelines etc.
  • InvITs are mostly structured as trusts, and an independent trustee holds assets on behalf of unit-holders.

How InvITs work?

  • InvITs are designed to mitigate the under-construction risks in the infrastructure sector as at least 80% of the investment must be made in completed and revenue-generating projects.
  • The instrument aims to ensure steady predictable cash flows as 90% of the net distributable cash flow gets distributed to the investors.
  • These assets have long-term contracts that provide a steady cash flow over the long term-typically 15-20 years, depending on the underlying assets.
  • They provide an opportunity to grow by adding more operating projects and increasing the yield.
  • Public InvIT units can be listed and traded on a stock exchange like equity stocks.

Use of InvITs:

  • InvITs help infrastructure developers to free-up capital by monetising completed assets.
    • The infrastructure developer can transfer a part of its revenue-generating assets to an InvIT, which can then issue units to its holders.
  • Thus, InvITs spur infrastructure creation, by providing an efficient way to raise capital from investors - individual and institutional and fund new project development.
  • On the other hand, InvITs offers an opportunity for individual investors to invest into a long term yield instrument in the infrastructure space.
  • From the stakeholders' point of view, InvITs proposition for stakeholders involved includes –
    • Developers: Monetize operational assets to free-up capital, and develop new assets.
    • Lenders: Diversify exposure to better quality infrastructure assets with higher ratings.
    • Investors: Earn stable and predictable returns from a portfolio of operational assets.
    • Government: Monetization to create room for further infrastructure development.

Risks of investing in InvITs:

  • Operational risk –
    • These include risks due to force majeure events that affect availability of underlying infrastructure projects and have adverse impact on revenues.
  • Refinancing risk –
    • Infrastructure projects are predominantly financed through debt.
    • This envisages large bullet repayments and fluctuating interest rates, which may pose a refinancing risk.
  • Regulatory risk –
    • Infrastructure is a highly regulated sector in India. Since InvITs are at a nascent stage, the regulations are still evolving.
  • Return risk –
    • Since public InvITs are traded on stock exchanges, the unit prices might fluctuate resulting in capital gains or loss as in case of equity stocks.
    • Also, it is important to note that the cash flows of the trust are dependent on the underlying business.

Significance of InvITs from India’s Perspective:

  • The Central government had already identified InvITs as a way to attract large institutional long-term investors in infrastructure space.
  • The Government’s National Infrastructure Pipeline estimates funding requirements of over $1.4 trillion by 2025.
    • Of this, private sector investment in infrastructure is expected to be at least $325 billion. A large portion of this could come through InvITs.
  • To allow for capital recycling and further investments under PPP modes, InvITs play a key role in the monetisation of existing projects in some of these sectors (with conducive regulatory frameworks, cash flow profile, and taxation advantage).
  • InvIT helps developers release their invested equity and deploy capital in new projects.
    • This could enable them to address the challenge of projects with high capex demands.
  • Another advantage of InvITs for companies is that proceeds raised from such vehicles are not counted as debt.
  • Similarly, as the company launching InVIT does not dilute any of its shares in the process, it does not count as equity either.

How many InvITs are there today and how much have they raised so far?

  • At present, 15 InvITs are registered with SEBI, and seven are listed on the stock exchanges. The market cap of the listed InvITs is over $10 billion.
  • A total of ₹21,195 crore was collected through InvITs in 2021-22. This included money collected by unlisted InvITs.
  • The funds were raised through initial offer, preferential issue, institutional placement and rights issue.

Mains Article
30 Oct 2022

Kalanamak rice, ‘Buddha’s gift to people’, is now small, strong

In News:

  • Kalanamak, a traditional type of rice with a black husk and a powerful fragrance, is about to get a new look and name.
    • The rice is thought to have been a gift from Lord Buddha to the people of Sravasti (capital of the ancient Kosala) following his enlightenment
  • Addressing the problem of lodging, the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) has successfully developed two dwarf varieties of Kalanamak rice, named Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1638 and Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1652.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About the Kalanamak rice
  • News Summary 

Kalanamak rice:

  • Also known as Buddha Rice, Kalanamak is a scented, one of the finest and short grain rice with an unusual black husk (kala = black; namak means salt).
  • It is currently grown in 11 districts of the Terai region of northeastern Uttar Pradesh and in Nepal (specifically Kapilvastu).
  • This rare rice has been awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2013 which recognised Siddharthnagar and the adjacent districts for the tag.
  • Under the One District One Product (ODOP) Scheme, it has earned the Prime Minister's award for Excellence in Public Administration 2021.
  • It was featured in the book 'Speciality Rices of the World' by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.


  • This rice is rich in micronutrients such as iron and zinc and can help prevent Alzheimer’s
  • It also contains 11% protein which is almost double of common rice varieties.
  • Besides, it has a low Glycemic Index (49% to 52%) making it sugar free and suitable for even diabetic people.
  • It also contains antioxidants such as anthocyanin which is useful in preventing heart disease and also helps in improving the health of the skin.
  • It has also been found helpful in regulating blood pressure and blood-related problems.

Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI):

  • Commonly known as the Pusa Institute, IARI is India's national institute for agricultural research, education and extension.
  • The current institute in Delhi is financed and administered by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
    • The ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India.
    • It reports to the Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture and the Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.
    • It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • The IARI was responsible for the research leading to the "Green Revolution in India" of the 1970s.

News Summary:

Problems faced by the traditional variety:

  • Tall and prone to lodging - a reason for its low yield:
    • Lodging is a condition in which the top of the plant becomes heavy because of grain formation, the stem becomes weak and the plant falls on the ground.
    • As a result, the yield dropped dramatically (2-2.5 tonnes per hectare), as did the market for rice.
  • Attack of blight bacterial disease.

The dwarf varieties (Pusa Narendra Kalanamak 1638 and 1652) by IARI:

  • The plan was to combine the high yielding properties with the quality of traditional Kalanamak.
  • In that process (started in 2007), the breeding programme was conducted by bringing the dwarfing genes from the rice varieties Bindli Mutant 68 and Pusa Basmati 1176, after crossing it with Kalanamak.
  • The objective was to bring dwarfness into the variety and make the plant sturdy to prevent lodging. Attack of blight bacterial disease has also been addressed by inducting blight tolerant genes.
  • The new name is in recognition of the association the institute has with the Acharya Narendra Dev University of Agriculture and Technology in Ayodhya, where the two varieties were tested.
  • The new breed has a stronger aroma and superior nutritional characteristics. Productivity has increased to 4.5 to 5 tonnes per hectare, up from 2.5 tonnes in traditional Kalanamak.



Mains Article
30 Oct 2022

At UN counter-terror meet, the refrain: tech, web new tools of terror

In News:

  • The UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) meeting was concluded with the adoption of Delhi Declaration.
  • This year’s meeting was hosted by India. This was the first such meeting of the UNSC-CTC in India since its establishment in 2001.
    • The meeting was inaugurated with the Wreath-laying ceremony at the 26/11 Memorial at the Taj hotel, Mumbai.
    • The second day meeting was held at New Delhi.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • News Summary

News Summary: Delhi Declaration

  • Zero tolerance towards terrorism
    • Terrorism — in all forms and manifestations — constitutes one of the most serious threats to global peace and security.
    • Hence, it urged all member states to ensure zero tolerance towards terrorism, consistent with their obligations under international laws.
  • Called upon all member-states to cooperate in fight against terrorism in order to identify safe havens, deny terrorists’ access to them and bring to justice.
  • Didn’t specifically mention cross-border terrorism or name any Pakistan-based terror group.
    • It stressed the need to effectively counter the ways of the IS terror group and Al-Qaida, and their affiliates, to incite and recruit others to commit terrorist acts.
    • The declaration said terrorism should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group.
  • Took note of the new threats emerging due to increasing use of technologies
    • It expressed concerns that terrorism has become more diffused due to the use of new and emerging technologies.
      • There has been the increase in global misuse of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) by terrorists.
      • They are using UAS to conduct attacks, and incursions into critical infrastructure and soft targets or public places, and to traffic drugs and arms.
    • The declaration asked members to develop measures to deter, detect and disrupt the acquisition and use of drones by terrorists, and engage in partnerships with the private sector to this end.
      • Many participating leaders argued for a united approach against the drone threat and demanded a regulatory framework that could be adopted by member states.
    • The declaration also recognized that innovations in technology may offer significant counter-terrorism opportunities.
  • On the threat from cryptocurrencies
    • The Delhi Declaration called on member states to consider and assess risks associated with prepaid cards, virtual assets and crowdfunding platforms.
    • It urged them to implement risk-based anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations, monitoring, and supervision to providers of relevant services.
    • The declaration acknowledged the essential role of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in this regard.
  • On the problem of terrorist use of internet and social media
    • The declaration highlighted the increased use of internet by terrorists and their supporters for recruitment and incitement to commit terrorist acts.
      • Efforts to moderate and remove such content has been challenging.
      • One reason being the absence of international agreement on what constitutes terrorism.
    • They are also using these platforms for the financing, planning, and preparation of their activities.
  • Continue voluntary cooperation with the private sector and civil society
    • This is to develop and implement more effective means to counter the use of new and emerging technologies, including the Internet, for terrorist purposes.

Key highlights of the speech made by Indian EAM

  • He announced that India will make a voluntary contribution of $0.5 million to the UN Trust Fund for Counter Terrorism this year.
  • EAM pitched for global efforts to stop possible misuse of encrypted messaging and crypto-currency by non-state actors.
  • He also cautioned that social media platforms have turned into potent instruments in the toolkit of terror groups.
  • The new and emerging technologies – from virtual private networks, and encrypted messaging services to blockchain and virtual currencies – offer a very promising future.
  • However, there is a flip side especially where terrorism is concerned.
    • Lone wolf attackers have significantly enhanced their capabilities by gaining access to these technologies.
    • They use technology and money, and most importantly, the ethos of open societies, to attack freedom, tolerance and progress.
  • He recalled India’s experience of the 2008 Mumbai attacks where technology of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) could be used for organizing and directing the attack from beyond India’s borders.
Defence & Security

Mains Article
30 Oct 2022

Russia halts Ukraine Black Sea grain exports, citing attack on Crimea

In News:

  • Russia has suspended participation in a U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain deal after (what it said was) a major Ukrainian drone attack on its fleet in Crimea.
    • Russia's defence ministry said Ukraine attacked the Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol on the annexed Crimean Peninsula with 16 drones.
    • It claimed that the ships targeted were involved in ensuring the grain corridor out of Ukraine's Black Sea ports.
  • So far, the deal had seen more than 9 million tonnes of grain exported from Ukraine and brought down global food prices.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Black Sea
  • Black Sea grain deal – About, key highlights, significance

Black Sea

  • The Black Sea lies between the continents of Asia and Europe.
  • It is bound to the west by the Balkan Peninsula, to the east by the Caucasus, north by East European Plains, and south by Anatolia of Western Asia.
  • It is bordered by Ukraine to the north, Russia to the northeast, Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west.
  • The black Sea drainage basin drains several countries, including the six countries that share its coast.

Black Sea grain deal between Russia and Ukraine

  • In July 2022, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal to reopen grains exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
    • The agreement is also known as the Black Sea Initiative.
  • The deal will enable Ukraine to export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in Black Sea ports due to the war.
  • It would also allow Russia to export its grain and fertilizers.

Key highlights of the deal

  • The agreement would open a path for significant volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea: Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.
  • The deal makes provisions for the safe passage of ships.
  • A control centre will be established in Istanbul, staffed by U.N., Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials, to run and coordinate the process.
  • Ships would undergo inspections to ensure they are not carrying weapons.

Significance of this deal:

  • It brought relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine.
  • It helps stabilize global food prices which were already at record levels even before the war.
    • Ukraine is one of the world's largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, but Russia's invasion of the country and naval blockade of its ports have halted shipments.
    • Some grain is being transported through Europe by rail, road and river, but the prices of vital commodities like wheat and barley have soared.
International Relations

Oct. 29, 2022

Mains Article
29 Oct 2022

The death penalty and humanising criminal justice


  • A three-judge Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) U U Lalit recently referred to a larger Bench (five judge), issues relating to procedural norms for imposing the death sentence owing to conflicting judgments on when and how the hearing related to sentencing must take place.
  • The focus here is on reassessing the ‘Framing Guidelines Regarding Potential Mitigating Circumstances to be Considered While Imposing Death Sentences’.
  • The decision stands out because of the thrust on the trial court’s death sentencing policies and the practice and desire to elicit, from a larger Bench, directions to ensure some kind of uniformity in the matter.


  • The empirical evidence and research findings contained in the ‘ Deathworthy’ report (Project 39A of the National Law University Delhi) found that in 44 per cent of cases it studied, sentencing hearings took place on the same day as the pronouncement of guilt.

More developments

  • Varied criteria This order to refer to larger bench is necessitated due to a difference of opinion and approach amongst various judgments, on the question of whether, after recording conviction for a capital offence, under law, the court is obligated to conduct a separate hearing on the issue of sentence.
  • Enhanced scope: This SC order referring the issue to a larger bench also lists social milieu, the age, educational levels, trauma earlier in life, family circumstances, psychological evaluation of a convict and post-conviction conduct, as relevant circumstances that should be accounted for at the sentencing hearing.
  • Significance: The intervention is seen as a major step in plugging gaps in the way in which trial courts award the death sentence.
    • This present trajectory of judicial thinking will reaffirm the fundamentals of the rarest of rare principle and lead a new wave of thinking in the jurisprudence around capital punishment.
  • Other injunctions: The SC has also initiated a suo motu writ petition (criminal) to delve deep into the issues on key aspects surrounding the understanding of death penalty sentencing.
    • The court is also looking at framing a uniform policy in the form of guidelines for sentencing.

About Capital Punishment

  • Capital punishment, commonly known as the death penalty, is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction of a criminal offense by a court of law.
  • It is the highest penalty awardable to an offender as an effective deterrent for the worst crimes.
  • Capital punishment in India has been limited to the rarest of rare cases- like Section 121 (taking up arms against the state) and Section 302 (murder) etc. of the IPC, 1860.

Judicial view on Death Penalty

  • Ediga Anamma case (1974): The Supreme Court (SC) laid down the principle that life imprisonment for the offence of murder is the rule and capital punishment is the exception in certain cases.
    • The Court also stated that a special reason should be given if a court decides to impose a death sentence.
  • Bachan Singh case (1980): Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of capital punishment on the condition that the punishment will be awarded in the “rarest of the rare” cases.
    • It noted that the death penalty should be awarded after seeing the aggravating and mitigating factors and balance of the same.
    • “Rarest of the Rare Cases”: When the murder is committed in an extremely brutal, ridiculous, diabolical, or revolting, manner so as to awaken intense and extreme indignation (anger) of the community.
  • Machhi Singh case (1983): SC outlined certain factors that determine whether a case should be considered rarest of rare:
    • Firstly, is the offence committed so exceptional that there is no scope for awarding any other sentence?
    • Secondly, even when weightage is accorded to the mitigating circumstances does the circumstances still warrant death penalty?

Balancing the mitigating and aggravating factors

  • Mitigating circumstances: These are arguments that accused persons can present in their defence to avoid death sentences.
    • These circumstances could include mental health problems, trauma in early life, lack of a prior criminal record, or other such instances which might be reasons for the judges to pass a reduced sentence.
    • These are meant to lessen the severity or culpability of a criminal act.
  • Aggravating circumstances: It refers to the factors that increase the severity or culpability of a criminal act. Popular aggravating factors involve a long criminal record of the offender or whether the offence inflicted significant harm to the victim.
    • The seriousness of the offence is judged based upon the circumstances of the case such as the gravity of the injury, usage of weapons, repeat offences, hate crimes based on caste, religion, gender, and national origin, intention etc.

Sentencing incongruities

  • Court observation: The SC in May 2022, while dealing with appeals against confirmation of the death sentence, has examined sentencing methodology from the perspective of mitigating circumstances more closely.
    • It also held that since aggravating factors are always on record, and would be part of prosecutor’s evidence, leading to conviction.
    • But the accused can scarcely be expected to place mitigating circumstances on the record, for the reason that the stage for doing so is after conviction. This places the convict at a hopeless disadvantage, tilting the scales heavily against him.
    • Thus court opined a necessary clarity in this matter to ensure a uniform approach on the question of granting real and meaningful opportunity, as opposed to formal hearing to the accused/convict on the issue of sentence

Future scope of implementation

  • The appreciation generated by the bold initiative of the three judge Bench to humanise criminal justice will ultimately depend upon two things.
    • The first is the composition of the larger Bench and the inclination of the judiciary to continue in its onward creative path, as the incumbent CJI.
    • Second, the extent to which society is prepared to broaden the horizons of meaningful hearing, even to the earlier guilt determination stage.

Quality of guilt

  • Criminal liability is a product of the component of culpability/guilt and sanction/punishment. The consideration of these two components in isolation leads to a disconnect between the wrongdoer and his punishment/ sentence.
  • However, the western critical criminal law scholars who have already begun making a distinction between ‘early guilt’ that is regressive, prosecutory and punitive, and ‘mature guilt’ that is developmental and progressive.


  • The focus should be on ensuring certainty of punishment rather than quantum of punishment that will act as a better deterrent for criminals.
  • Government should also examine the proposal of the Law Commission 262nd report that recommended for the death penalty to be abolished for all crimes excluding terrorism-related offences and war.
  • There is a need to ensure the restoration of peace and prevent future occurrences of crimes by balancing the competing rights of the criminal and the victim. The experience of the Scandinavian countries also supports this view.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
29 Oct 2022

UN counter-terrorism meet: From 26/11 site, India & US seek listing of terrorists, China says don’t politicise

In News:

  • Ambassadors of all countries in the U.N. Security Council attended a memorial for victims of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.
  • This memorial was a part of a special session of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) at the Taj Mumbai hotel, one of the sites of the attacks in 2008.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Counter-Terrorism Committee - About, focus areas
  • News Summary

UN Security Council - Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC)

  • In the aftermath of the 11 September attacks against the United States in 2001, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 1373 (2001).
  • This resolution, for the first time, established a dedicated Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) of the Council.
  • The CTC is assisted by an Executive Directorate (CTED), which carries out its policy decisions and conducts expert assessments of the 193 United Nations Member States.

Focus Areas

  • The Counter-Terrorism Committee has a global mandate and focuses on specific thematic areas, which are:
    • Counter-terrorism strategies
    • Countering the financing of terrorism
    • Border security and arms trafficking
    • Law enforcement
    • Legal issues
    • Human Rights
    • Integrating gender into counter-terrorism
    • Countering violent extremism and terrorist narratives
    • Information and Communications Technologies
    • Foreign Terrorist Fighters

News Summary

  • India hosted a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council’s Counter Terrorism Committee (CTC).
  • This was the first such meeting of the UNSC-CTC in India since its establishment in 2001.
    • The Permanent Representative of India to the UN serves as the Chair of the CTC for 2022.

Key highlights

  • Theme
    • The meeting held discussion on the overarching theme of Countering the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes.
    • It also discussed terror-financing through crypto-currency and use of drones in the new-age terrorism.
  • Wreath-laying ceremony at the 26/11 Memorial at the Taj hotel
  • Address made by EAM S Jaishankar
    • EAM S Jaishankar specified 5 points before the CTC to block financial resources that allow terrorism to thrive.
    • One of which was to ensure effective and transparent functioning of the UNSC sanctions regime and make sure they are not rendered ineffective for political reasons.
      • This is important in the context of China’s repeated forestalling of UN sanctions on Pakistan based terrorists.
    • EAM recalled how it wasn’t just an attack on Mumbai, but an attack on the international community as people of specific nationalities were identified before being murdered.
    • In this context, he said that the commitment of each and every member state of the UN to combat terrorism stood publicly challenged.
  • Presentation highlighting Pakistan’s links with the 26/11 attacks was made
    • Indian authorities played the recording of one of these terrorists, Sajid Mir, directing the 26/11 perpetrators.
      • China blocked a proposal for a UN ban on Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Mir last month.
  • The issue of listing planners of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack as global terrorists was raised
    • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised this issue.
      • India has been urging the UNSC to reflect on the signals being sent each time a move to list a terrorist is blocked.
      • China has been blocking US and India’s moves on the listing of Pakistan-based terrorists – Sajid Mir, Abdul Rauf Azhar, Abdul Rehman Makki being the more recent cases.
    • However, representative from China asked the countries to “avoid mutual accusations and politicising technical issues.
Defence & Security

Mains Article
29 Oct 2022

At home ministry’s Chintan Shivir, PM Modi bats for ‘One Nation, One Uniform’ for police

In News:

  • While addressing the Chintan Shivir of state Home Ministers and police chiefs in Surajkund in Haryana, PM Modi floated the idea of ‘one nation, one police uniform.
  • He urged states to consider a single uniform for police across the country with states at liberty to have their own number or insignia.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Chintan Shivir – About, Chintan Shivir 2022
  • One Nation, One Uniform for police – About, challenges
  • News Summary

Chintan Shivir

  • The Chintan Shivir of Home Ministers is an endeavour to provide a national perspective to policy formulation on internal security-related matters.
  • The aim of the ‘chintan shivir’ is to prepare an action plan to implement ‘Vision 2047’ and ‘panch pran’ (five pledges).
    • Panch pran was announced by PM Modi during his Independence Day speech this year. It includes:
      • resolve of developed India by 2047; erase all traces of servitude; take pride in our legacy; Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat; fulfil all duties of responsible citizen
  • The Shivir, in the spirit of cooperative federalism, will bring more synergy in planning and coordination between various stakeholders at the centre and state levels.

Chintan Shivir 2022

  • The first-ever Chintan Shivir was held at Surajkund, Haryana on the 27th & 28 of October 2022. It was presided by Union Home Minister.
  • Home Secretaries and Director General of Police (DGPs) of the States, Director Generals of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Central Police Organisations (CPOs) attended the Chintan Shivir.
  • Key focus areas of the event were:
    • Development of eco-system for cyber-crime management,
    • modernising police forces,
    • increasing usage of information technology in the criminal justice system, land-border management and coastal security
  • The aim of the conference was to facilitate national policy-making and better planning and coordination in the above-mentioned areas.

One Nation, One Uniform for police

  • PM Modi, while addressing the Chintan Shivir, pitched the idea of “One Nation, One Uniform” for Indian police forces.
  • This suggestion is in line with his broader attempt to introduce a uniform set of policies across the country.
    • In August, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers announced that it had implemented the “One Nation One Fertiliser” scheme.
    • The Government of India in August 2019 had introduced the “One Nation One Ration Card” scheme.
    • Other areas include - one nation, one mobility’ card; ‘one nation, one grid’ and a ‘one nation, one sign language
  • PM Modi has also repeatedly suggested the implementation of “One Nation, One Election”, and adopting a single voter list for all polls.


  • Both ‘public order’ and the ‘police’ are placed in List II (State List) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
  • In this circumstance, PM’s suggestion will be implemented only with the cooperations of the State Governments.
  • While police personnel in India are often associated with the colour khaki, their uniforms do differ in varying degrees in different regions.
    • The Kolkata Police wear white uniforms.
    • Puducherry Police constables wear a bright red cap with their khaki uniforms.
    • Delhi Traffic Police personnel wear white and blue uniforms.
  • State governments and even an individual force can decide the uniform their personnel wear.

News Summary: Key Highlights of PM Modi’s Speech

  • UAPA an effective tool in fight against terror
    • Central laws such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) had given an impetus to the system in a decisive fight against terrorism.
  • Both gun-totting and pen wielding Naxals need to be uprooted
  • Emphasised on creating awareness against fake news
    • A small piece of fake news can challenge law and order and people must check facts before forwarding messages on social media.
    • There is need to educate people to think before forwarding anything, verify before believing it.
    • Also, people must be made aware of mechanisms to verify messages before forwarding them.
  • Interconnectedness between the police of different states in order to improve the efficiency of the police and strengthen law and order
  • Next 25 years will be for the creation of an 'amrit peedhi'
    • 'Amrit peedhi' will be created by imbibing the resolutions of 'Panch Pran'.
  • Urged the states to upgrade their law and order systems with smart technological solutions developed via a common platform to ensure uniformity and intra-operability.
    • At the same time, he emphasised upon the state police to not lose focus on human intelligence.
  • Development of the border and coastal areas
    • The central government is working on mission mode for development in the border and coastal areas to promote reverse migration.
    • This could help curb the smuggling of weapons and drugs in these regions.

Key assessments shared in the meeting

  • Bihar and Jharkhand have become free from left-wing extremism;
  • Peace in the northeast has seen AFSPA area reduced and 9,200 insurgents surrender over the past eight years.
  • It was agreed that focus should be laid on cyber crime, improving conviction rates, narcotics, border security and using forensic science capabilities to achieve 90% conviction rate.
  • States were urged to constantly and annually review goals and have a plan on where their internal security will be in 2047.
Defence & Security

Mains Article
29 Oct 2022

Failing to meet the inflation target: Why is MPC holding a special meeting on November 3?

In News:

  • The Reserve Bank of India said that it would hold an additional Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on November 3, 2022.
  • This meeting has been called as the RBI has failed to maintain the consumer price index (CPI) inflation target within the 2-6 per cent band for three consecutive quarters, or nine straight months — January to September 2022.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About MPC (Purpose, Provisions, Composition, etc.)
  • News Summary

About Monetary Policy Committee:

  • Based on the recommendations of Urjit Patel Committee (2014), a six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was constituted for setting the policy rate i.e. Repo Rate.
  • The committee was given the status of a statutory body through an amendment to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
    • With this, India joined the set of countries that adopted inflation targeting, starting from 1990 by New Zealand, as their Monetary Policy Framework.
  • The Central Government notified in the Official Gazette dated August 5, 2016, that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation target would be 4% (with ± 2% tolerance band) for the period from August 5, 2016 to March 31, 2021.
    • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food, medical care, etc.
    • Changes in the CPI are used to assess price changes associated with the cost of living.

Composition of the committee:

  • The committee comprises of six members (including the Chairman) - three officials of the RBI and three external members nominated by the Government of India.
    • Governor of RBI acts as the Chairperson (ex-officio) of the committee.
    • Members nominated by the Government hold office for a period of four years from the date of appointment.
  • None of the Central Government nominees are eligible to be re-appointed.
  • The committee meets quarterly i.e. every three months.
  • Decisions are taken by majority vote with each member having a vote.
    • In case of a tie, the Chairman has a casting vote.

News Summary

  • An additional meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee has been called by the RBI as the committee has failed to maintain the consumer price index (CPI) inflation target within the 2-6 per cent band for three consecutive quarters, or nine straight months — January to September 2022.
    • This is the first time an additional meeting has been called since the formation of MPC in 2016.
  • Usually, the MPC meets every three months. As per this schedule, the committee has  already met in April, June, August, and September for the year 2022.
  • Under the provisions of Section 45ZN of the RBI Act, 1934, in case the RBI fails to meet the inflation target, it has to present a report to the government explaining the reasons for the failure.
  • In the report, the central bank will have to mention the remedial actions it proposes to take, and an estimated time within which the inflation target will be achieved following the timely implementation of the proposed remedial actions.
  • Although the MPC is responsible for maintaining the inflation target, the report will be written by the RBI.
  • However, the MPC will be consulted — and hence, the RBI has scheduled the additional MPC meeting on November 3.

Mains Article
29 Oct 2022

Two more Indian beaches get ‘Blue Flag’: What is this coveted eco-label?

In News:

  • Two more beaches - Minicoy Thundi beach and Kadmat beach in Lakshadweep have been awarded the 'Blue Flag,' placing them among the world's cleanest and most environmentally friendly beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About the Blue Flag program
  • Blue Flag Beaches in India

About the Blue Flag program:

  • The Blue Flag is a distinguished eco-label or certification granted to coastal areas (for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators) around the world as a mark of environmental honour.
    • A marina is a small harbour where mainly pleasure boats and yachts dock.
  • The Blue Flag program is run by the Copenhagen, Denmark-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) - a non-profit organisation that contributes to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its work.
    • It was established in 1987, first in Europe, and certification has been granted on an annual basis since then. It has been implemented outside of Europe since 2001.
    • So far, the label has been awarded to 5,042 beaches, marinas, and tourism boats in 48 nations.
    • Spain is the country with the most Blue Flag beaches, followed by Greece and France.
  • In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, which is one of the most prestigious voluntary awards in the world, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.

Blue Flag Beaches in India:

  • India now has 12 blue beaches:
    • Minicoy Thundi beach and Kadmat beach, both in Lakshadweep, are the two new beaches.
    • The other 10 Indian beaches on the list are -
      • Shivrajpur in Gujarat’s Devbhumi Dwarka district;
      • Ghogla beach in Diu;
      • Kasarkod (Uttara Kannada) and Padubidri (Udupi) in Karnataka;
      • Kappad (Kozhikode) in Kerala;
      • Eden beach in Puducherry;
      • Kovalam (Chennai) in Tamil Nadu;
      • Rushikonda (Visakhapatnam) in Andhra Pradesh;
      • Golden beach in Puri, Odisha; and
      • Radhanagar Swarajdeep in Andaman and Nicobar.
    • Last year, Kovalam and Eden were awarded the Blue Flag. The remaining eight beaches were certified in 2020 and recertified last year.
    • No Blue Flag nation has ever received recognition for 8 beaches in a single attempt.
    • Taking the lead from the Blue Flag certification, India has launched its own eco-label BEAMS (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) as part of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project.
      • The Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change initiated BEAMS in 2020.
  • Permissible activities for the purposes of Blue Flag certification:
    • A government notification issued in January 2020 provided a list of permissible activities and facilities in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) of beaches, including islands, subject to a minimum distance of 10 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL).
    • These included portable toilet blocks; solid waste management plant; solar power plant; purified drinking water facility; beach access pathways; etc.
    • These activities and facilities would be exempt from prior clearance under the provisions of CRZ Notification, Island Protection Zone Notification and Island Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications.
  • Significance of Blue Flag program:
    • People will develop a strong desire to improve coastal cleanliness: This is because the idea of connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment is central to the Blue Flag program's goals.
    • Environmental conservation: Blue flag beaches have grey water treatment plants, solid waste management plants, solar power plants, solar lighting, and so on.
    • Promote tourism: It encourages the administration to build new beaches in order to attract a big number of tourists and so promote tourism in the district.

Oct. 28, 2022

Mains Article
28 Oct 2022

Why we need to focus on nutrition, not hunger


  • The article critically analyses Global Hunger Index (GHI) in the backdrop of its recent edition that put India in “serious” category and behind all south Asian countries except the war-torn Afghanistan.
  • As per the article, unlike the GHI, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) does a good job of providing comparative state-level data including the main pointers that determine health and nutrition.


  • The recently released Global Hunger Index report 2022 (17th edition) ranked India 107 out of 123 countries, dropping from the rank of 101 in 2021.
  • The government has rejected the report, claiming it is an effort to 'taint' India and questioning its methodology and noting the substantial efforts made by the government to improve access to foodgrains by India’s poor.

About Global Hunger Index (GHI)

  • Description: The GHI is an annual publication and was started in 2006 by Welthungerhilfe (private aid agency in Germany) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    • In 2018, IFPRI stopped being a publisher. Since then the GHI has been brought out by two European NGOs, Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.
  • Yardstick: The index rests on four indicators i.e. undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality.
  • Scores: The overall score is placed on a 100-point scale and a lower score is better (0 means no hunger).

Limitations of GHI

  • No regional database: GHI measures and ranks countries on a hunger index at the global, regional, and national levels, but not at the sub-national level where some Indian states fare better.
  • Imbalanced indicators : The GHI’s stated aim is to reduce hunger around the world. But its methodology focuses disproportionately on less than five-year-olds.
  • No comprehensive picture: GHI directs governmental attention to cross-national comparisons, resulting in the rejection of underlying issues and sidetracking the public discourse.
  • Lack conceptual clarity: GHI uses childhood mortality and nutrition indicators but sees hunger as a food production challenge, as described in its preamble: “Communities, civil society organisations, small producers, farmers, and indigenous groups… shape how access to nutritious food is governed.”
    • As per FAO, India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of grain and the largest producer of milk; when the per capita intake of grain, vegetables and milk has increased manifold.
    • It is, therefore, contentious and unacceptable to club India with countries facing serious food shortages, which is what GHI has done.

India’s perspective

  • National Family Health Survey (NFHS): Unlike the GHI, the NFHS provides comparative state-level data, including the main pointers that determine health and nutrition.
    • Indicators: NFHS provides estimates of underweight(low weight for age), stunting (low height for age) and wasting (low weight for height).
  • Significance: NFHS provide conditions that affect preschool children (those less than 6 years of age) disproportionately and compromise a child’s physical and mental development while also increasing the vulnerability to infections.
    • Also, undernourished mothers owing to social and cultural practices give birth to low-birth-weight babies that remain susceptible to infections, transporting their handicaps into childhood and adolescence.

About NFHS

  • Description: It comprises detailed information on key domains of population, health and family welfare and associated domains like characteristics of the population; fertility; family planning; infant and child mortality; maternal and child health; nutrition and anaemia; morbidity and healthcare; women’s empowerment etc.
  • Enhanced scope: The scope of NFHS-5 is expanded in respect of the earlier round of the survey (NFHS-4) by adding new dimensions such as:
    • Death registration, pre-school education, expanded domains of child immunization, components of micro-nutrients to children, menstrual hygiene, frequency of alcohol and tobacco use, additional components of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), expanded age range for measuring hypertension and diabetes among all aged 15 years and above.

Nutritional challenges

  • Breastfeeding: It is one of the first child nutrition challenges. As per NFHS 5, only 42 per cent of infants are breastfed within one hour of birth, which is the recommended norm.
    • By not being breastfed, an infant is denied the benefits of acquiring antibodies against infections, allergies and even protection against several chronic conditions.
  • Young child feeding practices: Causes like not introducing semi-solid food after six months, prolonging breastfeeding well beyond the recommended six months and giving food lacking in nutritional diversity intimidate child health.
    • NFHS 5 shows that the improvement has been marginal over the last two reports and surprisingly, states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam, UP and Gujarat are at the tail end.
  • Poor nutrition: The third issue is the outcome of poor nutrition. According to NFHS 5, the percentage of stunted, wasted and underweight children is 36 per cent, 19 per cent and 32 per cent respectively.
    • Disturbing trends: It is worrisome that states like Bihar, UP and Jharkhand have fallen from their own levels five years ago. Overall, there has been an eight percentage point increase in children suffering from anaemia from 59 per cent in NFHS 4 to 67 per cent in NFHS 5.
    • This has a lot to do with the mistaken belief that manufactured snacks are “good food”. This phenomenon has been found in urban slums and in villages.
  • Cleanliness: The NGO named CHETNA working for women’s and children’s health and nutrition across three states (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan) by observing home practices noted that young children are allowed to run around while eating, exposing the food to flies, dust and heat.
    • The NGO also found that children are weaned on watery liquid from cooked grain when they need nutrition-dense food to develop.


  • Nutritional plan: The WHO and UNICEF recommend that breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour of birth and infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
    • According to NFHS 5, in India, the percentage improvement of children who were exclusively breastfed when under six months, rose from 55 per cent in NFHS 4 to 64 per cent in NFHS 5.
  • Broad vision: Most beneficiaries of these food distribution programmes are kids attending anganwadis or schools, adolescents, and pregnant and lactating mothers. This must continue but newborns, infants, and toddlers need attention too.
  • Awareness: India has successfully overcome problems like reduced maternal and child mortality, improved access to sanitation, clean drinking water and clean cooking fuel.
    • Families can also be motivated to start kitchen gardens and rear poultry to improve nutrition demands.


  • No more time should be lost over the GHI rankings, which are distorted and irrelevant. Instead, states should be urged to examine the NFHS findings to steer a new course to improve the nutrition practices for the youngest and the most vulnerable sections of society.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
28 Oct 2022

PM Modi speaks to U.K. PM Rishi Sunak, discusses India-U.K. trade pact

In News:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephone conversation with new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
  • During conversation, both the leaders have agreed on the importance of an early conclusion of a “comprehensive and balanced” trade agreement.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • India-UK Bilateral Relation

India-UK Bilateral Relation

  • The bilateral relationship was upgraded to a Strategic partnership in 2004.
  • During the May 2021 virtual summit between the PMs of both the countries, an ambitious ‘Roadmap 2030’ was adopted.
    • This roadmap will pave a way to elevate bilateral ties to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.
  • India was identified as a priority relationship for the UK in the 2021 Integrated Review and was invited by the UK as a guest to last year’s G7 in Carbis Bay.

Economic engagements

  • During the May 2021 virtual summit, India and UK launched an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ (ETP).
    • This was launched to unleash the trade potential between these two countries.
  • Trade
    • The total trade between India and the UK stood at $17.5 billion.
    • UK is India’s 17th largest trading partner during the period of FY 2021-2022.
    • In January 2022, India and the UK formally launched negotiations for an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA).
      • The FTA aims to increase the bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030.
    • Both sides were expected to sign on the FTA by Diwali but they missed the deadline due to lack of consensus and the transition in the UK political leadership.
  • Investment
    • Indian investment in UK: India invested in 99 projects and created 4,830 new jobs in the UK to retain the position of second-largest source of FDI after the US in 2020.
    • UK’s investment in India: UK is the 6th largest inward investor in India after Mauritius, Singapore, USA, Netherlands, Japan.
      • It has a cumulative equity investment of US $ 31.6 million (April 2000- December 2021), accounting for around 6% of all FDI into India.


  • During the 2015 visit of PM Modi to UK, a new Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) was pledged by leaders of both the countries.
  • In October 2020, India and the UK reached the final stages of agreeing on a key defence logistics pact which will help in reciprocal use of airfields, bases, spares and supplies.
  • After the pact, India can access ports and military bases from the Garrisons in the Gulf to Keeling Island in the South Indian Ocean and strategic military locations such as Busan and Okinawa.

Cultural Linkages

  • 2017 was celebrated as the India-UK year of Culture to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.
  • Indian PM describes the connection between people of both the countries as a ‘living bridge’.
  • In August 2020, Britain announced its decision to mint a coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi.

Indian Diaspora

  • As per 2011 census approximately 1.5 million people of Indian origin are in the UK equating to almost 1.8 percent of the population and contributing 6% of the country’s GDP.
  • The government of India awarded Pravasi Bhartiya Samman to British MP of Indian origin Priti Patel and British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) of Indian origin Neena Gill in 2017.
International Relations

Mains Article
28 Oct 2022

India to see highest growth globally in energy demand through 2030: IEA

In News:

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) published its World Energy Outlook Report 2022.
  • As per the report, energy demand in India is expected to be the highest globally, growing at more than 3 per cent on annual basis, from 2021 to 2030.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About IEA (Genesis, Collective Action Mechanism, Membership, HQ, etc.)
  • News Summary (WEO Report 2022)

About International Energy Agency (IEA):

  • The International Energy Agency was born with the 1973-1974 oil crisis, when industrialised countries found they were not adequately equipped to deal with the oil embargo imposed by major producers that pushed prices to historically high levels.
  • This first oil shock led to the creation of the IEA in November 1974 with a broad mandate on energy security and energy policy co-operation.
  • The IEA was established as the main international forum for energy co-operation on a variety of issues associated with energy production.
  • This included setting up a collective action mechanism to respond effectively to potential disruptions in oil supply.

About Collective Action Mechanism:

  • The Agency’s collective response system is designed to mitigate the negative economic impacts of sudden oil supply shortages by providing additional oil to the global market on a short-term basis.
  • So far, it has been activated three times since the Agency’s creation
    • The first was in January 1991, during the First Gulf War.
    • The second was in 2005, after the hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged oil infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico.
    • The third was in 2011, during the Libyan crisis.

Member Countries:

  • Only OECD member states can become members of the IEA.
    • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 38 member countries, founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.
  • IEA member countries are required to maintain total oil stock levels equivalent to at least 90 days of the previous year's net imports.
  • Currently, there are 31 IEA member countries. India is one of the 8 associate member countries.
  • Headquarters: Paris, France

Reports Published by IEA:

  • World Energy Outlook Report
  • World Energy Investment Report
  • India Energy Outlook Report

Recent Initiative taken by IEA:

  • In November 2021, IEA released its Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap - named ‘Net Zero by 2050’.
    • 'Net zero emissions' refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
  • It is the world's first comprehensive energy roadmap to develop a new energy-sector pathway towards achieving NZE globally by 2050.

News Summary:

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) published its World Energy Outlook (WEO) Report 2022.
    • The IEA has been publishing the World Energy Outlook Report, annually, since 1998.
  • It is widely recognised as the most authoritative source for global energy projections and analysis.

Major Highlights of the WEO 2022 w.r.t. India:

  • Increasing energy demand –
    • India will become the world’s most populous country by 2025. This combined with the twin forces of urbanisation and industrialisation, energy demand in India will rise by more than 3 per cent per year from 2021 to 2030.
    • India’s coal generation and oil imports are going to peak in 2030, while gas imports will double around the same time.
  • Coal Production in India –
    • The report states that India became the world’s second‐largest coal producer in 2021 (in energy terms), overtaking Australia and Indonesia.
    • India plans to increase domestic production by more than 100 million tonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce) by 2025 from the current levels.
  • Appreciation for Government Initiatives –
    • The IEA cited government programmes such as the Gati Shakti National Master Plan and the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme, and strong economics to state that India will see a robust growth in renewables and electric mobility, notably for two/three‐wheelers.
  • Challenge for India –
    • The IEA report points out that the primary challenge for India is to meet the rising electricity demand with renewables and nuclear on a large enough scale to reduce use of unabated coal‐fired generation.
    • Currently, coal is used to produce nearly 75 per cent of electricity in India.
Environment & Ecology

Mains Article
28 Oct 2022

Emissions in India, 6 other nations top pre-Covid levels

In News:

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently released the Emissions Gap Report 2022, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
  • The report stated that the world is falling short of the goals set out in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, and that emissions have rebounded and increased in India and six other major emitters following the pandemic.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About the UNEP
  • About the Emission Gap Report

 About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):

  • It was established after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972 and is headquartered at Nairobi, Kenya.
  • The UNEP is responsible for coordinating responses to environmental issues within the United Nations system.
    • It does so through the UN Environment Assembly, the world’s highest decision-making body on the environment
  • The organisation -
    • Develops international environmental agreements, publishes and promotes environmental science and helps national governments achieve environmental targets.
    • Through its campaigns, particularly World Environment Day (June 5), UNEP raises awareness and advocates for effective environmental action.
    • As a member of the United Nations Development Group, UNEP aims to help the world meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
    • Hosts the secretariats of several multilateral environmental agreements and research bodies, including -
      • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
      • The Minamata Convention on Mercury,
      • The Convention on Migratory Species and
      • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
    • Is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol.
  • In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • It also publishes an annual Emissions Gap Report.


The Emission Gap Report:


  • UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre (UNEP CCC) has managed the production of UNEP’s flagship report on climate change - the Emissions Gap Report - since 2011.
  • The report is an annual science-based assessment of the gap between countries’ pledges on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions and the reductions required to deliver a global temperature increase of below 2°C by the end of this century.
  • Each year the reports also feature assessment of key opportunities for bridging the gap.
  • The recently released 2022 report (titled - 'Emissions Gap Report 2022: The Closing Window - Climate Crisis Calls for Rapid Transformation of Societies') is the 13th edition of the report.

Highlights of the Emissions Gap Report 2022:

  • The top 7 emitters plus international transport accounted for 55% of global GHG emissions in 2020.
    • Collectively, G20 members are responsible for 75% of global GHG emissions.
  • The global average per capita GHG emissions was 6.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) in 2020. India remains far below the world average at 2.4 tCO2e.
  • The report finds that the international community is falling far short of the Paris goals, with no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place.
    • The Paris Agreement defined a global warming limit of 2°C above pre-industrial levels (preferably 1.5°C), which if exceeded, can result in extreme weather events such as extreme heat waves, droughts, water stress, etc.
  • The report shows that updated national pledges since COP26 (held in 2021 in Glasgow, UK) make a negligible difference to predicted 2030 emissions.
  • For most major emitters, GHG emissions (excluding land use and forestry sectors) rebounded in 2021, exceeding pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
  • According to the report, the world needs to reduce GHGs by unprecedented levels over the next eight years, so global warming will not surpass the threshold.
  • Only an urgent system-wide transformation can deliver the enormous cuts needed to limit GHG emissions by 2030.
    • Unconditional and conditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are expected to reduce global emissions by 5% and 10%, respectively, by 2030, when compared to current policies.
    • To be on the most cost-effective path to limiting global warming to 2°C or 1.5°C, these percentages must reach 30% and 45%,

Significance of the report:

  • It emphasises the lack of credible roadmaps that can guide countries from actions planned for this decade to actions required by the middle of the century.
  • It also emphasises the need for a 10-fold increase in funding and the need for alternative technologies in heavy-industry to reverse the rise in carbon intensity of global steel production.
  • It is encouraging to see that India has maintained its momentum in renewables However, to meet its targets, it will need to increase its reliance on non-fossil energy.
Environment & Ecology

Mains Article
28 Oct 2022

BCCI bats for pay parity, same match fees for women & men: ‘New era of equality’

In News:

  • In a significant decision, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced a pay equity policy, saying that its centrally-contracted men and women players would get the same match fees.
  • With this, India has become the second country in international cricket to implement equal pay.
    • Earlier this year, New Zealand Cricket had announced equal match fees for its women players.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) – About, role, status
  • News Summary

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)

  • BCCI is the central body that governs over Indian Cricket. The board was founded in the year 1928 with 6 regional cricket associations as its first members.
    • Today it has 30 full-time members, and is worth Rs 3,308 crore.
  • It was established with a vision to control and develop the sport of Cricket in India.
  • The BCCI headquarters are located in the famous Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

Role Of BCCI

  • The role of BCCI is to regulate and overlook the growth and development of everything related to Indian Cricket.
  • The cricket board has set rules and regulations in its constitution that behave as guidelines for the National team.
    • The board decides where the national team will play and with whom.
    • It looks over the development of the national team and youth teams.
    • It controls the IPL and various domestic competitions like the Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, and Challenger series are conducted by state associations in consultation with the BCCI.
  • Another role of BCCI is the granting of media rights and sponsors.

Status of BCCI

  • The BCCI is an autonomous, private organisation and does not fall under the purview of the National Sports Federation of India.
  • It is registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act, 1975 and hence it considers itself as a private body.

News Summary

  • BCCI announces the implementation of a pay equity policy for contracted Indian women cricketers.
  • With this announcement, the match fee for both Men and Women Cricketers will be the same.

Key Highlights

  • This means the women players will now get Rs 15 lakh per Test match, Rs 6 lakh for a One-Day International (ODI), and Rs 3 lakh for a T20 International.
    • Till now, they were paid Rs 1 lakh for a white-ball match, and Rs 4 lakh for a Test.
  • However, the annual retainership for women cricketers remains the same — Rs 50 lakh for Grade A, Rs 30 lakh for Grade B and Rs 10 lakh for Grade C.
    • The men, who play more games, are paid Rs 1-7 crore, depending on their grade.
Polity & Governance

Oct. 27, 2022

Mains Article
27 Oct 2022

Why states should utilise fiscal room to ramp up capital spending


  • As many as 13 major states have a massive fiscal space of Rs 7.4 lakh crore for capital spending in the current fiscal, 81 per cent higher than the last fiscal, as per study by ratings firm ICRA.
  • These could also be eligible for Centre's 50 year interest free loan for investing in capacity expansion in their respective states.

ICRA observations

  • GDP share: These 13 major state governments namely Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal account for 85 per cent of India’s GDP in 2020-21.
  • Estimated capital spending: These 13 states had made a capital expenditure of Rs 4.1 trillion last fiscal and their Budget estimates for capex spending this fiscal is Rs 5.8 trillion, the rating agency added.
  • Fiscal space meaning: It refers to the flexibility in a government's budget that allows it to provide resources for a desired purpose without jeopardizing the sustainability of its financial position or the stability of the economy
  • ICRA concerns: While the availability of funds doesn't appear to be a constraint in FY2023, the actual outgo incurred by these state governments in the early months of this fiscal has been rather muted.
    • ICRA estimates the combined revenue deficit of these 13 states will be at Rs 2.1 lakh crore, higher than the Rs 1.8 lakh crore budgeted.
    • ICRA noted that while tax devolution as well as GST compensation grants are likely to exceed the amount budgeted by the states in the sample in FY2023, but this will not fully offset the estimated shortfall in other revenues and the projected higher-than-budgeted revenue expenditure in this fiscal.
  • Assessment: Based on this, ICRA has made assessment that these states will have adequate resources to fully fund and/or exceed their budgeted capex this year, but has expressed apprehensions about whether these state’s capex will exceed the budgeted level, despite ample fiscal space to do so.

About Capital expenditure (Capex)

  • Description: It is the money spent by the government on the development of machinery, equipment, building, health facilities, education, etc.
    • It also includes the expenditure incurred on acquiring fixed assets like land and investment by the government that gives profits or dividends in future.
    • Along with the creation of assets, repayment of loan is also capital expenditure, as it reduces liability.
  • Significance: Capital spending is associated with investment or development spending, where expenditure has benefits extending years into the future, hence acting as multiplier.
    • It also increases labour participation, takes stock of the economy and raises its capacity to produce more in future.
  • Different from Revenue Expenditure: Unlike capital expenditure, which creates assets for the future, revenue expenditure is one that neither creates assets nor reduces any liability of the government.
    • Examples: Salaries of employees, interest payment on past debt, subsidies, pension, etc. fall under the category of revenue expenditure. It is recurring in nature.

Resource flows to fund fiscal deficit

  • In order to estimate the capital outlay and net lending of these states, the resources that is likely to be available to them for funding their fiscal deficit need to be calculated first. This includes the following:
    • The unconditional market borrowings of 3.5 per cent of their gross state domestic product (GSDP),
    • The additional borrowing linked to the completion of power sector reforms (0.5 per cent of GSDP) and
    • The interest-free capex loan provided by the Centre
  • Calibrating debt: The estimated resource flows from these channels are then reduced by their off-budget debt which is to be adjusted in 2022-23, and the projected revenue deficit for the year.
  • Enhanced tax devolution: To encourage early capital spending, the Centre has also front-loaded tax devolution to states.
    • It released two instalments of tax devolution to states amounting to ₹1.17 trillion in August 2022, against the normal monthly devolution of ₹58,333 crore.

About interest-free capex loan

  • Launch: It was first launched by the Centre in October 2020-21 as part of the measures to support economic activity.
  • Enhanced funding: However, the government stepped up scheme allocation in 2022-23 to Rs 1 trillion from around Rs 150 billion in the previous two years.
  • Owing to slow capital growth: The pick-up in the sanctioned amount comes amid a slow capex off-take by states in the initial months, with 21 states on an average achieving only 15% of the budgeted target till July 2022.
  • Financing projects: ₹1 trillion was allocated as interest-free 50-year capital expenditure loans for states over and above their normal borrowing ceiling to be spent on new or ongoing projects.

About off-budget borrowings

  • Description: It refers to the loans taken by state entities, special purpose vehicles, etc., which are expected to be serviced through the state government’s own budget, instead of the cash flows or revenues generated by the borrowing entity.
  • Recent developments: The Union government has recently clarified that henceforth, off-budget borrowings would be considered as borrowing of the state government and would be subject to the provisions of Article 293(3) of the Constitution of India.
    • The Centre hence, would be adjusting the incremental off-budget borrowings raised by the state governments in 2021-22 from their net borrowing ceiling over a one to four-year period, beginning in 2022-23 and ending in 2025-26.
    • Article 293(3): A State may not without the consent of the Government of India raise any loan if there is still outstanding any part of a loan which has been made to the State by the Government of India or by its predecessor Government, or in respect of which a guarantee has been given by the Government of India or by its predecessor Government.


  • From a fiscal point of view, state governments are in a strong position to emerge as key drivers of economic growth this year but its ability to ramp up capital expenditure and take advantage of the fiscal space that they have, will be a key determinant of the aggregate fiscal impulse to the economy.
  • Also how effectively states ramp up their spending will have a critical bearing on the pace the Indian economy grows in near future.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
27 Oct 2022

ISRO to boost NavIC, widen user base of location system

In News:

  • On the side-lines of the India Space Congress, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently revealed its plans to expand the reach of NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) beyond India and not to a limited territory around India.
  • ISRO is also working on a series of NavIC improvements to encourage more people to install and use it.

 What’s in today’s article:

  • About NavIC
  • News Summary

NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation):

  • NavIC, also known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is an independent stand-alone indigenous navigation satellite system developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • NAVIC was approved in 2006 and was expected to be completed by 2011, but only become operational in 2018.
  • NavIC, which consists of 7 satellites, covering the whole of India's landmass and up to 1,500 km from its boundaries, is conceived with the aim of removing dependence on foreign satellite systems for navigation, particularly for "strategic sectors.".
  • Currently, NavIC's application in India is limited in -
    • Public vehicle tracking,
    • For providing emergency warning alerts to fishermen venturing into the deep sea where there is no terrestrial network connectivity and
    • For tracking and providing information related to natural disasters.
  • The next step India is pushing for is to include it in smartphones.
  • According to India's draft satellite navigation policy 2021, the government will work toward "expanding the coverage from regional to global" to ensure the availability of NavIC signals in any part of the world.


  • GPS: The main difference between GPS (caters to users across the globe and its satellites circle the earth twice a day) and NavIC (currently for use in India and adjacent areas) is the serviceable area covered by these systems.
  • Others:
    • Like GPS, there are three more navigation systems that have global coverage - Galileo from the European Union, Russia-owned GLONASS and China's Beidou.
    • QZSS, operated by Japan, is another regional navigation system covering the Asia-Oceania region, with a focus on Japan.

News Summary:

India Space Congress (ISC) 2022:

  • The SatCom Industry Association (SIAIndia) is organising a three-day ISC 2022 in New Delhi.
  • The theme of ISC 2022 is ‘Leveraging Space to Power Next-Gen Communication & Businesses’.
  • ISC 2022 is supported by the ISRO, Ministry of Defence, Niti Aayog, In-Space, NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) and the Department of Telecommunication.
  • To foster the growing interest in deep space tech startups in India, ISC 2022 announced a number of initiatives to showcase excellence.
    • By engaging with 'iDEX 75 Space Challenges' which was announced by PM Modi during the Defence Expo, Microsoft will extend Founders Hub benefits to the 15 shortlisted startups.
    • As part of the Founders Hub program, Microsoft provides founders with free resources to help overcome the challenges startups face.

The NavIC will undergo following significant changes in the near future:

  • Adding the L1 band into NavIC: Currently NavIC is only compatible with the L5 and S bands and hasn’t easily penetrated into the civilian sector.
    • L1 bandwidth is part of the GPS and is the most used for civilian navigational use.
  • Increasing the safety of the signals: There are two types of codes - Long Code and Short Code. NavIC currently only offers short codes. This must become Long Code for the strategic sector's use, to prevent the signal from being compromised.
  • 5 new satellites to replace decommissioned NavIC satellites: To be launched in the coming months, the new launches (medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites) will make NavIC truly “global” like GPS.
    • Currently, NavIC satellites orbit earth in a geostationary or geosynchronous (GEO) orbit, about 36,000 km from earth.
    • MEO orbits occupy a space between GEO and Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Science & Tech

Mains Article
27 Oct 2022

The FM’s call for industrial investment

In News:

  • Last month, Union Finance Minister Shri Nirmala Sitharaman asked captains of industry what was holding them back from investing in manufacturing.
  • She likened industry to Lord Hanuman from the Ramayana by stating that industry did not realise its own strength and that it should forge ahead with confidence.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Present Scenario (GFCF, Private consumption)
  • Consumer Sentiment (Survey results, Capacity utilisation, etc.)
  • About IIP

Present Scenario:

  • In the GDP figures for the April-June 2022 quarter, gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) at 2011-12 prices rose 9.6% to ₹12.77 lakh crore, from ₹11.66 lakh crore in Q1 of FY20, which was the pre-pandemic period.
  • Gross Fixed Capital Formation –
    • Gross fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) represents investment demand within the economy.
    • As per RBI, GFCF refers to the mixture of gross additions to fixed assets (i.e., fixed capital formation) and changes in stocks throughout the enumeration amount.
      • Fixed asset refers to the development, machinery, and equipment.
    • GFCF isn’t a measure of total investment, because only the worth of net additions to fixed assets is measured, and every one variety of monetary assets, further as stocks of inventories and other operational prices are excluded.
  • Private final consumption expenditure, an essential pillar of India’s economy, climbed 26% year-on-year for the June quarter.
    • However, the ₹22.08 lakh crore of private spending in April-June 2022 was a significant ₹54,000 crore, or 2.4%, less than that spent in the preceding quarter.
  • Private Final Consumption Expenditure –
    • Private final consumption expenditure is defined as expenditure on goods and services for the direct satisfaction of individual needs.
    • Whereas government consumption expenditure includes goods and services produced by government, as well as purchases of goods and services by government that are supplied to households.

What is the consumer sentiment?

  • Private companies invest when they are able to estimate profits, and that comes from demand.
  • The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) consumer sentiment index is still below pre-pandemic levels but is far higher than what was seen 12-18 months ago.
  • Manufacturing firms recorded a sequential uptick in new orders while infrastructure firms displayed optimism on the overall business situation, turnover and employment.
  • Capacity utilisation is now much better than what it was during the pandemic when it had slipped to 67-68%.
    • Capacity utilization refers to the manufacturing and production capabilities that are being utilized by a nation or enterprise at any given.

What is Index for Industrial Performance?

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a stipulated period of time.
  • It is a composite indicator of the general level of industrial activity in the economy.
  • IIP is compiled and published monthly by the National Statistical Organization (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • IIP measures the performance of the economy on the basis of eight core industries, with 2011-12 as base year.

Mains Article
27 Oct 2022

GEAC gives its nod for commercial cultivation of GM mustard yet again

In News:

  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has yet again cleared the proposal for commercial cultivation of genetically modified (GM) mustard.
    • GEAC functions in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
    • It is responsible for appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
    • It is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.
  • This will be the second GM crop after GM cotton that can be commercially cultivated in the country now.
    • Across the world, GM variants of maize, canola and soyabean, too, are available.

What’s in today’s article:

  • GM seeds
  • News Summary

GM seeds

  • Conventional plant breeding involves crossing species of the same genus to provide the offspring with the desired traits of both parents.
  • Genetic engineering aims to transcend the genus barrier by introducing an alien gene in the seeds to get the desired effects.
    • The alien gene could be from a plant, an animal or even a soil bacterium.
    • E.g., Bt cotton has two alien genes from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).
      • It allows the crop to develop a protein toxic to the common pest pink bollworm.
    • In Bt brinjal, a gene allows the plant to resist attacks of fruit and shoot borer.
  • Seeds produced using genetic engineering are called Genetically Modified Seeds.

Legal position of genetically modified crops in India

  • In India, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is the apex body that allows for commercial release of GM crops.
    • In 2002, the GEAC had allowed the commercial release of Bt cotton.
  • Use of the unapproved GM variant can attract a jail term of 5 years and fine of Rs 1 lakh under the Environmental Protection Act


  • In the case of cotton, farmers cite the high cost of weeding, which goes down considerably if they grow Ht Bt cotton.
  • Similarly, Bt brinjal reduces the cost of production by cutting down on the use of pesticides.
  • Other benefits include:
    • improves production and raise farmer's income;
    • can feed a rapidly increasing population as it shows increased yields
    • ensures production of more nutritious food
    • Disease- and drought-resistant plants that require fewer environmental resources (such as water and fertilizer)
    • Food with more desirable traits


  • Imposes high risks to the disruption of ecosystem and biodiversity
    • Better traits produced through engineered genes favours one organisms over others which can eventually disrupt the natural process of gene flow.
  • Leads to creation of foods that can cause an allergic or toxic reaction
  • Increases the cost of cultivation as farmers have to rely on companies for the seeds
  • Inadvertent transfer of genes from one GM plant or animal to another plant or animal might lead to unintended genetic modification harmful to the ecosystem.
  • Environmentalists argue that the long-lasting effect of GM crops is yet to be studied and thus they should not be released commercially.


  • Earlier, in 2017, the GEAC had cleared the proposal for commercial cultivation of GM mustard.
  • However, the Union Environment Ministry vetoed it and suggested that the panel hold more studies on the GM crop.

News Summary

  • GEAC has approved GM mustard for commercial cultivation, paving the way for the country’s first transgenic food crop.
  • The GM Mustard is technically called Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11).
  • GEAC’s approval clears the path for commercial seed production of GM mustard and use of the technology to further produce more GM-based mustard hybrid varieties.

GM mustard

  • Scientists at Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) have developed the hybrid mustard DMH-11.
  • It contains two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.
    • Indian scientists improvised the barnase/barster male sterility technique to produce the DMH-11.
    • Barnase/barster male sterility technique is 1990s breeding innovation technique pioneered in Belgium.
  • Indian scientists arranged the genes in a way that will allow a large number of high yielding varieties of mustard to be developed, which is normally not possible.

Significance of GM Mustard

  • Researchers claims that transgenic oilseeds like GM Mustard could help the country become self-sufficient in cooking oils.
    • India produces only 8.5-9 million tonnes (mt) of edible oil annually, while importing 14-14.5 mt that entailed a record foreign exchange outgo of $18.99 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022.
  • Indigenously developed, DMH-11 is a testimony to homegrown scientific prowess.
    • Hybridisation in plants like Mustard is not easy as its flowers have both female (pistil) and male (stamen) reproductive organs.
      • This makes the plants largely self-pollinating.
    • The eggs of one plant cannot be fertilised by the pollen grains from another making hybrids next to impossible.

Concerns raised against GM Mustard

  • Will lead to displacement of manual labour
    • GM mustard plants are tolerant to the spraying of glufosinate ammonium, a chemical used for killing weeds.
    • This, the opponents allege, will cause displacement of manual labour engaged in weeding by promoting use of chemical herbicides.
  • Will undermine the population of honey bees
    • The concerns are raised over GM mustard threatening or undermining the population of honey bees.
    • Mustard flowers are a source of nectar for honey bees and many other pollinator insects.
Science & Tech

Mains Article
27 Oct 2022

'Lakshmi-Ganesh on rupee': Can Centre change the look of Indian banknotes?

In News:

  • Recently, a political party urged the central government to put pictures of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha on currency notes to bring 'prosperity' to the country.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Design and form of bank notes

Design and form of bank notes

Who decides what Indian bank notes and coins are supposed to look like?

  • Any currency design change must be approved by the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) central board and the central government.
  • Changes in the design of coins are the prerogative of the central government.
    • In the case of coins, RBI's role is restricted only to the distribution of the coins.

Role of the RBI in issuing notes

  • The RBI internally works out a design, which is then put forth by the RBI's central board.
    • According to Section 22 of The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, RBI has the "sole right" to issue banknotes in India.
    • Section 25 of the act states that the design, form, and material of bank notes shall be such as may be approved by the Central Government after consideration of the recommendations made by the [RBI's] Central Board.
  • Department of Currency Management is responsible for administering the core function of currency management.
    • It addresses policy and operational issues relating to the designing of notes, forecasting the demand for notes and coins, and ensuring the smooth distribution of banknotes and coins across the country.
  • Any changes in the design of the notes are worked out by the Department of Currency Management, which then submits the design to RBI and recommends it to the government.
  • It is only after the government's nod that a particular design change comes into effect.

Minting of coins

  • The government has the power to design and mint coins in various denominations. It has been given this right under the Coinage Act, 2011.
  • The government decides on the quantity of coins to be minted on the basis of indents received from the RBI on a yearly basis.
  • Coins are minted in four mints owned by the Government of India in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Noida.

Printing of currency

  • Two of India’s currency note printing presses are in Nasik and Dewas. These are owned by the Government of India,
  • Two other printing presses are in Mysore and Salboni. These are owned by the RBI through its wholly owned subsidiary, Bharatiya Reserve Bank Note Mudran Ltd (BRBNML).

Different types of banknotes issued so far

  • Ashoka Pillar notes
    • Post-Independence, the first notes issued were Re one banknotes.
    • The design was kept intact, except that the symbol of the Ashoka Pillar replaced the image of King George VI's portrait.
    • In 1987, the Rs 500 note was introduced with the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi. The watermark continued to be the Lion Capital, Ashoka Pillar.
  • Mahatma Gandhi 1996 series
    • From 1996 onwards, all the banknotes bore the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi on the front, in place of the Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar.
    • The pillar image was moved to the left, next to the watermark window.
  • Mahatma Gandhi 2005 series
    • In the Mahatma Gandhi 2005 series, notes were issued in denominations of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500, and Rs 1,000.
    • They contain some additional features to the 1996 series notes.
  • Mahatma Gandhi 2016 series notes
    • According to RBI, these new notes highlight India's cultural heritage and scientific achievements.
    • Distinct colours were used for the different denominations, and sizes were reduced.
    • The first banknote from the new series — of Rs 2,000 denomination — was introduced on November 8, 2016, with the theme of Mangalyaan.
    • Subsequently, banknotes in this series in denominations of Rs 500, Rs 200, Rs 100, Rs 50, Rs 20, and Rs 10 were introduced.
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