Nov. 30, 2022

Mains Article
30 Nov 2022

Settling the language for cooperative federalism


  • The 11th volume of the Report of the Official Language Committee headed by Union Home Minister was submitted to President recently.
  • It has triggered angry reactions from the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, who have described the report as an attempt by the Union government to impose Hindi on non-Hindi-speaking states.

Committee of Parliament on Official Language

  • It was set up in 1976 under The Official Languages Act, 1963, on a resolution to that effect being moved in either House of Parliament with the previous sanction of the President and passed by both Houses.
  • The Committee is chaired by the Union Home Minister and has 30 members - 20 MPs from Lok Sabha and 10 MPs from Rajya Sabha.
  • It reviews the progress made in the use of Hindi for official purposes, and make recommendations to increase the use of Hindi in official communications.
  • The Committee submits its report to the President, who shall cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament, and sent to all the State Governments.
  • The first Report of the Committee was submitted in 1987.

Recommendations of the 11th volume of Report

  • Hindi as the medium of instruction in all technical and non-technical institutions: For example, in IITs, IIMs and central universities by replacing current English language, while the regional language should be used in states where official language is not Hindi.
  • The removal of English: As one of the languages in examinations held for recruitment to the Central services and ensuring requisite knowledge of Hindi among candidates.
  • The language of communication in the administration: In northern states it should be Hindi and bureaucrats will be evaluated on their use of the language in the annual appraisals.
    • The letters, emails, events organised by the government and its departments, will have to be in Hindi.
  • Judiciary: High Courts where proceedings are recorded in English or a regional language can make available translations in Hindi, since verdicts of High Court of other states are often cited in judgments.
  • Other recommendations:
    • To give elementary knowledge of Hindi to students up to 9th class and to pay more attention to Hindi teaching examination.
    • Republish the Hindi dictionary by revising it.
    • An Implementation Committee should be constituted to review the progress of recommendations of the 1st to 11th volume of the Official Language Committee report.

The States’ concerns: The report is divisive in character and puts non-Hindi speaking people in a disadvantageous position.

The Committee’s reply to the States’ concerns

  • The committee has clarified that its recommendations would exclude those states broadly outside the Hindi belt.
  • Also, states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala are exempted as per The Official Languages Act, 1963 and the law is implemented only in ‘A’ category states, in which the official language is Hindi, e.g., Bihar, Haryana, HP, MP, UP, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, etc.

Debate over official language in India

  • Constituent Assembly: The origin of the linguistic row goes back to the debate on official languages in the Constituent Assembly where Hindi was voted as the official language.
    • The Constitution makers then decided that for a period of 15 years (1950 to 1965), English will continue to be used for all official purposes of the Union along with Hindi.
    • But due to intense anti-Hindi agitations in the south, the President of India appointed first Official Language Commission in 1955 under the chairmanship of G. Kher.
    • The Centre later announced that English would continue to be used even after 1965.
  • Indian Constitution:
    • Part XVII of the Indian constitution makes elaborate provisions dealing with the official language in Articles 343 to 351.
    • Article 351: It imposes a duty upon the Centre to promote the spread of the Hindi so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
  • A private member’s bill to provide for 22 official languages: It was introduced in the Parliament in 2019 to give all 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution the stature of national official languages by amending Article 343 of the Constitution.
    • As per Article 343 of the Constitution, the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script.
  • 9th Official Language Committee Report: Submitted in 2011, it suggested increasing the use of Hindi in computers in government offices.

Arguments favouring Hindi as official language

  • Hindi as link language: The people of India who speak different languages should communicate with each other in an Indian language rather than the language which colonialism imposed (English).
  • Promote freedom ideals: Swabhasha (native language), Swadeshi (indigenous) and Swaraj (self-government) were the three foundations of Indian freedom movement. These 3 principles can be fully realised only by common native language.

Arguments against Hindi as official language

  • Limited speakers: The number of Hindi speakers in India is only around 44%, which includes speakers of mixed-Hindi languages such as Awadhi, Maithali, Bhojpuri, etc. Thus, imposing Hindi may be detrimental to national unity.
  • English is a global language: English is now accepted as the language of discourse across continents, and its colonial past is a matter of distant history.
  • Against federalism: The Indian Constitution leaves it to the States to choose its language for official purposes. Thus, imposing singular language may be detrimental for longer term political harmony implied in cooperative federalism.
  • Affect learning abilities: Imposition of Hindi language e.g., by removing English as one of the compulsory papers in recruitment exams can affect the learning abilities of non-Hindi speakers thereby affecting their self-confidence and future job opportunities.
  • Threatens plural identity: The committee suggestions imply to subsume linguistic diversity into linguistic uniformity.
  • Affect national integrity: The continued efforts to promoting Hindi in the name of 'one nation' will destroy the feeling of brotherhood of people of different languages and cultures and may be detrimental to the integrity of India.
  • English only a link language: Every language has its own specialty and uniqueness. Thus, English has been made as the link language to prevent the imposition of Hindi language.
  • Lack proper curriculum: Promoting Hindi in technical courses is difficult owing to implications and practicality in terms of the availability of standard books and course material, and of teachers qualified to communicate it adequately.


  • Hindi should be accepted with consent of all States, as an alternative to English (and not to regional languages).
  • All the regional languages recognized in the Eighth Schedule should be encouraged, developed and used as the official language of the Union. This will promote national integrity.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
30 Nov 2022

United Nations Development Programme to help waste segregation workers access government schemes

In News:

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the people working in the waste segregation industry in India to move into formal economy, by helping them access government welfare programmes.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About UNDP (Objective, Vision, Funding, etc.)
  • News Summary (UNDP’s Programme, Financial Inclusion of ‘Safai Sathis’, What is the need?)

 About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):

  • The UNDP is a United Nations agency tasked with helping countries eliminate poverty and achieve sustainable economic growth and human development.
  • UNDP was established in 1966 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
  • UNDP’s work is concentrated in three focus areas –
    • Sustainable development,
    • Democratic governance and peace building, and
    • Climate and disaster resilience.
  • Mission & Vision –
    • UNDP’s mandate is to end poverty, build democratic governance, rule of law, and inclusive institutions.
    • It advocates for change, and connect countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.
  • Funding – It is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from member nations.
  • Headquarters – New York, USA

Reports published by UNDP:

  • Human Development Index
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Gender Inequality Index 

News Summary:

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the people working in the waste segregation industry in India to move into formal economy, by helping them access government welfare programmes.
  • As part of the initiative, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General Usha Rao-Monari would distribute the `Jan Dhanaccount kits to waste segregation workers during her first visit to the country, on December 1.
  • The opening of the `Jan Dhan’ accounts has been facilitated through the UNDP’s plastic waste management programme.
  • The waste management promotes the collection, segregation, and recycling of all plastics to move towards a circular economy for the same.
  • This is done at ‘Swachhta Kendra’ or material recovery facilities.
    • The plastic collected and processed so far has already crossed 1,38,000 metric tonnes.

Financial Inclusion of ‘Safai Sathis’:

  • The programme run by UNDP aims to ensure the well-being and financial inclusion of the `Safai Sathis’ or waste-pickers, by linking them to the social protection schemes.
  • According to the UN agency, a key objective of the programme is to help move the sector from informal to formal.
  • The UNDP aims to do this by linking them to social protection schemes like the `Jan Dhanaccounts, Aadhar cards, `Ayushman Bharat’, pension schemes, and scholarships for children, among others.

Why financial inclusion is the need of the hour?

  • A baseline survey done by the UNDP earlier shows that the ‘Safai Sathis’ are employed mainly on the margins of the urban informal sector.
  • Their low income and job security are compounded by the fact that nearly 70% come from socially- backward groups and over 60% have no formal education.
  • More than 90% workers reported owning an Aadhar card but only a tiny subset have an income, caste, or occupation certificate.
  • This thwarts any attempts at formalising their work and limits their access to government social security schemes.
  • Less than 5% of those surveyed had any health insurance, indicating very high degrees of health-shock vulnerabilities.
Social Issues

Mains Article
30 Nov 2022

NITI Aayog proposes decarbonising of industrial emissions

In News:

  • According to a NITI Aayog’s report on the policy framework of the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), CCUS has a critical role to play for the country to halve CO2 emissions by 2050.
  • CCUS is a technology for decarbonising carbon dioxide (CO2) from high polluting sectors.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About CCUS
  • India’s efforts towards promoting CCUS
  • News Summary

Carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS):

  • About CCUS:
    • It is the process of capturing CO2 emissions and either using them to make things such as building materials (utilisation) or permanently storing them thousands of feet below the surface (storage).
  • Need:
    • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Global Warming of 1.5 °C report highlights that achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 isn’t possible without ambitious mitigation actions like CCUS.
  • Significance of CCUS:
    • Capturing CO2 helps reduce carbon emission intensity of industrial operations, while retaining the carbon neutrality (CO2 emissions = CO2 capture) of the production processes.
    • It is a critical component of meeting the global net-zero ambitions of the Paris Agreement.
  • Advantages of CCUS:
    • Safe transportation: CO2 is an inert gas that is not flammable. Smaller amounts of compressed CO2 can be transported on trucks, while larger amounts are often transported by pipes.
    • Safe storage: The CO2 is stored within rock formations over half a mile underground in depleted oil or gas fields or saline formations.
    • Safe reuse: Captured carbon can be put to many uses, from the manufacture of industrial materials (concrete, chemicals, biofuels, plastic and foam) to using CO2 for oil extraction or waste clean-up in alkaline industries.
  • Disadvantages of CCUS:
    • High cost of mechanisms used to implement CCUS: For example, carbon capture necessitates the creation of compounds capable of binding to CO2 in exhaust gas or the atmosphere, which is costly.
    • Less demand for recycled CO2: Converting CO2 for commercial use would provide economic value to this greenhouse gas. However, demand for CO2 is less than the vast amount of CO2 that must be removed from the atmosphere.

India’s efforts towards promoting CCUS:

  • Department of Science and Technology (DST) aims to nurture the area of Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage through emphasis on research and development and capacity building of both human resource as well as infrastructure.
  • Mission Innovation Challenge on CCUS (IC3): DST-Department of Biotechnology (DBT) had jointly launched the mission in 2018, to enable near-zero CO2 emissions from power plants and carbon-intensive industries.
  • Accelerating CCS Technologies (ACT): This initiative aims to facilitate R&D and innovation that can lead to development of safe and cost-effective CO2 capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies.
    • India has joined forces with France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the UK, and the US, etc., to achieve these objectives. 

News Summary - Highlights of the report:

  • Importance of CCUS for India
    • India’s per capita CO2 emissions were about 1.9 tonnes per annum, which was less than 40% of the global average and about one-fourth of that of China.
    • Industries such as steel, cement, oil, gas, petrochemicals, chemicals and fertilisers, have a critical role to play for the country to halve CO2 emissions by 2050.
    • Therefore, a sustainable solution for the decarbonisation of sectors that contribute to 70% of emission is needed.
    • CCUS has an important and critical role to play in it, especially for India to accomplish net-zero by 2070.
  • Impact on economy
    • The CCUS technology would help in promoting the low carbon-hydrogen economy and in removal of the CO2 stock from the atmosphere.
    • CCUS could enable the production of clean products while utilising rich endowments of coal, reducing imports and thus leading to a self-reliant India economy.
    • There will be an impact on the economy if value-added products such as green methanol, green ammonia can be produced from this captured CO2.
    • CCUS also has an important role to play in enabling sunrise sectors such as coal gasification and the nascent hydrogen economy in India.
  • Way forward
    • The key challenge would be to reduce the cost of the mechanisms to implement the technology.
    • To address this challenge, the focus should be on R&D, particularly on cutting edge technologies.
    • The key to a successful CCUS implementation in India was to enact a policy framework that supported the creation of sustainable and viable markets for CCUS projects. The policy should -
      • Establish early-stage financing and funding mechanisms for CCUS projects.
      • Promote the private sector through sufficient incentives.
      • Be carbon credits or incentives based, to promote the CCUS sector in India through tax and cash credits.
      • Over time (probably beyond 2050), the policy should transition to carbon taxes, to enable reaching India’s net zero goals by 2070.
Environment & Ecology

Mains Article
30 Nov 2022

RBI to pilot digital rupee for retail use from Dec 1

In News:

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s first pilot for a retail e-rupee, its version of the central bank digital currency (CBDC), will be launched on December 1.
  • The pilot will cover select locations in a closed user group comprising participating customers and merchants.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Central bank digital currency (CBDC) – About, India’s approach towards CBDC, rationale
  • News Summary

Central bank digital currency (CBDC)


  • CBDC is the legal tender issued by a central bank in a digital form.
    • The digital rupee (e-Rupee) is the digital currency launched by Reserve Bank of India.
  • It is the same as a fiat currency and is exchangeable one-to-one with the fiat currency, only its form is different.

India’s approach to CBDC

  • Budget 2022-23 announcements
    • In her 2022-23 Budget speech, the Finance Minister announced the launch of the Digital Rupee, the name of the CBDC in India, from 2022-23
      • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will issue these in 2022-23.
  • Regulatory Framework
    • Currently, there is no regulation or any ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country.
    • The Indian government is expected to introduce the Crypto currency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill.
      • It is expected to regulate the role of investment, transaction and use of private crypto currencies in the country, including working of CBDC.
  • Launch of Digital Rupee
    • Based on the usage and the functions performed by the digital rupee and considering the different levels of accessibility RBI has demarcated the digital rupee into two broad categories: general purpose (retail) and wholesale.
    • From November 1, 2022, RBI launched its first pilot project to use digital rupee in the wholesale market for secondary trade in government securities (G-secs).
      • Wholesale CBDC has the potential to transform the settlement systems for financial transactions undertaken by banks in the government securities (G-Sec) segment, inter-bank market and capital market more efficient and secure in terms of operational costs, use of collateral and liquidity management.
    • From December 1, retail digital rupee (e-R) pilot will be launched.
      • In effect, the retail e-rupee will be an electronic version of cash, and will be primarily meant for retail transactions.
      • It will be potentially available for use by all — the private sector, non-financial consumers and businesses.
      • It will be distributed through intermediaries, i.e., banks.
      • Transactions can be both person to person (P2P) and person to merchant (P2M) using QR codes displayed at merchant’s locations.
      • It will not earn any interest and can be converted to other forms of money, like deposits with banks.

Why RBI is launching e-Rupee?

  • The key motivations for exploring the issuance of CBDC include
    • Reduction in operational costs involved in physical cash management,
    • Fostering financial inclusion,
    • Bringing resilience, efficiency and innovation in the payments system.
  • It will add efficiency to the settlement system and boost innovation in cross-border payments space.
  • Introducing its own CBDC has been seen as a way to bridge the advantages and risks of digital currency.
    • Specially, concerns over money laundering, terror financing, tax evasion, etc. with private crypto currencies like Bitcoin, Ether, etc.
  • Being interoperable with other payment systems, it will complement existing techniques like UPI, thus completing the mobile payments ecosystem.

News Summary:

  • The RBI has announced that the retail digital rupee (e-R) pilot will launch on December 1 with four banks - State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, IDFC First Bank and Yes Bank.

Key highlights

  • The e-R would be in the form of a digital token that represents legal tender. It would be issued in the same denominations that paper currency and coins are currently issued.
  • Like in the case of paper currency, the digital rupee would be distributed through banks.
  • Users must use a digital wallet through a participating bank and store it on their mobile phone or device.
  • Payments to merchants can be made using QR codes displayed at merchant locations.
  • The pilot will test the robustness of the entire process of digital rupee creation, distribution and retail usage in real time.

Mains Article
30 Nov 2022

Safe flying: New SOP soon on 5G airwave infra around airports

In News:

  • The aviation and telecom departments will shortly roll out a plan to ensure safe flight operations around airports with 5G airwave infrastructure.
  • This is being done after India’s aviation regulator flagged concerns about interference that 5G signals could cause, potentially posing a challenge to safe airline operations.

What’s in today’s article:

  • News Summary

News Summary

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is currently preparing an operational guideline to ensure safe flight operations around airports with 5G airwave infrastructure.
  • The plan includes:
    • telecom companies setting up infrastructure powering 5G networks in the country away from the flight path around airports,
    • carrying low power signals in such areas and
    • a plan to upgrade the altimeter of all aircraft operating in the country by August 2023.

Concerns around 5G interference with flight operations

  • Concerns in India
    • In September, the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) wrote to the telecom department flagging concerns over the likely interference of 5G C-Band spectrum with aircraft radio altimeters.
      • A radio altimeter is an instrument that provides direct height-above-terrain information to various aircraft systems.
      • These altimeters as well as a part of the 5G telecom services operate in the mid C-Band frequency range.
      • 5G terrestrial signals typically operate at a very heavy power level compared to flight altimeters. This increases the possibility of interference.
    • Earlier this year, the 6,000-pilot-strong Federation of Indian Pilots had also written to the Civil Aviation Ministry raising similar concerns.
  • Similar concerns in US
    • So far, US aviation authorities have reported about 85 cases of 5G waves impacting flight operations near the airport.
    • In the US, an agreement between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the telecom operators resulted in a delay in rollout of 5G services in the C-Band near airports that were assessed to be difficult for pilots to make visual approaches.
      • Earlier this year, Air India had to cancel some of its flights to the US.
      • This was done amid concerns that the rollout of 5G mobile services in the US could potentially interfere with aircraft navigation systems.
      • Since then, the FAA has issued several directives to airlines to install certain filters or modify their equipment to ensure that 5G airwaves do not interfere with their navigation systems.
  • Concerns raised by other industries
    • With the guard band between the 5G telecom and broadcast services narrowing sharply, broadcasters have cited multiple incidents of disruptions.
      • A guard band is a narrow frequency range that separates two ranges of wider frequency.
      • This ensures that simultaneously used communication channels do not experience interference, which would result in decreased quality for both transmissions.
    • They raised concerns over possible interference and potential outages once full-scale 5G services are launched across the country.


  • C-band refers to the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum allotted for satellite transmissions in the 4GHz to 8GHz frequency range.
  • The C band is used for many satellite communications transmissions, some Wi-Fi devices, some cordless telephones, as well as some Radar and weather radar systems.
  • For telecom service providers, the C-Band presents a sweet spot for rolling out 5G services, ensuring coverage as well as high bandwidth, resulting in faster internet speeds.
  • For aircraft operations, the use of altimeters in this band ensures highly precise measurements of the plane’s altitude.
Science & Tech

Nov. 29, 2022

Mains Article
29 Nov 2022

Same-sex marriages: In India calls for looking beyond the binary are growing stronger


  • The article put emphasis upon expanding the institution of marriage to include all gender and sexual identities by legalizing same-sex marriage in India, thus paving way for widening constitutional rights on freedoms and liberties.
  • In India, marriages are solemnized under personal laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act 1955, Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872, Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937 etc., and same­ sex and queer marriages are not clearly recognized.


  • Apex court directive: The Supreme Court has sought the Government’s response to appeals for allowing same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act (SMA) 1954, in a bid to provide legal sanction to widening social customs.
    • The petition filed in SC argued that the SMA 1954 was “ultra vires” to the Constitution as it denies same-sex couples both “legal rights as well as the social recognition and status” that came from marriage.
    • The petitioners thus emphasized to make the 1954 Act gender-neutral which discriminates between ‘same-sex couples’ and ‘opposite-sex couples.’
  • About the SMA 1954: It provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law, thus validating and registering interreligious and inter-caste marriages in India.
    • It applies not only to all citizens of India but also all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of religion or faith followed by either party.
    • This Act includes Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists marriages.
  • Domain of marriages cannot be immune to reform and review:
    • For instance, Self­ respect marriages were legalised in Tamil Nadu in 1967 and subsequently, in Puducherry (1971) through amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
    • These are commonly conducted among those who are part of the Dravidian Movement, have done away with priests and religious symbols such as fire or saptapadi (seven steps or vows).
    • It is seen as a strong move towards breaking caste ­based practices within the institution of marriage.

Government’s stand

  • The Union government earlier in the Delhi High Court has remarked that the marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognised nor accepted in any personal laws or any codified statutory laws.
  • It said that as per SMA 1954, the marriage was permissible between a “biological man” and “biological woman”.
  • It also shed misconceptions around Navtej Singh Johar judgment by holding that it merely decriminalizes homosexuality and does not talk about marriage.
  • The government also argued against the urgency of the pleas in the background of the second wave of COVID­19 cases.

Indian judiciary’s take on same sex marriages

  • In 2019, the Madras HC ruled that a marriage solemnized between a male and a transwoman, both professing Hindu religion, is a valid marriage in terms of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and the Registrar of Marriages is bound to register the same.
    • It employed a conscious interpretation holding that the term ‘bride’ under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 includes transwomen and intersex persons identifying as women.
    • Thus, the judgment expanded the scope of a term used in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 in a progressive manner and set the stage for re­imagining marriage rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • Hadiya case (Shafin Jahan vs K.M Ashokan): In 2018, the SC of India removed Hadiya (earlier Akhila Ashokan) who had married Shafin Jahan and adopted Islam from the custody of her parents as it was against her will.
    • The court observed that the right to choose and marry a partner is a constitutionally guaranteed freedom and the intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy, which is inviolable and that society has no role to play in determining choice of partners.
  • Navtej Singh Johar judgment: In 2018, the five-judge SC Bench decriminalised homosexuality and unanimously held that the criminalisation of private consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was unconstitutional.
  • NALSA vs Union of India judgment: The SC in 2014 held that non-binary individuals (gender-queer) were protected under the Constitution and fundamental rights such as equality, non-discrimination, life, freedom and so on could not be restricted to those who were biologically male or female.

Logical interpretation of above cases

  • Any legal or statutory bar to same­ sex and queer marriages must necessarily be held to be unconstitutional and specifically violative of Articles 14 ( Right to equality), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination on certain grounds) and 21 (Right to life) of the Constitution of India.
  • Thus, no longer can the position of the Union Government that marriage is a bond between “a biological man and a biological woman” be acceptable.

International jurisprudence

  • A total of 32 countries around the world have legalised same-sex marriages, some through legislation while others through judicial pronouncements.
  • Few are mentioned below as follows:
    • Netherlands: It was the first country in 2001 to legalise same-sex marriage by amending its civil marriage law.
    • South Africa: In 2005, the Constitutional Court of South Africa unanimously held that the common law definition of marriage i.e., “a union of one man with one woman” was inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
    • Australia: The Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws General Law Reform) Act was enacted in 2008 to provide equal entitlements for same-sex couples in matters of social security, employment and taxation.
    • England and Wales: The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 enabled same-sex couples to marry in civil ceremonies or with religious rites.
    • USA: In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same­sex couples and treated on a par with opposite­ sex marriages.


  • The last two decades have witnessed tremendous progress in establishing civil rights for the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • As international and domestic laws ease in expanding human rights, the provision of marriage rights to same­ sex and queer couples is only a matter of time.
  • Hence, India should think beyond the binary, understand the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community and review its existing legal architecture in order to expand the institution of marriage irrespective of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
29 Nov 2022

Integrating tribal knowledge systems is key to making India a ‘knowledge superpower’, says President Droupadi Murmu

 In News:

  • President Droupadi Murmu addressed a National Workshop on ‘Janjatiya Anusandhan – Asmita, Astitva evam Vikas’, held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Scheduled Tribes in India (Statistics, Criteria, Constitutional provisions, Programmes, etc.)
  • News Summary (President’s Address)

Scheduled Tribes in India:

  • According to the 2011 Census, the Scheduled Tribes account for 104 million representing 8.6% of the country’s population.
  • These Scheduled Tribes are spread throughout the country largely in forest and hilly regions.
  • The essential characteristics of these communities are:
    • Primitive Traits; Geographical isolation; Distinct culture; Shy of contact with community at large; Economically backwards.
  • Government of India set up Ministry of Tribal Affairs in 1999 after the bifurcation of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • As in the case of the Scheduled Castes, the Plan objective of empowering the tribals is being achieved through a three-pronged strategy of:
    • Social empowerment,
    • Economic empowerment &
    • Social justice

What are the constitutional provisions for tribals in the country?

  • Basic safeguards provided in the Constitution:
    • Educational & Cultural safeguards:
      • Art. 15(4): Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes (it includes STs);
      • Art. 29: Protection of Interests of Minorities (it includes STs);
      • Art. 46: The State shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation;
      • Art. 350: Right to conserve distinct Language, Script or Culture;
      • Art. 350: Instruction in Mother Tongue.
    • Social safeguards:
      • Art. 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar form of forced labour;
      • Art. 24: Forbidding Child Labour.
    • Economic safeguards:
      • Art.244: Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule;
      • Art. 275: Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.
    • Political safeguards:
      • Art. 330: Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;
      • Art. 337: Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;
      • Art. 334: 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period.);
      • Art. 243: Reservation of seats in Panchayats;
      • Art. 371: Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim.

Article 342 of the Constitution:

  • Under Article 342(1), the President may with respect to any State/Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities.
    • The list of Scheduled Tribes is State/UT specific and a community declared as a Scheduled Tribe in a State need not be so in another State.
  • Under Article 342(2), Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community.

Special Programmes & Enactments:

  • Successive Union governments have enacted progressive legislation, programmes and schemes for development and empowerment of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights Act, 2016).
  • The provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, Minor Forest Produce Act, 2005 and the Tribal Sub-Plan strategy are focused on the socio-economic empowerment of Scheduled Tribes.

News Summary:

  • Addressing the gathering, the President said that blending of technology and traditions, modernity and culture is the need of the hour. We must be ready to lead the world with the power of knowledge.
  • The promotion and development of knowledge of tribal society would play an important role in making India a knowledge superpower.
  • She expressed confidence that the people of the tribal society, writers, researchers, would make an invaluable contribution to the development of the tribal society with their thoughts, works and research.
  • Pointing to the fact that the population of Scheduled Tribes in our country is more than 10 crore, the President said that to ensure the benefits of development reach to all of them and at the same time, their cultural identity remains intact, is the challenge before us.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
29 Nov 2022

SARAS 3 telescope throws light on the nature of early stars and galaxies

In News:

  • SARAS 3, a radio telescope designed and built at the Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru, has revealed information about the origins of the Universe's first stars and galaxies. 

What’s in today’s article:

  • About radio telescope
  • About SARAS 3
  • News Summary

About Radio telescope:

  • Optical telescopes collect visible light, bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis by various instruments.
  • Similarly, radio telescopes collect weak radio light waves (usually referred to by its frequency), bring it to a focus, amplify it and make it available for analysis.
  • Radio telescopes are used to study naturally occurring radio light from stars, galaxies, black holes and other astronomical objects.
  • They can also be used to transmit and reflect radio light off of planetary bodies in our solar system.
    • Naturally occurring radio waves are extremely weak by the time they reach earth from space.
    • Therefore, detecting the signal even using the most powerful existing radio telescopes, has remained a challenge for astronomers.
  • These specially-designed telescopes observe the longest wavelengths of light, ranging from 1 millimeter to over 10 meters long (visible light waves only a few hundred nanometers long).

About Shaped Antenna measurement of the background Radio Spectrum 3 (SARAS) telescope:

  • Experiment and science:
    • SARAS is a niche high-risk high-gain experimental effort to design, build and deploy in India a precision radio telescope.
    • The CMB Distortion Laboratory at RRI has pioneered the development of state-of-the-art radio telescopes which are designed to detect signals of high wavelength and low frequency.
  • Latest unique deployment over water:
    • In 2020, the radio telescope was deployed in lakes in Northern Karnataka, on Dandiganahalli Lake and Sharavati backwaters by the RRI.
    • This intelligent design substantially enhanced telescope performance and had never been conceived of in the world.
    • This helped provide a homogenous medium below the antenna improving sensitivity and reducing confusing radio waves emitted by the very ground beneath radio telescopes.
  • Significance of SARAS 3 telescope: It is indeed the first experiment to reach the required sensitivity and cross-verify the claim of the signal detection.

News Summary:

  • Researchers from RRI, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, etc., used data from SARAS-3 to throw light on the energy output, luminosity and masses of the first generation of galaxies.
  • Scientists study properties of very early galaxies by observing radiation from hydrogen atoms in and around galaxies, emitted at a frequency of approximately 1420 MHz
  • The radiation is stretched by the expansion of the universe, as it travels across space and time and arrives at Earth in lower frequency radio bands 50-200 MHz, also used by FM and TV transmissions.
  • According to the RRI, in a first-of-its-kind work, using data from an Indian telescope, scientists have determined properties of radio luminous galaxies formed just 200 million years after the Big Bang, a period known as the Cosmic Dawn.
  • SARAS 3 has improved the understanding of astrophysics of Cosmic Dawn. It has shown that less than 3% of the gaseous matter within early galaxies was converted into stars, and that the earliest galaxies that were bright in radio emission were also strong in X-rays.
  • Earlier the SARAS-3 team used the same data to reject claims of the detection of a signal from Cosmic Dawn made by the EDGES radio telescope developed by researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) and MIT, USA.
  • SARAS-3 has been able to put an upper limit to excess radiation at radio wavelengths, lowering existing limits set by the ARCADE and Long Wavelength Array (LWA) experiments in the US.


Science & Tech

Mains Article
29 Nov 2022

SC: Collegium system law of the land, govt has to follow it

In News:

  • Recently, the Supreme Court made it clear that the collegium system for appointment of judges is the law of the land and the Centre would have to follow it till it is replaced or changed.
  • It observed that the bitter failure of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) cannot give reasons to the government to take on the judiciary by delaying Collegium recommendations.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Collegium system
  • National Judicial Appointments Commission
  • News Summary

Collegium System

  • The current collegium system has evolved over a period of time through the judicial pronouncements. These cases have been mentioned as below:
    • First Judges Case (1982)
      • SC held that consultation does not mean concurrence
      • Gave Primacy to Executive.
    • Second Judges Case (1993)
      • Court reversed its earlier ruling by changing the meaning of consultation to concurrence.
      • Advice tendered by CJI is binding.
      • CJI would take into account the views of two of his senior most colleagues.
    • Third Judges Case (1998)
      • Court gave primacy to the opinion of CJI in the matter of appointment of Judges
      • However, Chief Justice must consult four senior most judges of SC.
      • Opinion of all members of the collegium should be in writing.
      • If the majority of the collegium is against the appointment of a particular person that person shall not be appointed.

National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

  • The NJAC Act, 2014 was enacted to regulate the procedure to be followed for recommending names for appointment as Chief Justice of India and other judges of Supreme Court and Chief Justices and judges of High Courts and for their transfers.
  • The commission was established by the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014.
  • The Act proposed that the members of NJAC would be composed of members from the legislative, judicial, and civil society. 
  • However, in October 2015, Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional an amendment to the Constitution establishing the NJAC.
    • The five-judge bench struck down the NJAC Act along with the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act in a 4:1 ratio.

Rational Behind Bringing NJAC:

  • The NJAC amended the Constitution, so the second judges case that created the collegium is irrelevant because the Constitution is now different from what it was back then.
  • The NJAC is good for democracy (which is also a basic feature of the Constitution) and requires that no organ of the state, including the judiciary, enjoys absolute freedom.
  • Judicial appointments “must be seen both in the context of independence of the judiciary as also the need for checks and balances on it".
  • The NJAC Act involves a smooth and transparent process for the appointment of judges.
    • Collegium system’s opaqueness was blatantly expressed as the proceedings of the collegium are inaccessible to the public and, therefore, it lacks transparency.
  • The executives with administrative machinery are seen as capable of making enormous and valuable contributions to the selection process.

Why unconstitutional:

  • The involvement of the legislature in the appointment of judges might lead to the creation of a culture of ‘reciprocity.’
  • The future judges appointed under NJAC cannot be expected to be independent-minded.
    • The Union Law Minister is the member of the commission responsible for their appointment.
  • The NJAC Act would compromise the principle of independence of the judiciary guaranteed under the existing collegium system.
    • The basic structure of the Constitution enshrines that the judiciary is solely responsible for the appointment of judges.
  • The NJAC Act provides arbitrary power to legislatives and executives to appoint two eminent personalities into the NJAC body.
  • The applicability of veto power by the two eminent personalities was speculated to be biased.

News Summary:

  • The Supreme Court linked the failure of the NJAC to the government’s willingness to indirectly take on the judiciary by delaying Collegium recommendations.
  • The top court expressed anguish over the Centre not clearing names recommended by the collegium.
    • It said some names are pending with the government for a year and half.
    • Government sometimes picks just one name from among those recommended by the Collegium and thereby completely disturbing the seniority.
  • The SC also pointed out that its 2021 verdict setting a timeframe for authorities involved in the appointment process was not being followed.
    • In its order, the apex court had said that the Centre must make the appointment immediately or it can send the recommendation back for reconsideration.
    • If the names are reiterated then they should be appointed within 3-4 weeks.
      • There was no timeline prescribed for the Centre to forward recommendations, resulting in inordinate delays in appointment of judges.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
29 Nov 2022

How FIFA is using SAOT for offside decisions

In News:

  • In the opening match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 between host Qatar and Ecuador, the first goal of the tournament was ruled out for offside within a quick span of time.
  • FIFA’s brand new Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT) was responsible for this quick decision.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Offside rule
  • Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT)

Offside rule

  • An attacking player is considered to be in an offside position if:
    • any part of their body - except hands and arms - is in the opposing team's half; and
    • there's no opposing player between attacking player and the goalkeeper before the ball is played forward.
  • Being in an offside position is not an offence in itself.
  • However, the moment the player in the offside position plays the ball or attempts to play the ball, then it will be seen as actively involved in play and that is when the offence occurs.
  • When a player is flagged, the only sanction is that the ball is given to your opponents to restart play in the form of a free kick in their own half of the pitch.

Semi-Automated Offside Technology (SAOT)

  • SAOT is a support tool for the video match officials and the on-field officials to help them make faster, more reproducible and more accurate offside decisions.
  • FIFA had announced that semi-automated offside technology will be used at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar starting on 21 November.

Technologies used in SAOT

  • There are two parts to the technology:
    • a sensor inside the match ball (Adidas’s Al Rihla) that is held using suspension technology, and
    • existing tracking tools that are part of the VAR system.
      • Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology was first introduced in Russia in 2018.


  • The new technology uses 12 dedicated tracking cameras mounted underneath the roof of the stadium to track the ball and up to 29 data points of each individual player, 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch.
  • The 29 collected data points include all limbs and extremities that are relevant for making offside calls.
  • Al Rihla, adidas’ official match ball for Qatar 2022, will provide a further vital element for the detection of tight offside incidents as an inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor will be placed inside the ball.
    • This sensor, positioned in the centre of the ball, sends ball data to the video operation room 500 times per second, allowing a very precise detection of the kick point.
  • By combining the limb- and ball-tracking data and applying artificial intelligence, the new technology provides an automated offside alert to the video match officials.
  • Hence, the coming together of the ball sensor and the Hawk-Eye cameras is in effect SAOT, which FIFA says allows for decisions that are highly accurate and quick.

Other possible uses of SAOT

  • Experts believe offside decision-making is just the starting point and the wealth of tracking data will soon be used by coaches for tactical analyses and gauging individual athlete performances.
  • The metrics can also be useful for scouting good players.
  • SAOT is expected to aid such statistical thinking and data mining in football.
Science & Tech

Nov. 28, 2022

Mains Article
28 Nov 2022

Fury's Ground Xiro: Xi’s zero-Covid policy has angered ordinary Chinese as never before

Context: The article examines the reasons for the recent mass protests in China and sheds light on China's dynamic zero-COVID-19 strategy.

About China’s "dynamic zero-COVID-19" strategy

  • As vast swathes of China got infected with more transmissible Covid variants, the measures to tackle them also became harsher.
  • The dynamic zero-COVID-19 policy calls for mass testing, lockdowns and quarantining of close contacts to eliminate outbreaks in the shortest possible time.
  • It involves various steps as follows:
    • The government regulates the entry and exit of non-residents to prevent transmission of infections from outside.
    • In case of an outbreak, there is a localized lockdown followed by free and universal testing. All those infected in the cluster are institutionally treated free of cost.
      • During this localized lockdown, essential needs such as food and healthcare are met through a dedicated and trained team of activists.
    • Universal masking and universal and free vaccination are undertaken.
  • Positive impact of the policy:
    • The outbreaks are quickly controlled, number of deaths decreased significantly and the duration of localized lockdowns become relatively short.
    • By rapidly eliminating infections prevents the rise of new variants that may prolong the pandemic and is thus socially optimal.
  • Criticism: As per the reports, 33 cities and an estimated 65 million people in China were under lockdown from September 2022.

Reasons for protests in China

  • Harsher measures to contain Covid infection:
    • Internal travel within China has become a risky exercise, with each city having its own health code app and internal quarantine rules.
    • The residents also have to take a PCR test every 72 hours, without which they cannot access schools, hospitals, offices or public transport.
    • Also, for the first time since the Mao era, the Chinese people need government permission to renew passports and leave the country.
  • Bureaucracy possessing excessive powers: A new pandemic-centred bureaucracy has gained control over local-level governance in China and official power is at its highest in decades.
    • For instance, the local-level officials and neighbourhood committees in China have gained power to indefinitely confine residents in their homes or to close businesses by citing the pandemic.
    • Other examples of excessive state power include welding doors shut to prevent people from leaving.
  • Misuse of power: The provincial authorities in China are being found accused of tampering with citizen apps to prevent them from gathering.
    • For example, people converged at a train station in Zhengzhou province recently to protest against a financial fraud found their health codes turned red by tinkering data which meant immediate quarantine.
    • Also recently in Zhengzhou's Foxconn iPhone factory, workers scaled walls and jumped fences to escape amid rumours that they were to be a part of a "Covid experiment camp" to see whether they survived or died.
  • Economic slowdown: Uncertainty over lockdowns has weakened business sentiment in the face of an already impending property market, which is a keystone of growth in China. For example, in the second quarter of 2022, China’s economy grew only by 0.4%.

WHO’s warning: The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently has severely criticized China’s much-touted dynamic zero COVID policy and termed it unsustainable in view of the constantly changing behaviour of the coronavirus and called on Beijing to change its strategy.

Despite protests why China continuing with "dynamic zero-Covid” policy

  • Initial successes: Within China, through 2020 and 2021, the zero-COVID strategy was widely popular as it ensured a degree of normal life and saved thousands of lives while the rest of the world was dealing with waves of deaths and lockdowns.
    • Also, China largely emerged from the pandemic’s first wave in 2020 quicker than most nations, with its stringent lockdowns and bans on international travel paying dividends.
    • This resulted in resumption of manufacturing activities, also flourishing China’s exports.
  • Changed circumstances: Today, as China is confronting more transmissible variants, the ‘test and trace’ strategy of zero-COVID has struggled.
  • Failed narrative: Chinese president Xi Jinping had put his faith in a "China Dream", built by the Chinese themselves against Covid.
    • However, the efficacy of indigenously-made Chinese vaccines using an older, inactivated virus remained poor leading to massively rising Covid cases across China.


  • In 2020, there was widespread support for Xi's battle cry of "people's war" against Covid. However, it was undone by arbitrary, exaggerated interpretation of "zero-Covid."
  • Though China has spent an estimated $240 billion (1.5% of GDP) on Covid testing, the risk for the Chinese state and President Xi is that the people's protest against the state grows more intense than the fight against Covid.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
28 Nov 2022

What is bluebugging and how is it used to hack Bluetooth-enabled devices?

In News:

  • Several smartphones have their Bluetooth settings on discovery mode as it is a default setting, making it easy for hackers to access the phones when they are within 10 metres from the device.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Background
  • About Bluebugging (Meaning, Working, Prevention techniques, etc.)


  • Cybersecurity experts note that apps that let users connect smartphones or laptops to wireless earplugs can record conversations, and are vulnerable to hacks.
    • Even the most secure smartphones like iPhones are vulnerable to such attacks.
  • Any app with access to Bluetooth can record users’ conversations with Siri and audio from the iOS keyboard dictation feature when using AirPods or Beats headsets, some app developers say.
  • Through a process called bluebugging, a hacker can gain unauthorised access to these apps and devices and control them as per their wish.

What is Bluebugging?

  • It is a form of hacking that lets attackers access a device through its discoverable Bluetooth connection.
  • Once a device or phone is bluebugged, a hacker can listen to the calls, read and send messages and steal and modify contacts.
  • It started out as a threat for laptops with Bluetooth capability. Later hackers used the technique to target mobile phones and other devices.
  • It is a process of exploiting a loophole in the Bluetooth Protocol, enabling the hacker to download phone books and call lists from the attacked user’s phone.


  • Bluebugging attacks work by exploiting Bluetooth-enabled devices.
  • The device’s Bluetooth must be in discoverable mode, which is the default setting on most devices.
  • The hacker then tries to pair with the device via Bluetooth. Once a connection is established, hackers can use brute force attacks to bypass authentication.
  • They can install malware in the compromised device to gain unauthorised access to it.
  • Bluebugging can happen whenever a Bluetooth enabled device is within a 10-metre radius of the hacker.

Which devices are more susceptible to such attacks?

  • Any Bluetooth-enabled device can be bluebugged.
  • Wireless earbuds are susceptible to such hacks. Apps that enable users to connect to their TWS (True Wireless Stereo) devices or earbuds can record conversations.
  • The apps of these TWS devices can record conversations.
  • Once hacked, the attacker can make and listen to calls, read and send messages, and modify or steal your contacts

Prevention Techniques:

  • Turning off Bluetooth and disconnecting paired Bluetooth devices when not in use,
  • Updating the device’s system software to the latest version,
  • Limited use of public Wi-Fi and
  • Using VPN as an additional security measure.
Science & Tech

Mains Article
28 Nov 2022

Eye on clean energy, government aims to build small modular N-reactors

In News:

  • Recognising the critical role of nuclear power in India's clean energy transition, the Dept of Atomic Energy (DAE) recently announced that the country is taking steps to develop small modular reactors (SMR).
  • With capacities of up to 300 MW, SMR may not only be less expensive but also simpler and safer than large nuclear plants.

 What’s in today’s article:

  • About the SMRs
  • News Summary

The Small modular reactors (SMRs):


  • They are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors.
  • SMRs, which can produce a large amount of low-carbon electricity, are:
    • Small: Means they are physically a fraction of the size of a conventional nuclear power reactor.
    • Modular: Being mobile and agile technology, it makes it possible for systems and components to be factory-assembled and transported as a unit to a location for installation.
    • Reactors: Which harnesses nuclear fission to generate heat to produce energy.


  • They can be manufactured off-site - factory-built and can significantly save construction time, unlike the conventional nuclear reactors that are built on-site.
  • This can contribute to reduced build-running costs and increased efficiency.
  • SMRs have better control, generating less electricity when demand is down and are particularly useful for power generation in remote locations.
    • Remote areas frequently have variable power generation requirements, however, large conventional reactors are generally inflexible in terms of power generation capability.
  • SMRs are designed to require lesser fuel and fewer staff for location assembly, maintenance and operation.
  • SMRs and sustainable development goals (SDGs):
    • SMRs offer unique attributes in terms of efficiency, economics and flexibility, enabling them to play a key role in the clean energy transition, while also helping countries address the SDGs (SDG 7 - To achieve the target of universal access to energy).
    • For example, SMRs could be paired with and increase the efficiency of renewable sources in a hybrid energy system.


  • Lack of development: They do not currently exist as reactors for power generation.
  • Cost-effectiveness depends on production: Large-scale production of SMRs is required to achieve its economic benefits.
  • Licensing issues: Historically, the licensing process was developed for large commercial reactors and the licensing process for new reactor designs is a lengthy and costly process.

 News Summary:

  • Addressing a workshop on SMR, organised by government think tank Niti Aayog and DAE, Minister of State DAE said -
    • The country has already taken steps for clean energy transition with penetration of non-fossil-based energy resources to achieve net-zero emission by 2070.
    • India has made bold climate commitments which are reflected in the country's updated 'nationally determined contributions' (NDCs) - climate action targets - under the Paris Agreement.
    • Nuclear power in terms of base load power can play a big role in the decarbonisation strategy.
  • SMRs is a promising technology in industrial de-carbonisation, especially where there is a requirement of reliable and continuous supply of power.
  • India has technological capabilities to develop such critical technology, as it operates a diversified fleet of reactors with different technologies.
  • The private sector and start-ups need to explore development of this critical technology within India.
Environment & Ecology

Mains Article
28 Nov 2022

Small is good: Mudra loan NPAs at just 3.3% in 7 years

In News:

  • An RTI enquiry revealed that bad loans under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana for all banks since the launch of the scheme, added up to Rs 46,053.39 crore as on June 30, 2022.
  • This is just 3.38 per cent of the total disbursements of Rs 13.64 lakh crore under the scheme during the period.

What’s in Today’s Article

  • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana – About, Features, Performance so far
  • News Summary


  • The Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency (MUDRA) was launched on April 8, 2015 to provide loans up to Rs 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm, small and micro enterprises.
  • MUDRA loans are extended by banks, NBFCs, MFIs and other eligible financial intermediaries as notified by MUDRA Ltd.
  • The overdraft amount of Rs 5000 sanctioned under PMJDY has been also classified as MUDRA loans under Prime Minister MUDRA Yojana (PMMY).
  • The MUDRA loans are extended under following three categories:
    • Loans upto ` 50,000/- (Shishu)
    • Loans from ` 50,001 to ` 5 lakh (Kishore)
    • Loans from ` 5,00,001/- to ` 10 lakh (Tarun)
  • With an objective to promote entrepreneurship among the new generation aspiring youth, it is ensured that more focus is given to Sishu category loans followed by Kishore and Tarun categories.


  • Eligible borrowers: Individuals/ Proprietary concern/ Partnership Firm/ Private Ltd. Company/ Public Company Any other legal forms.
  • Purpose: Need based term loan/OD limit/composite loan to eligible borrowers for acquiring capital assets and/or working capital/marketing related requirements.
  • Security: In terms of RBI guidelines, banks are mandated not to accept collateral security in the case of loans upto Rs 10 lakh extended to units in the Micro Small Enterprises (MSE) Sector.
  • Financial Inclusion: Banking the UnbankedSecuring the Unsecuredand Funding the Unfunded are being achieved through leveraging technology and adopting multi-stakeholders’ collaborative approach.
  • Tenor: MUDRA loan can be availed for 5 years or maximum 7 years.

 Performance so far

  • More than 34.42 crore loans for an amount of Rs 18.60 lakh crore have been sanctioned since launch of the scheme (as on 25.03.2022).
  • Approximately 22% of the total loans have been sanctioned to New Entrepreneurs.
  • Approximate 68% loans of the total number of loans have been sanctioned to Women Entrepreneurs

News summary

  • The data obtained under the Right to Information Act revealed that non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks for Mudra loans – including those extended during the Covid-19 pandemic are lower than the average NPAs of the sector as a whole.
  • The gross NPAs of the banking sector as a whole stood at 5.97 per cent for the year-ending March 31, 2022.
    • A non-performing asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days.
  • The NPAs for Shishu loans were the lowest at 2.25 per cent of disbursements and the highest for Kishore loans at 4.49 per cent. For Tarun loans bad loans were 2.29 per cent of disbursements.



Mains Article
28 Nov 2022

Egypt President to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations

In News:

  • As per the Ministry of External Affairs, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi will be the chief guest at the Republic Day in January 2023.
    • This is the first time that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be the Chief Guest at our Republic Day.
  • Sisi will be the first such guest since 2020, as plans for guests in 2021 and 2022 were cancelled due to COVID-19.

What’s in today’s article:

  • India – Egypt Bilateral Relation

India – Egypt Bilateral Relation


  • India and Egypt, two of the world’s oldest civilizations, have enjoyed a history of close contact from ancient times.
  • Ashoka’s edicts refer to his relations with Egypt under Ptolemy-II.
  • In modern times, the relationship between the countries flourished under President Nasser and Prime Minister Nehru, which were close friends.
  • Both countries had signed a Friendship Treaty between in 1955.

Political Relations

  • Both countries have cooperated closely in multilateral fora and were the founding members of Non-Aligned Movement.
  • The year 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relation between India and Egypt.
  • Egypt has been invited as a 'Guest Country' during India's Presidency of G20 in 2022-23.

Economic Relations

  • Bilateral trade
    • Egypt has traditionally been one of India’s most important trading partners in the African continent.
    • The India-Egypt Bilateral Trade Agreement has been in operation since March 1978 and is based on the Most Favoured Nation clause.
    • Bilateral trade has expanded rapidly in 2021-22, amounting to 7.26 billion registering a 75% increase compared to FY 2020-21.
      • India’s exports to Egypt during this period amounted to US$ 3.74 billion, registering a 65% increase over the same period in FY 2020-21.
      • At the same time, Egypt’s exports to India reached US$ 3.52 billion registering an 86% increase.
    • During this period, India was 3rd largest export market for Egypt, 6th largest trading partner and 7th largest exporter to Egypt.
  • Investment
    • Around 50 Indian companies have invested in various sectors in Egypt with a combined investment exceeding US$ 3.15 billion.
      • In July 2022, Egypt signed a MoU with India’s ReNew Power for $8 billion to build a clean hydrogen facility in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.
      • The Indian entity, backed by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Goldman Sachs, is expected to produce 2,20,000 tonnes of clean fuel annually at the Egyptian facility.
    • Egyptian investments in India are to the tune of US$ 37 million.
  • Grant-in-aid projects include:
    • Pan Africa Tele-medicine and Tele-education project in Alexandria University,
    • Solar electrification project in Agaween village
    • Vocational Training Centre for textile technology in Shoubra, Cairo.

Wheat export from India

  • Russia-Ukraine conflict has threatened Egypt with a shortage for wheat, 80% of which is imported from Russia and Ukraine.
  • In April 2022, Egypt announced inclusion of India in the list of accredited countries which can supply wheat to Egypt, thus ending a long pending Non-Tariff Barrier.
  • Though the ban on wheat exports in India posed a difficulty in concluding the shipment, an initial shipment of 61,500 metric tons of wheat was cleared by India for Egypt in May 2022.

Defence Relations

  • Courses
    • Both sides offer courses on a regular basis, in which Egyptian officers are given training in India and Indian defense officers are trained in Egypt.
  • Exercises
    • Egypt participated in the Multinational Training Exercise for friendly African countries held at Pune in March 2019.
    • The first ever IAF-EAF Joint Tactical Air Exercise, Dessert Warrior, was held in October 2021.
    • The first ever Special Forces exercise “Cyclone 1” between India and Egypt planned in Jodhpur in January 2022 stands postponed.
  • Egypt has shown interest in acquiring arms produced by India, including the Akash missile systems capable of intercepting hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km.

Indian Community

  • At present, the Indian community in Egypt numbers at around 3200, most of whom are concentrated in Cairo.
  • There are also a small number of families in Alexandria, Port Said and Ismailia.
  • About 400 Indian students are studying in Egypt, mainly in Al Azhar University with around 275 students, and the rest in Ain Shams Medical University (around 80 students) and Cairo University.
International Relations

Nov. 27, 2022

Mains Article
27 Nov 2022

Adani’s ‘open offer’ route to take control of NDTV: what is it, and how does it work?

In News:

  • Recently, the Adani Group announced it would launch an open offer as required by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to buy another 26 per cent in in television channel NDTV Ltd.


  • On August 23, the group, a conglomerate with diverse business interests, acquired 29.18 per cent stake in the television channel.
  • On November 22, the Adani Group launched its open offer to acquire an additional 26 per cent stake in NDTV.
  • The offer will remain open until December 5, 2022.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About Open Offer (Meaning, Purpose, when it is triggered, etc.)
  • About SEBI (Functions, Powers) 

What is an Open Offer?

  • According to the SEBI Rules, an open offer is made by a company that is acquiring shares (in this case, Adani) to the shareholders of the target company (NDTV), inviting them to sell their shares at a particular price.
  • Purpose – To provide an exit option to the company’s existing shareholders since there is a change in control or substantial acquisition of shares.
  • So, in the case of NDTV, as Adani Group has emerged as a large shareholder with 29.18 per cent shareholding and is likely to change the control structure of the company, it has to make an open offer to buy another 26 per cent stake so that minority shareholders willing to exit the company may tender their shares.

When is an Open Offer triggered?

  • An open offer is triggered if an acquirer holds more than 25 per cent of the public shareholding in the company.
  • Prior to 2011, when the new takeover norms kicked in, an open offer got triggered if an acquirer owned more than 15 per cent of the public shareholding in a company.

What happens after the Open Offer?

  • If the Adani Group manages to get the required 26 per cent stake, the group’s total stake will go up to 55.18 per cent, enabling it to take management control of the target company (NDTV).
  • The acquirer will be able to bring in their own key management persons. If the Adanis fail to get a 50 per cent stake, they have the option to buy shares from other institutional investors.
  • The Adanis may have to raise the offer price to get the required majority. 

About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):

  • The SEBI is a statutory regulatory body established by the Government of India in 1992. It was given statutory powers through the SEBI Act, 1992.
  • Objective: To regulate the securities market in India and protect the interests of investors in securities.

Why was SEBI formed?

  • SEBI was established to keep a check on unfair and malpractices and protect the investors from such malpractices.
  • The organization was created to meet the requirements of the following three groups:
    • Issuers: SEBI works toward providing a marketplace to the investors where they can efficiently and fairly raise their funds.
    • Intermediaries: SEBI works towards providing a professional and competitive market to the intermediaries.
    • Investors: SEBI protects and supplies accurate information to investors.

Powers of SEBI:

  • Quasi-judicial powers – 
    • In case of frauds and unethical practices pertaining to the securities market, SEBI has the power to pass judgments.
    • The said power facilitates to maintain transparency, accountability and fairness in the securities market.
  • Quasi-executive powers –
    • SEBI has the power to examine the Book of Accounts and other vital documents to identify or gather evidence against violations.
    • If it finds one violating the regulations, the regulatory body has the power to impose rules, pass judgements and take legal actions against violators.
  • Quasi-legislative powers –
    • To protect the interest of investors, the authoritative body has been entrusted with the power to formulate suitable rules and regulations.
    • Such rules tend to encompass the listing obligations, insider trading regulations and essential disclosure requirements.
    • The body formulates such rules and regulation to get rid of malpractices that are prevalent in the securities market.

Mains Article
27 Nov 2022

PSLV-C54 successfully places earth observation satellite, 8 nano satellites in orbit

In News:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched 9 satellites, including an Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-06), into multiple orbits using the space agency's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C54) in one of its longest missions.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About the mission
  • The India-Bhutan Satellite
  • Future missions ISRO is planning 

About the mission:  

  • Launch vehicle: PSLV: This is the 56th flight of the PSLV and the 24th flight of the PSLV-XL version that took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR, Sriharikota.
    • The PSLV is an expendable medium-lift launch vehicle designed and operated by the ISRO.
    • It was developed in 1993 to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits.
      • PSLV can also launch small size satellites into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO).
    • Some notable payloads launched by PSLV include India's first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, India's first interplanetary mission - Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) and India's first space observatory - Astrosat.
    • PSLV-XL is the upgraded version of PSLV which uses larger strap-on motors (PSOM-XL or S12) to achieve higher payload capability up to 1,800 kg (4,000 lb) to Sun-synchronous orbit.
  • Satellites:
    • The 8 nano satellites:
      • It includes ISRO Nano Satellite-2 for Bhutan (INS-2B), Anand, Astrocast (four satellites) and two Thybolt satellites.
    • EOS-6:
      • It is the Oceansat series’ 3rd-generation satellite envisaged to observe ocean colour data, sea surface temperature and wind vector data to use in oceanography, climatic and meteorological applications.
  • Separation of the satellites:
    • The primary satellite (EOS-06) was separated in Orbit-1 and subsequently, orbit was changed by using two Orbit Change Thrusters (OCTs) introduced in the Propulsion Bay Ring of the PSLV-C54.
    • Later, all the 7 commercial satellites from NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) were deployed successfully.
      • Astrocast, a 3U spacecraft from Spaceflight Inc, US, was separated.
      • The Thybolt, a 0.5U spacecraft bus with a communication payload to enable rapid technology demonstration and constellation development from Dhruva Space, was then placed in the intended orbit.
      • The Anand three axis stabilised nano satellite, a technology demonstrator from Pixxel, India was also placed in the orbit.

The India-Bhutan Satellite:

  • The INS-2B satellite, a joint mission between India and Bhutan, contains two payloads -
    • NanoMx, a multispectral optical imaging payload developed by Space Applications Centre (SAC), and
    • APRS-Digipeater, built collaboratively by DITT-Bhutan and URSC.
  • The India-Bhutan satellite achieved a historic milestone in India’s bi-lateral cooperation with Bhutan.
  • Also, the ISRO is working with Bhutan in establishing a ground station in Thimphu, which will be commissioned shortly.

Future missions ISRO is planning:

  • ISRO is planning to have its mission to the sun with its satellite Aditya-L1, a coronagraphy spacecraft to study the solar atmosphere, with a PSLV rocket next year.
  • The space agency will also launch 4 navigation satellites for the country’s NavIC constellation, with the first one going up in 2023.
Science & Tech

Mains Article
27 Nov 2022

Union Health Ministry rolls out country’s first suicide prevention policy

In News:

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced a National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
  • It is structured on the lines of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for Suicide Prevention in the South East Asian region

What’s in today’s article

  • Suicide in India
  • National Suicide Prevention Strategy – Need, aim, key elements

Suicide in India


  • In India, suicide has exceeded deaths due to road traffic accidents and maternal mortality among those aged 15-29 years,
  • India’s contribution to global suicides increased from 25.3% in 1990 to 36.6% in 2016 among women, and from 18.7% to 24.3% among men.
  • More than one lakh lives are lost every year to suicide in India.
  • In the past three years, the suicide rate has increased from 10.2 to 11.3 per 1,00,000 population.


  • The most common reasons for suicide include family problems and illnesses which account for 34% and 18% of all suicide-related deaths in India respectively.
  • Other common reasons include marital conflicts, love affairs, bankruptcy or indebtedness, substance use and dependence.
  • It is also to be noted that in approximately 10% of the suicides, the cause is not documented.  

National Suicide Prevention Strategy


  • The strategy includes an action framework for key stakeholders, providing a path forward for preventing suicides.
  • This will provide guidance to every stakeholder for setting targets, implementing, monitoring and taking corrective actions, to attain the aim of the strategy.
  • The country’s first National Suicide Prevention Strategy has been developed with an aim to synthesise stakeholder efforts with the motto of ‘energise to synergise’.


  • The overall vision of the document is to create a society, where people value their lives and are supported when they are in need.
  • It aims at reducing suicide mortality by 10% in the country by 2030.
  • The strategy also aims at developing community resilience and societal support for suicide prevention and reducing suicide behavior.

Key elements of the policy

  • Ministries/institutions involved
    • Ministries involved in implementing the strategy are Agriculture, Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting, Social Justice and Empowerment, Education, Labour, Women and Child Development, Information Technology, Youth Affairs and Sports.
    • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) will also play an anchoring role, offering support to the implementation.
  • Reducing easy access to means of suicide
    • The strategy is focused at reducing easy access to means of suicide, for instance, pesticides.
  • Time-bound action plan and data collection
    • A time-bound action plan has also been laid out by the government.
    • It has offered commitments:
      • To establish effective surveillance mechanisms for suicide prevention in the next three years,
      • To establish psychiatric OPD that provide suicide prevention services, through the district mental health plan in all the districts within the next five years, and
      • To integrate mental well-being curriculum in all educational institutes within the next eight years.
    • It focuses on strengthening data collection on suicide and attempts to suicide.
  • Stigma reduction
    • Reducing stigma is one of the huge components, as it is seen as a hurdle in the process of seeking counseling and treatment options.
    • It tends to leverage the media in order to spread awareness and de-stigmatize mental health, and promote responsible media reporting of suicide.
Social Issues

Mains Article
27 Nov 2022

China holds its first meeting with 19 countries in Indian Ocean region without India

In News:

  • Recently, China convened a first “China-Indian Ocean Region Forum” bringing together 19 countries from the region.
  • Experts believe that the Chinese forum apparently is aimed at countering India’s strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) have taken strong roots.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) – About, pillars, significance
  • News Summary


  • IORA is an inter-governmental organisation which was established in March 1997.
    • It was formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).
  • The IORA Secretariat is based in Mauritius. It became an observer to the UN General Assembly and the African Union in 2015.
  • Members – It has 23 Member States and 9 Dialogue Partners.
    • China is a dialogue partner in the IORA.
  • Objectives
    • To promote sustainable growth and balanced development of the region;
    • To focus on those areas of economic cooperation which provide maximum opportunities for development, shared interest and mutual benefits;
    • To promote liberalisation, remove impediments and lower barriers towards a freer and enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the Indian Ocean rim.

Priority pillars


  • The IOR has always made significant contributions to the world economy.
  • The region is home to 35% of the world’s population and also accounts for 19% of total GDP
  • Moreover, 80% of seaborne trade uses routes through the Indian Ocean.
  • Furthermore, 80% of seaborne oil trade and 100,000 commercial vessels depend on this route every year.

News Summary

  • The China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) held a meeting of the China-Indian Ocean Region Forum on Development Cooperation.
    • CIDCA is an organisation connected with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
  • The meeting was attended by 19 countries from the region – and all of India’s neighbours, except for India itself.

Key highlights

  • Theme
    • The meeting was held in a hybrid manner under the theme of “Shared Development: Theory and Practice from the Perspective of the Blue Economy”.
  • Participating countries
    • Participating countries included - Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Djibouti, Australia and representatives of 3 international organisations were present.
    • India was not invited.
  • Marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism
    • China proposed to establish a marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism between China and countries in the Indian Ocean region.
    • China expressed its willingness to provide necessary financial, material, and technical support to countries in need.

China is looking to increase its presence in IOR

  • China is contending for influence in the strategic Indian Ocean region with substantial investments in ports and infrastructure in several countries.
  • China has established a full-fledged naval base in Djibouti, its first outside the country.
  • It has acquired the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease besides building the port at Pakistan’s Gwadar in the Arabian Sea opposite India’s western coast.
  • China has also invested in infrastructure of the Maldives.

India’s presence in IOR

  • India has strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the IORA have taken strong roots.
  • PM Modi has proposed “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR) in 2015 for active cooperation among the littoral countries of the Indian Ocean region.
  • The Indian Navy-backed ‘Indian Ocean Naval Symposium’ (IONS) seeks to increase maritime cooperation among navies of the region.
International Relations

Nov. 26, 2022

Mains Article
26 Nov 2022

Courts' Pendency Crisis: One Wheel Cannot Move

Context: The article highlights concern over the high judicial pendency in India and suggests corrective measures to rectify it.

Statistics related to pendency in Indian Judiciary

  • At over 47 million, India has the largest number of pending court cases in the world.
  • As per the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), 57,987 cases in Supreme Court and 49 lakh cases are pending in High Courts
  • Also 2.4cr cases are pending cases in India’s district courts, out of which 23 lakh (9.58%) have been pending for over 10 years, and 39 lakh (16.44%) have been pending for between 5 and 10 years.
  • A Law Commission report in 2009 had quoted that it would require 464 years to clear the arrears with the present strength of judges.
  • A 2018 paper by NITI Aayog said it would take more than 324 years to clear the backlog.

Causes of judicial pendency and solutions to reform judicial system

  • Government - the biggest litigant: The Centre and state governments are party to 46% of the pending cases.
    • Thus, a simple negative list which identifies instances in which government and its agencies are barred from going to court would be helpful to avoid futile litigation.
  • Judge strength: As of 2021, India had 21.03 judges per million people compared to the UK with 51 and the US with 107 judges per million. Hence India needs more judges for speedy justice delivery.
    • The 120th Law Commission of India report has suggested a judge strength fixation formula.
    • India should utilize its most experienced judges since present retirement age (62 for HC judges and 65 for SC judges in contrast with 75 in UK or Canada) was fixed when life expectancy was lower.
  • Judicial appointments: The tussle between the executive and the judiciary over judicial appointments must be resolved on a war footing. The collegium system of judges appointing other judges should be replaced with a more viable scheme.
    • The Constitution of the All-India Judicial Services can also help India establish a better judicial system.
  • Administrative burden: The Indian judges spend majority time in scheduling hearings, deciding admission, etc., unlike in developed countries where administrative tasks of courts are supported by an external agency.
    • India can emulate the same with a separate professional agency with administrative expertise, specialization, and modern management practices and technologies.
    • The Union government had suggested Indian Courts and Tribunal Services (ICTS) - an authority charged with supervising and fulfilling the administrative requirements of the courts.
    • This will increase the productivity of the court system and assure that judges are left free to perform the core task of handling cases and delivering judgments.
  • Frivolous litigation: Certain categories of cases such as dishonouring of cheques or landlord-tenant disputes are voluminous and clog the system.
    • Thus, rules should be established for disincentivizing such litigations by imposing exceptionally heavy costs on losing party. This would lead to several frivolous disputes settled out of court.
  • Poor judicial infrastructure: For example, many court complexes operate from rented premises. Ex CJI N V Ramanna has remarked that a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation (NJIC) should be created for the standardization and improvement of judicial infrastructure.
  • Technology constraints: Certain categories of cases can be moved permanently to an online disposal system, similar to online hearings during Covid-19 lockdown. The computer algorithms could also be used to manage the roster, thus eliminating bias.
  • Issue of undertrials: Around 76% of prisoners in Indian jails are undertrials, i.e., three out of four prisoners are not even convicted.
    • The SC recently directed the government to consider the introduction of Indian Bail Act to streamline the grant of bails, as done in various other countries like the UK.
  • Frequent adjournments: A norm needs to be formed that once a date is fixed no adjournment should be possible unless the side that requests it is willing to pay the other side's legal costs along with a substantial penalty.
  • Volume of appeals: Almost 40% of the working days of SC judges are consumed in determining admission of special leave petitions (SLPs) and as much as 90% of those SLPs are rejected. It leads to mammoth time wastage of SC.
    • SLP provides the aggrieved party a special permission to be heard in apex court in appeal against any judgment or order of any Court/tribunal in the territory of India.
    • Thus, Special Benches can be assigned for time-bound and quick disposal of SLPs.
  • Poor management practices: The system of long vacations for courts is a colonial practice that should be done away for optimum justice delivery owing high pendency in courts today.
    • Former CJI Lodha has recommended that instead of all the judges going on vacation at one time, individual judges should take their leave at different times through the year.
    • It will ensure that the courts are constantly open and there are always benches present to hear cases.
  • Absenteeism of judges: The productivity of judges should be reviewed periodically to have oversight upon absenteeism of judges.
    • Ex CJI Ranjan Gogoi had proposed a “no leave formula” for judges during working days of the court.
    • Those judges who failed to follow the formula would either withdraw his name from the judges list or judicial work is withdrawn from that errant member of the court. This should be emulated in lower courts also.
  • Poor case flow management: The SC had drawn up a fine blueprint on case-management, on how to get more cases moving along. For instance, on three different tracks, i.e., fast track, normal track and slow track.
  • Low number of Special courts: Special Courts can be established on specialised areas such as commercial cases can be transferred to the commercial division and the commercial appellate division of High Courts.
    • Similarly, Special Courts within High Courts can be set up to address litigations pertaining to land, crime, traffic challans etc., in order to reduce the burden on main courts.

Earlier steps taken to reduce pendency

  • Policy formulation: Adoption of “National Litigation Policy 2010” to transform government into an Efficient and Responsible litigant. All states formulated state litigation policies after National Litigation Policy 2010.
  • Legal Information Management and Briefing System (LIMBS): It was created in 2015 with the objective of tracking cases to which the government is a party.
  • Criminal reform: The SC had advised the Centre that criminals sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months or a year should be allocated social service duties rather than be sent to further choke the already overflowing prisons.
  • Concept of Plea Bargaining: It was inserted as a new chapter in Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
    • Plea Bargaining means a pre-negotiation between the accused and the prosecution where the accused pleads guilty in exchange for certain concession by the prosecution.
    • Its main objective is to reduce the time in criminal trial and give the accused a lesser punishment and helps in fast disposal of cases.
  • Alternate dispute resolution (ADR): The Legal Services Authorities undertake pre-litigation mediation so that the inflow of cases into courts can be regulated. E.g., Lok Adalat for settling civil and family matter, Gram Nyayalayas to manage small claim disputes from rural areas, etc.


  • Denial of ‘timely justice’ amounts to denial of ‘justice’ itself. Timely disposal of cases is essential to maintain rule of law and provide access to justice.
  • Speedy trial is a part of right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Hence a continuous formative assessment to come out of the judicial pendency crisis is the key to strengthen and reinforce the justice delivery system in India.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
26 Nov 2022

Government forms panel to look into MGNREGA’s efficacy

In News:

  • The Central government has constituted a committee to review the implementation of MGNREGA scheme to assess the programme’s efficacy as a poverty alleviation tool.
  • The committee is headed by former Rural Development secretary Amarjeet Sinha.

What’s in Today’s article

  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme – About, features, Budget allocation, MGNREGA & COVID, Criticism
  • News Summary

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS):

  • The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was notified in September, 2005.
    • In 2009, through an amendment, the name of the Act was changed to Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • Mandate: To provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme  was created as the means to implement the Act so that the guarantee comes into effect.
  • MGNREGS is a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme i.e. the scheme is jointly funded by the Central government and the State governments.
  • Concerned Ministry: Ministry of Rural Development

Salient Features of the Scheme:

  • Legal Right to Work:
    • The MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for wage employment.
    • Every rural household has the right to register under MGNREGA.
    • Also, at least one-third of the beneficiaries of the scheme have to be women.
    • There are legal provisions for allowances and compensation both in cases of failure to provide work on demand and delays in payment of wages for work undertaken.
  • Demand-Driven:
    • It is a demand-driven programme where provision of work is triggered by the demand for work by wage-seekers.
  • Decentralized mode of implementation:
    • The State governments have powers to make rules and amend the concerned State scheme.
    • Gram Panchayats (GPs) are to implement at least 50 per cent of the works in terms of cost.
    • Plans and decisions regarding the nature and choice of works to be undertaken etc. are all to be made in open assemblies of the Gram Sabha and ratified by the GP.
  • Annual Report tabled in the Parliament:
    • CEGC is a statutory body set up under Section 10 of the MGNREGA.
    • It is chaired by the Union Minister for Rural Development.
    • An Annual Report prepared by the Central Employment Guarantee Council (CEGC), on the outcomes of MGNREGA is required to be presented annually by the Central Government to Parliament.
  • The MGNERGA covers the entire country with the exception of districts that have a hundred percent urban population.

Budget allocation

  • The government's expenditure on job guarantees is among the largest social sector spends it budgets for.
  • 730 billion Indian rupees have been earmarked ($8.94 billion) towards the jobs scheme for fiscal 2022-23
    • Historic allocation of 1.1 trillion rupees was made in FY 2020-2021.



  • Poorer States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar haven’t been able to use the scheme optimally to alleviate poverty, while economically better-off States like Kerala use it as an asset creation tool
  • The scheme has been criticised by economists like Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya as an “inefficient instrument of shifting income to the poor”.
  • While Bihar needs MGNREGA more, money cannot be denied to affluent states like Keralabecause of the current structure of the programme.
  • MGNREGA is slammed for the lack of tangible asset creation.

News Summary

  • The government has constituted the Sinha committee to review the implementation of the MGNREGA
  • The committee has been tasked to study the various factors behind demand for MGNREGA work, expenditure trends and inter-State variations, and the composition of work.
  • It will suggest what changes in focus and governance structures are required to make MGNREGA more effective.
  • It will review whether the scheme should focus more on community-based assets or individual works.
Social Issues

Mains Article
26 Nov 2022

In a 1st, UN to call shots on global tax rules

In News:

  • Recently, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly unanimously accepted a resolution sponsored by Nigeria that advocates for the creation of an international tax cooperation mechanism.
  • With this mechanism, emerging countries in Africa and Asia are expected to have a greater say in the formulation of global tax regulations.
    • As a result, the OECD's (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) 60-year reign as a global tax rule maker is coming to an end.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About OECD and its Pillar two rules
  • News Summary

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development):

  • It is an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1961 (under the Rome Treaties of 1957) with 38-member countries, which describe themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy.
  • It was to stimulate economic progress and world trade by providing a platform to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.

OECD's Pillar Two model rules:

  • These rules were agreed in 2021 by 137 countries and jurisdictions under the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS.
    • Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinationals to shift profits from higher-tax jurisdictions to lower/no-tax jurisdictions, thus eroding the tax-base of the higher-tax jurisdictions.
    • The OECD defines BEPS strategies as exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules.
  • The rules provide governments a precise template for taking forward the two-pillar solution to address the tax challenges arising from digitalisation and globalisation of the economy.
    • Pillar 1 aims to ensure a better distribution of taxation of multinationals according to the countries in which they operate.
    • Pillar 2 aims to control tax competition on corporate profits by introducing a global minimum tax of 15% from 2023.
  • The rules specify the scope and mechanism for Pillar Two's so-called Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) rules.
  • The new Pillar Two model rules will assist countries to bring the GloBE rules into domestic legislation in 2022. The GloBE rules:
    • Define the MNEs within the scope of the minimum tax;
    • Set out a mechanism for calculating an MNE’s effective tax rate on a jurisdictional basis; and
    • Impose the top-up tax on a member of the MNE group in accordance with an agreed rule order.
  • Significance of Pillar Two rules:
    • More than $125 billion in taxing rights were to be redistributed each year from about 100 of the world's largest and most profitable MNEs to consumer-centric countries.
    • This would ensure that large corporations pay their fair share of taxes everywhere they operate and make profits.
    • While the OECD is seen as a rich-country club, the rules show that it has become increasingly liberal in its approach to non-members such as India.

News Summary:

  • Concerns regarding Pillar Two rules:
    • Pillar 1 a contentious issue among several developing countries. It provides that no newly enacted digital services tax (like India’s equalisation levy) will be imposed on any company till the coming into force of the Pillar 1 agreement.
      • According to India, the equalisation levy was a temporary solution that could be repealed once Pillar 1 was implemented.
    • Pillar 2, with a mechanism for tax back by another country if the minimum rate was not adhered to, remains a hiccup in the negotiation.
  • Significance of the UN tax convention:
    • It would overhaul global taxation rules, end global tax abuse by multinational enterprises (MNEs) and the super-rich.
    • It could result in a larger number of companies (rather than just the top 100) coming within the ambit of a fairer customer-centric based profit allocation.
    • In addition to dealing with tax issues in a digital economy, the convention is also expected to deal with the menace of illicit money flows and solutions to overcome the same.
    • It will now kick off a power struggle between the two institutions (UN and OECD) with implications for global and local economies, businesses and people everywhere for decades to come.

Mains Article
26 Nov 2022

Suheldev to Birsa: How PM saluted 'unsung heroes'

In News:

  • Recently, PM Modi addressed at the closing ceremony of the year-long celebrations of 400th birth anniversary of Ahom commander Lachit Barphukan.
  • This marked a continuation of his government's efforts to honour the heroes whose contributions haven't received due recognition in the pages of Indian history.

What’s in today’s article:

  • News Summary

News Summary

  • The government is putting efforts so that the unsung heroes of India are given due importance, respect and promotion, for the benefit of youngsters and society at large.

Few Unsung Heroes of India

  • Shri Govind Guru
    • Few months back, PM Modi paid homage to Bhil freedom fighter Shri Govind Guru.
    • Govind Guru was a social and religious reformer in the early 1900s in the tribal border areas of present-day Rajasthan and Gujarat states in India.
    • He started working with the Bhil community during the great famine of 1899-1900 and saw their oppression at the hands of the princely states.
    • He started Bhagat Sampradaya (sect) in 1908.
      • His disciples followed strict rules including abstinence from liquor and meat, the adoption of hygienic practices, and the rejection of bonded labour work and witch-doctors.
  • Nadaprabhu Kempegowda
    • Recently, PM Modi unveiled the 108-feet-long bronze statue of Sri Nadaprabhu Kempegowda in Bengaluru.
    • Nadaprabhu Hiriya Kempegowda, also known as Kempegowda, was a chieftain under the Vijayanagara Empire.
    • He is also known as the founder of Bengaluru in the 16th century.
    • He is credited for prohibiting the custom of amputating the last two fingers of the left hand of the unmarried women during "Bandi Devaru", an important custom of Morasu Vokkaligas.
  • Alluri Sitarama Raju
    • He is believed to have been born in present-day Andhra Pradesh in 1897-98.
    • At a very young age, Raju channeled the discontent of the hill people in Ganjam, Visakhapatnam and Godavari into a highly effective guerrilla resistance against the British.
    • As the government sought to secure forest lands, colonial rule threatened the tribals' traditional podu (shifting) cultivation.
      • The Forest Act of 1882 prohibited the collection of minor forest products like roots and leaves and tribal people were forced to work for the colonial government.
    • While the tribals were exploited by muttadars (village headmen hired by the colonial government to extract rent), new laws and systems threatened their very way of life.
    • Strong anti-government sentiment, shared by muttadars (dissatisfied with the British curtailment of their powers), erupted into armed resistance - the Rampa or Manyam Rebellion - in August 1922.
      • Several hundred tribals led by Raju attacked several police stations in the Godavari agency.
      • The rebellion, which coincided with Mahatma Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement, lasted until May 1924, when Raju, the charismatic 'Manyam Veerudu' or Hero of the Jungle, was finally apprehended and executed.
  • Birsa Munda
    • The Union Cabinet approved the declaration of November 15 as, "Janjatiya Gaurav Divas" to honour the contributions of tribal freedom fighters.
      • November 15 was chosen because it was the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda.
    • In November 2021, the PM inaugurated Bhagwan Birsa Munda Museum in Ranch
      • Under his vision, 10 museums, cherishing the memories of tribal freedom fighters from various states, are also being constructed across the country.
    • Birsa Munda, a member of the Munda Tribe of the Chhota Nagpur Plateau, was an Indian freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero.
    • His action is recognised as a powerful symbol of opposition to British authority in India.
    • He was a driving force behind the Bengal Presidency's Millenarian movement (Present-day Jharkhand).
  • Maharaja Suheldev
    • In February 2021, Modi laid the foundation stone of Maharaja Suheldev Memorial in Bahraich, UP.
      • Legend has it that when waves of Muslim invaders were sweeping through India, Raja Suheldev of Shravasti gathered together heads of tribes including the Tharu and Banjara, and the rulers of several small estates, to resist the invaders.
      • His army is said to have defeated and killed Ghazi Salar Masud, purportedly a favourite nephew of Mahmud of Ghazni, in battle in Bahraich in 1034 AD.
History & Culture

Mains Article
26 Nov 2022

Why India’s push for millets is yet to gain widespread traction

In News:

  • A pre-launch celebration of International Year of Millets was held recently in New Delhi.
  • It was organised by the Ministries of Agriculture and External Affairs.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Millets – about, historical background, millets around the world, significance
  • Millets in India – Production, millets under PDS, steps taken by the govt


  • The word “millets” is used to describe small-grained cereals like sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet), little millet (kutki), etc.
  • They require much less water than rice and wheat, and are mainly grown in rainfed areas.

Historical background:

  • Millets were among the first crops to be domesticated.
  • There is evidence for consumption of millets by the Indus valley people (3,000 BC), and several varieties that are now grown around the world were first cultivated in India.
  • West Africa, China, and Japan are home to indigenous varieties of the crop.

Millets around the world

  • Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop.
  • The major producers of jowar are United States, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan.
  • Bajra is another major millet crop; India and some African countries are major producers.


  • Food security
    • Millets are a climate-friendly crop that can even be grown in drought-hit areas.
    • COVID was a period that reminded the world what a pandemic could do to food security. Hence, experts are highlighting the importance of millets.
  • High nutritive value
    • Millets are considered to be powerhouses of nutrition. In April 2018, the Agriculture Ministry declared certain millets as Nutri Cereals for the purposes of production, consumption, and trade
      • These include:
        • Jowar, bajra, ragi/ mandua,
        • the minor millets — kangani/ kakun, cheena, kodo, sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora, and kutki
        • the two pseudo millets, buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth (chaulai).
    • Millets are more nutritious compared to fine cereals. Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre.
  • Political significance
    • Millet is grown mainly in low-income and developing countries in Asia and Africa, and are part of the food basket of about 60 crore people across the globe.
    • By proposing the resolution to celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets, India pitched itself as a leader of this group.
    • This is similar to the Indian initiative on the 121-nation International Solar Alliance.
  • Health benefits
    • Millets reduce Anemia, liver disorders, and Asthma.
    • Their high dietary fiber provides hunger satisfaction and helps reduce obesity and the risk of Type II Diabetes.

Millets in India


  • As per the data of Agriculture Ministry, in India, millets are mainly a kharif crop.
  • During 2018-19, three millet crops — bajra (3.67%), jowar (2.13%), and ragi (0.48%) — accounted for about 7 per cent of the gross cropped area in the country.
  • Jowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.
    • Maharashtra accounted for the largest area and production of jowar during 2020-21.
  • Bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
    • Rajasthan accounted to the largest area and production of Bajra during 2020-21.

Millets under PDS

  • Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, eligible households are entitled to get rice, wheat, and coarse grain at Rs 3, Rs 2, and Re 1 per kg respectively.
  • While the Act does not mention millets, coarse grains are included in the definition of “foodgrains” under Section 2(5) of the NFSA.
  • However, the quantity of coarse grains procured for the Central Pool and distributed under the NFSA has been negligible.

Steps taken by the govt.

  • The push to distribute coarse grains under the PDS has not gained momentum.
  • The Centre has accepted the recommendation of a committee set up by it, that millets be included in the PDS in order to improve nutritional support.
  • The government has set a target to procure 13.72 LMT coarse grains during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2022-23, more than double the 6.30 LMT procured during KMS 2021-22.

Year of Millets

  • In March, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
  • The proposal was moved by India, and was supported by 72 countries.
  • The International Year of Millets will raise awareness about the importance of millets in food security and nutrition.
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