Aug. 31, 2022

Mains Article
31 Aug 2022

Is Devas Ruling A Pyrrhic Win?


  • In a major win for the Centre, the Delhi High Court has set aside order of International Chamber of Commerce(ICC) directing Antrix (commercial arm of ISRO) to pay damages of $560 million (Rs 15,000 crore) along with interest to, Devas Multimedia Private Limited.
  • The arbitral award was passed by ICC in 2015 and directed Antrix to pay the sum as damages for allegedly illegally terminating its contract with Devas Multimedia. This order was upheld by the courts in the US.

The story so far

  • The Deal: Antrix Corporation and Devas Multimedia entered into a transaction for leasing of S-Band spectrum to provide multimedia services to mobile platforms in India in 2005, but it was cancelled by Antrix in 2011 following the “2G scam” on grounds of “national security”.
    • Devas was a startup company based in Bengaluru with investors from Mauritius and US.
  • The award: Devas sued Antrix in International Chamber of Commerce against the annulment and alleged that Antrix had improperly cancelled a contract to build satellites for Devas. Devas secured an award of over $560 million as damages.
  • BIT claims: The government’s decision to revoke(cancel) the contract prompted Devas’ foreign investors to bring separate Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) claims against India under the India-Mauritius BIT and India-Germany BIT, respectively.
    • India’s standing: Against the two separate BITs, India maintained that the deal was cancelled in view of increasing demand for the S-band satellite spectrum for national security
  • Devas submission: Devas submitted that the actual motive behind Antrix seeking its winding up is to deprive it of the benefits of a unanimous award passed by the ICC, and the two BIT awards.
    • It also said that such attempts on the part of a corporate entity wholly owned by the Government of India would send a wrong message to international investors.
  • Antrix defence:  Antrix argued that the contract from which the arbitral award arose was wholly vitiated due to acts of corruption, fraud and criminality committed by the erstwhile management of Antrix and Devas.
  • Inquiry: During the pendency of the ICC arbitration, CBI initiated an investigation into the transaction, charge-sheeted former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair and filed an FIR alleging that the transaction has been orchestrated to defraud the state of its resources.
  • Appeal for liquidation: Antrix with the authorisation of GoI, filed a petition in May 2021 before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for winding up of Devas on grounds of “fraud”. The petition upheld by the apex court on January 17, 2022.
  • Appellate forum: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) also upheld the order of the Bengaluru bench of the NCLT, which had on May 25, 2021 directed the winding up of Devas Multimedia and appointed a provisional liquidator.
  • SC dismissed Devas appeal: The Supreme Court, in its January 2022 judgment, while rejecting an appeal filed by Devas Multimedia against its winding-up order held that the entire transaction was in conflict with the “public policy of any country”.
    • It also rejected Devas’ contention that Antrix’s winding up petition was aimed at depriving it of the benefit of the earlier favourable arbitration awards.
  • Devas’s pre-emptive move: Anticipating the setting aside of the ICC award by Delhi HC following the SC verdict, Devas shareholders initiated another BIT arbitration against GoI, which is yet to be concluded.
  • Delhi HC ruling: The Delhi High Court, relying on the apex court's January 2022 ruling also noted that allowing investors of Devas to reap the benefits of a fraudulent would be antithetical to the rule of law.
    • The arbitral award goes against the economic policy of India along with being in contravention of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) rules and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

BIT claims

  • Delhi HC setting aside the ICC award must lead to an automatic vacation of all seizure orders passed by foreign courts in pursuance of enforcement proceedings initiated by Devas.
    • However, such an automatic inference would not follow in case of attachments following the BIT awards in favour of Devas

Road ahead

  • New questions: The BIT arbitration now initiated by Devas shareholders against GoI following SC’s decision of winding up Devas raises interesting legal questions, including whether proceeds from an arbitral award can be treated as investment.
  • Potent future allegations: Devas’s shareholders would most definitely allege that the impact of SC’s findings, in the setting aside of the ICC award, substantially deprived them of their rights to the money that would have accrued from the award.
  • India’s image problem: The fact that the ICC award has been set aside, it only lends itself to India’s unfortunate image of belligerence against treaty claims.
    • India’s reluctance to return to negotiation in the matter also negates the positive steps the present dispensation had taken in settling the retrospective taxation disputes with Cairn and others.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
31 Aug 2022

Uniformity across all boards to set up PARAKH for exam assessment

In News:

  • The Union government plans to create a benchmark framework for assessing students at the secondary and higher secondary levels.
  • The aim is to achieve uniformity among state and central boards, which now use diverse evaluation criteria, resulting in huge differences in scores.
  • The proposed regulator, PARAKH - Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development, will work to eliminate the emphasis on rote learning that the NEP envisions.

What’s in today’s news:

  • About National Education Policy (NEP) 2020
  • About PARAKH

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020:


  • An NEP is a comprehensive framework to guide the development of education in the country.
  • The first education policy came in 1968 on the recommendation of the Education Commission, headed by D S Kothari.
  • The second education policy came in 1986, which was replaced by the third education policy - NEP 2020.

About NEP 2020:

  • The NEP 2020 was drafted based on the recommendations of a panel led by former ISRO chief Kasturirangan.
  • The policy is a comprehensive framework for elementary to higher education, as well as vocational training in both rural and urban India.
  • The policy aims to transform India's education system by 2040.

How will the NEP 2020 be implemented?

  • The NEP only provides a broad direction and is not mandatory to follow.
  • Since education is a concurrent subject, the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states.
  • The current government has set a goal of implementing the entire policy by 2040.

PARAKH: Background

  • Recently, the NCERT convened a series of meetings with representatives from state boards and SCERTs to reach an agreement on how to implement the plan, which includes the establishment of a new assessment regulator.
  • During the discussions, most states endorsed the NEP proposals -
    • To hold board exams twice a year, including one for helping students improve their scores.
    • To offer two types of papers on mathematics - a standard exam and another to test higher level competency, to reduce the fear of maths among students and encourage learning.
    • To have two sets of question papers for most subjects - one with multiple choice questions (MCQs) and the other descriptive.
  • As a result, the Union Ministry of Education recently invited bids to establish a regulator - PARAKH.


  • The benchmark assessment framework - PARAKH, has been proposed by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, to put an end to the emphasis on rote learning.
  • PARAKH will act as a constituent unit of the NCERT and will be tasked with -
    • Setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognised school boards of India.
    • Holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.
      • If the plans are on track, the NAS in 2024 will be conducted by PARAKH.
  • PARAKH team will consist of leading assessment experts with a deep understanding of the education system in India and internationally.
  • PARAKH will eventually become the national single-window source for all assessment-related information and expertise, with a mandate to assist all forms of learning assessment, both nationally and globally, where relevant.


  • Uniformity: PARAKH will contribute to addressing the issue of students from some state boards being at a disadvantage during college admissions when compared to their peers from CBSE schools.
  • Standardisation: It will establish and implement technical standards for test design, administration, analysis and reporting at all levels of schooling.
  • Skill development: It will encourage and help school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.
Social Issues

Mains Article
31 Aug 2022

Boost govt co-ordination for better policy: Report

In News:

  • The Competitiveness Roadmap for India@100 was released by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM).
  • It envisions setting new guiding principles for the country’s growth journey over the following years.
  • It also guides different states, ministries and partners in India’s growth to develop sector-specific roadmaps for achieving targeted goals.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About EAC-PM (executive body, gives advice to PM on economic issues)
  • India@100 Report (Key highlights of the report)

Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister:

  • The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) is an independent body. It is a non-constitutional, non-statutory body.
  • It is constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.
  • The Government had reconstituted the body for a 2-year term, starting from October, 2021.
  • Chairperson: Dr Bibek Debroy
  • For administrative, logistic, planning and budgeting purposes, the NITI Aayog serves as the Nodal Agency for the EAC-PM.

Terms of Reference of the Council:

  • The Terms of Reference of EAC-PM include analysing any issue, economic or otherwise, referred to it by the Prime Minister, and advise him thereon, addressing issues of macroeconomic importance and presenting views thereon to the PM.
  • They also include attending to any other task as may be desired by the PM from time to time.

Competitiveness Roadmap for India@100:


  • The report is a collaborative endeavour between the EAC-PM and the Institute for Competitiveness.
    • Institute for Competitiveness, India is the Indian knot in the global network of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.
  • The roadmap stands to inform and guide the way for India to become a higher-income country by 2047.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  • The Competitiveness approach puts forth the idea of productivity as a driver of sustained prosperity.
  • It emphasizes the context that a nation is able to provide firms to be more productive and for individuals to be able to partake in the value generated through their productivity.
  • Based on this approach, the India@100 roadmap guides the way for India to become a high-income country by 2047 through sector-specific & region-specific policies based on the ‘4 S’ principles
    • Stressing the need for prosperity growth to be matched by social progress,
    • To be shared across all regions within India,
    • To be environmentally sustainable, and
    • To be solid in the face of external shocks.
  • By capturing these four important aspects, the ‘4 S’ guiding principles pave the way for resilient and holistic development.
  • Moving ahead, the focus would be on developing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and roadmaps for different industries, ministries, and states of the country to shape the journey towards reaching the country’s ambitions by its centennial year i.e. 2047.

Mains Article
31 Aug 2022

Challenging the Special Marriage Act, 1954

In News:

  • The Supreme Court has dismissed a writ petition challenging provisions of the Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954 requiring couples to give a notice declaring their intent to marry 30 days before their marriage.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Special Marriage Act, 1954 – Background, about, key provisions
  • News Summary

Special Marriage Act (SMA), 1954


  • All marriages in India can be registered under the respective personal law Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Marriage Act, 1954, or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  • It is the duty of the judiciary to ensure that the rights of both the husband and wife are protected.


  • The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India with provision for civil marriage for people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of religion or faith followed by either party.
  • A marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 allows people from two different religious backgrounds to come together in the bond of marriage.
  • The Act lays down the procedure for both solemnization and registration of marriage, where either of the husband or wife or both are not Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or Sikhs.

Key provisions

  • Prior notice to the marriage officer
    • Section 5 of the SMA: Couples have to serve a notice with the relevant documents to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the intended date of marriage.
  • Registration process
    • Both parties are required to be present after the submission of documents for issuance of public notice inviting objections.
    • Registration is done 30 days after the date of notice after deciding any objection that may have been received during that period by the SDM.
    • Both parties along with three witnesses are required to be present on the date of registration.

News Summary

  • The Supreme Court has dismissed a writ petition challenging the Constitutional validity of certain provisions of the SMA.
  • The petition was dismissed on the grounds that the petitioner was no longer an aggrieved party.
  • Also, another writ petition in Nandini Praveen vs Union of India & Others filed on similar grounds was admitted by the Supreme Court in 2020.
    • In this case, court is waiting for the reply of Government.

What does the petition seek?

  • The writ petition has called certain provisions of SMA, 1954 violative of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
    • This is because these provisions require couples to give a notice of 30 days before the date of marriage inviting objections from the public.
  • As per the petition, these provisions contravene Article 14 as well as Article 15 on right to equality as these requirements are absent in personal laws.

Provisions that have been challenged

  • The writ seeks striking down of provisions that follow in Section 6 to Section 10.
    • Section 6 requires such a notice to be then entered into the Marriage Notice Book maintained by the Marriage Officer, which can be inspected by “any person desirous of inspecting the same.
    • Section 7 provides the process for making an objection.
    • Section 8 specifies the inquiry procedure to be followed after an objection has been submitted.
  • The petition contends that these provisions make the personal information of the individuals open to public scrutiny.
  • Hence, these provisions seriously damage one’s right to have control over her/his personal information and its accessibility.
  • Also, these public notices have been used by anti-social elements to harass couples getting married.


Social Issues

Mains Article
31 Aug 2022

The ongoing political crisis in Iraq

In News:

  • Iraq’s political crisis took a violent turn recently when at least 24 people were killed and about 200 injured in clashes between the supporters of influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the country’s security personnel.
  • After Mr. Sadr announced that he was quitting politics amid a political deadlock, his supporters stormed the Republican Palace of the government and fought the security personnel.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Political crisis in Iraq – Background, constitutional provision on election in Iraq, triggering of crisis etc.

Political crisis in Iraq


  • The October 2021 elections to the Council of Representatives were considered to be a new beginning and opportunity for Iraq.
  • The Sadrist Movement won 73 out of the 329 seats available, but failed to secure absolute majority.
  • Iraq’s post-war tradition was to form national consensus governments. But Mr. Sadr wanted to form a majority government led by his bloc.
  • He entered into a tripartite coalition, called “Save the Homeland”, with Sunni and Kurdish parties. Together, they had absolute majority in the House.
  • However, the Shia Coordination Framework, the coalition of Iran-backed Shia parties, opposed Mr. Sadr resulting into a bitter power struggle.

Constitutional provision on election of President & PM of Iraq

  • The Constitution of Iraq requires a new Parliament to pick a President first, who then should ask the largest parliamentary bloc to nominate someone for the post of Prime Minister.
  • The PM nominee should then form a government and get parliamentary approval.
  • For the Presidential election to take place, two-thirds of the representatives should be present in the House.

Triggering of crisis

  • The subsequent Presidential votes in Iraq failed to go through as the quorum was not met as different blocs boycotted parliament sessions.
    • Therefore, without a new President, a new government could not be formed.
  • In protest against the rival parties’ continued boycott of Parliament, Mr. Sadr, in June 2022, asked all the 73 legislators of the Sadrist Movement to resign.
  • According to Iraq’s electoral laws, if a parliamentary seat becomes vacant, it will be filled by the candidate who receives the second-highest number of votes in their electoral district.
  • The Coordination Framework took advantage of this resignation and became the largest bloc. They went ahead with plans to form their government.
  • Sadr, now out of Parliament, called for protests in the streets.

What do Sadrists want?

  • They demand the dissolution of Parliament, early elections and Constitutional amendments to clear blockades that stand in the way of Mr. Sadr forming a majority government.
  • Sadr asked his supporters to continue the sit-in protests until new elections are held. The Shia Coordination Framework opponents have staged counter-protests.

What lies ahead?

  • The political paralysis in Iraq could have two possible outcomes.
  • Firstly, as per the wishes of Mr. Sadr and his loyal followers, Parliament could be dissolved, and early elections could be called.
  • The second possibility is the Shia Coordination Framework electing a new President and getting their choice, Mohammed al-Sudani, elected as the next PM of Iraq.
    • This possibility, however, runs the risk of violence. Sadrists might have resigned from Parliament, but they remain a formidable street force.
  • The current crisis also marks a break from Iraq’s post-war Shia consensus.
    • The dominant political contradiction in the elections held immediately after the U.S. invasion was between Shia and Sunni parties.
    • Now the power struggle is between two Shia factions, one backed by Iran and the other relatively autonomous led by Mr. Sadr.
International Relations

Aug. 30, 2022

Mains Article
30 Aug 2022

Guardian of Football or Its Problem?


  • On August 15, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) was suspended by the global governing body for football, FIFA owing to the rationale that a temporary Committee of Administrators (CoA) appointed by the Supreme Court constituted ‘third-party interference’.
  • AIFF is the governing body of football in India and this is the first time AIFF has been suspended since the federation was formed in 1937.
  • This suspension also took away the country’s rights to hold the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022, scheduled to be held from October 11-30.


  • Genesis: The current set of troubles for Indian football began after the erstwhile AIFF president, Praful Patel, refused to relinquish his post as the head of football in the country.
    • Patel had completed his three terms and 12 years as AIFF president in December 2020.
    • However, the polls could not take place because of pending cases in the SC regarding the constitution of AIFF.
  • SC intervention: On May 18, the Supreme Court intervened, and removed Patel from his post.
  • Unease over Committee of Administrators: The SC appointed a Committee of Administrators (CoA) to run the AIFF which was considered third-party interference as per FIFA statutes and eventually led to the ban.
  • Not immediate ban: Only after CoA altered the executive committee of the AIFF, its mode of formation, the FIFA banned the CoA as these major changes were considered as third-party interference.
  • Other major alterations: The CoA also made changes in the wording of what India’s top league was, how relegation and promotion would work.
    • It also made changes in laying down that the AIFF would be running the top league solely. This had the potential to reopen the great battle in Indian football, i.e. over which league (I-League or Indian Super League), would be accorded the spot of India’s top promotion.
    • Previously, the long battle, in this regard, had ended in 2018, with the ISL being made India’s top league and the I-League being demoted as a second division league.

About FIFA

  • Description: FIFA or the Federation Internationale de Football Association is the highest governing body of football in the world. FIFA is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Zurich.
  • Sports: It is the international governing body of association football, futsal, and beach soccer.
  • History: Founded in 1904, FIFA now comprises 211 member nations.

Cleaning up football administration

  • SC observation: The SC took cognisance of the fact that a private society, registered and operating in India, the activities of which are of public significance and are partially funded by public money, was not being run in compliance with the law.
    • Hence, CoA was requested to draft a new constitution for the federation in terms of the National Sports Code, conduct elections under the said constitution and to then hand over control to the newly elected body.
  • Significance: It was incumbent upon the court to intervene, particularly where public money is concerned. The CoA was therefore meant to bring in reform along the lines of the BCCI reforms for cricket starting in 2015.

The ‘third party’ excuse

  • Parity in voting rights: The draft constitution, submitted by CoA to SC, states the electoral college had representatives from 36 State associations and 36 eminent football players, 24 male and 12 female.
    • As a result, 36 state associations with voting rights would now have to contend with 36 eminent players who would have the same voting rights.
  • Adherence to National Sports Code : The binding National Sports Code issued by the central government also requires players to be a part of the electoral college (a minimum of 25% is prescribed).
  • FIFA’s own mandate: Although the world body agreed to 25% player representation in the committee, no changes were recorded on paper. FIFA’s own statutes also require player representation in the electoral college.
    • But in a series of letters addressed to AIFF, FIFA made it clear that it did not want players in the electoral college.
    • The obvious inference is that FIFA did not want the unpredictability of several new voters during the elections.
    • With upcoming elections to FIFA itself, it wouldn’t want to set a precedent for other member nations to follow.

FIFA lifted ban now

  • FIFA conditions to lift ban: FIFA has said that two main concerns need to be addressed in order for the ban to be lifted.
    • Repeal CoA: First, the mandate of the CoA would have to be repealed in full.
    • Give charge back to AIFF: Second, the AIFF administration would need to be completely in charge of its day-to-day running once again.
    • Mode of AIFF constitution: FIFA also stated that it wanted the AIFF constitution to be revised on the terms of FIFA policies, and for the election to be held on current AIFF membership structures that are based on state associations only.
  • Ban lifted now: FIFA lifted the suspension imposed on AIFF after it received confirmation that the mandate of the CoA that was set up to assume the powers of the AIFF Executive Committee had been terminated and that the AIFF administration had regained full control of the AIFF’s daily affairs.

Hope for reform

  • In light of the suspension, the Supreme Court acted in the interest of the sport in India by modifying its previous orders and letting the ongoing elections be conducted without players in the electoral college.
  • But the court’s modification is only applicable to the ongoing elections and the reforms suggested by the CoA remain pending before the court. The battle to democratise the administration of the sport
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
30 Aug 2022

Pak may import food items from India: FM

In News:

  • Pakistan’s finance minister said the government can consider importing vegetables and other edible items from India following the destruction of standing crops due to massive floods.
  • Pakistan had suspended bilateral trade with India in 2019 after India abolished Article 370 thereby ending the special status accorded to J&K.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Trade and economic relationship with Pakistan – Statistics, reasons for low volume of trade, suspension of bilateral trade, LoC trade, MFN status
  • News Summary

Trade and Economic Relations between India and Pakistan


  • Bilateral trade reached its peak of $ 2.7 billion in 2013-14. Since then, it gradually declined till Pakistan decided to suspend bilateral trade with India in 2019.
  • In FY19, total exports to Pakistan were $2.06 billion, while imports were $495 million.
    • In the first quarter of FY20, India’s exports to Pakistan were $452.5 million and imports were $7.13 million.
  • India’s major items of export are organic chemicals, cotton, plastics and dyes, while imports are fruit and edible nuts, and mineral fuels.
    • Export of tomatoes to Pakistan had stopped long ago.

Reasons for low volume of trade

  • Border tensions
  • Pakistan’s reluctance to accord India the MFN status,
  • Pakistan allowing only 137 items for trade through Wagah/ Attari land route,
  • Failure to provide Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) on a reciprocal basis etc.

Suspension of bilateral trade

  • In August 2019, Pakistan decided to suspend trade relations with India in a five-point plan.
  • Pakistan's share of exports to India has been less than 2% of its total exports, and for India, imports from Pakistan are not even 0.5% of its total imports.
  • Since then, Pakistan had made only two exceptions. These were:
    • for the import of pharmaceutical products during the COVID-19 pandemic
    • for India to ship 50,000 tonnes of wheat as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

LoC Trade between J&K and PoJK

  • The LoC trade was meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • This allowed trade through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad, Uri, District Baramulla and Chakkan-da-Bagh, District Poonch.
  • It was based on Barter system and zero duty basis.
  • However, in April 2019, India suspended LoC trade in Jammu & Kashmir.
    • This action was taken based on reports that the Cross LoC trade routes are being misused by the Pakistan for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency etc.

Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Status

  • A Pakistan cabinet decision of November, 2011 to accord India the MFN status remains unimplemented.
  • Pakistan, however, substituted, in March 2012, a positive list of a little more than 1950 tariff lines, permitted for import from India, by a Negative List of 1209 lines that cannot be imported from India.
  • India, on the other hand, had accorded MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. However, in February 2019, after Pulwama terror attack, India decided to withdraw the status.

News Summary

  • Given the extent of the calamity, the Pakistani government could consider reversing its three-year-old ban on trade with India, and open trade routes for vegetables and other essential commodities.
  • Pakistan is witnessing a massive surge in the prices of vegetables and fruits as the supply from Balochistan, Sindh and south Punjab has been badly affected.
    • As per the govt officials of Pakistan, nearly a third of the country is under water due to the incessant rain.

India’s response

  • In a rare outreach to the neighbouring country, PM Modi has extended heartfelt condolences to victims of the floods in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan had so far not requested aid from India, nor had it been offered unilaterally by India.
  • Currently, it is unclear whether the Indian government will take forward the suggestion to reopen trade or extend aid to Pakistan as it had done with Sri Lanka and Afghanistan in recent months.
  • However, highlighting India’s strong support for regionalism and its policy of being more generous and more non reciprocal, experts feel that India might extend help to Pakistan.


International Relations

Mains Article
30 Aug 2022

What is the UN High Seas Treaty, why have countries failed to agree on it?

In News:

  • Negotiations involving 168 countries, including the European Union, to agree on a UN treaty for protecting oceans failed.
    • The latest round of talks was going on in New York.
  • After the latest deadlock, talks will only resume next year, unless a special session is called.

What’s in today’s article:

  • High seas
  • The proposed UN High Seas treaty

High Seas:

  • The high seas are the parts of the ocean that are not included in the exclusive economic zones, territorial sea or internal waters of a State.
    • Water beyond 200 nautical miles from the coast of a country is known as high sea.
  • High seas are the areas of the ocean for which no one nation has sole responsibility for management.
  • Geographically, the ocean constitutes approximately two-thirds of the planet and the high seas comprise 64 percent of its surface and nearly 95 percent of the ocean’s volume.

The proposed UN High Seas treaty

  • Also referred to as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’, the treaty to deal with Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction has been under discussion for several years.
  • The proposed treaty concerns the ocean existing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) that lie from the coast of a country to about 200 nautical miles into the sea (Countries have special rights for exploration till 200 nautical miles).
  • The treaty was to be negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982.

Key features

  • Includes various aspects of marine conservation
    • Some aspects of negotiations included:
      • establishing marine protected areas to put limits on certain activities,
      • environmental impact assessments or clearances for sustainability of works,
      • financial support to countries and
      • sharing other scientific knowledge.
  • Rights of companies engaged in exploration activities in the high seas
    • A key aspect of the agreement is deciding on the rights of companies that undertake exploration for biological resources in the high seas.


  • There is no treaty for conserving the health of vast swathes of the earth’s oceans known as high seas.
  • Hence, a UN resolution in 2017 had decided to address this issue while setting 2022 as the deadline.

Challenges faced by the proposed treaty

  • The pandemic resulted in many delays and the negotiations were not held on many issues.
  • A High Ambition Coalition came about and put the focus on ‘30×30’ goals – protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.
    • The coalition has more than 100 countries including India, US, and UK.
    • This coalition is creating pressure on the leaders to include these goals in any treaty concerning with the conservation of high seas.
  • The negotiating parties have not agreed on the legal nature of this treaty.
    • Many institutions, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature, are demanding this treaty to be legally binding in order to become more effective.
  • Some countries in the Caribbean alleged that richer countries of the Global North did not actively participate until the last few days of the talks.
  • Also, the treaty is facing resistance from countries that engage in deep sea mining of minerals or are heavily invested in fishing.

How are the world’s oceans regulated as of now?

  • Some treaties, along with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), regulate the conduct of actors on the high seas.
    • UNCLOS defines distance of 12 nautical miles (approx. 22 km) from the baseline as Territorial Sea limit and a distance of 200 nautical miles distance as Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) limit.
    • It also created the International Seabed Authority and other conflict-resolution mechanisms.
  • But a treaty dedicated to protecting ocean health does not exist as of now.

Why we need such treaty?

  • Currently, every country has the right to access open seas and there is no treaty specifically dedicated to protecting the ocean health.
    • This has resulted in large-scale drilling and trawling operations for catching fish and other animals for commercial purposes.
  • In June 2022, UN Secretary-General had declared an ocean emergency at the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, citing threats to the world’s oceans.
  • 90% per cent of global warming is occurring in the ocean, according to the NASA website.
  • The effects of ocean warming include sea level rise due to thermal expansion, coral bleaching, accelerated melting of Earth’s major ice sheets, intensified hurricanes, and changes in ocean health and biochemistry.
  • Excessive fishing has increased manifold over the years, and a third of species such as sharks and rays are at the risk of extinction, according to the World Wildlife Fund.


International Relations

Mains Article
30 Aug 2022

Violent crimes in country back to pre-COVID levels: NCRB

 In News:

  • Registered violent crimes increased across India in 2021, after a decrease in these major offences in 2020 due to pandemic-related restrictions.
    • Violent crimes include murder, dowry death, grievous hurt, kidnapping and crimes against children, rape and others.
  • This was revealed by the National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) recent 'Crime in India' report, which includes data for 2021.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About NCRB
  • News Summary (Highlights of the Crime in India report)

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):

  • NCRB is an Indian government agency (headquartered in New Delhi) established in 1986 and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.
  • It was set up based on the recommendation of the National Police Commission, 1977 and a Task force, 1985.
  • It is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data (as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws) as well as serving as a repository of such information to aid investigators in tracing crimes and criminals.
  • NCRB was entrusted with the responsibility for monitoring, coordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project in the year 2009.
  • In 2017, NCRB launched the National Digital Police Portal, which allows police officers to look for a criminal or suspect on the CCTNS database and gives citizens with services such as online complaint filing, etc.
  • Along with the Crime in India report (oldest and most prestigious publication brought out by NCRB), It also publishes - Prisons Statistics India Report.

News Summary - Highlights of the Crime in India report:

  • Overall registered cognisable crimes:
    • The number of overall registered cognisable crimes saw a 7.6% decrease from 66 lakh in 2020 to 60.9 lakh in 2021.
    • The crime rate (crimes per 1 lakh people) also decreased from 487.8 in 2020 to 445.9 in 2021.
    • The decline in overall crimes in 2021 can be attributed to a sharp decrease in cases registered under Section 188 of IPC (disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant).
    • Such cases were registered mainly over violations of COVID-19 norms.
  • Crime rate in States:
    • In 2021, the rate of violent crimes (per 1 lakh people) among major States was the highest in Assam (76.6 violent crimes per 1 lakh people) followed by Delhi and West Bengal.
    • The rate was lowest in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • Crime against women:
    • It rose by 15.3% in 2021 from the previous year, with 4,28,278 cases registered last year.
    • A majority of these cases (31.8 %) fall in the category of “Cruelty by husband or his relatives’’, followed by “Assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty”, kidnapping and abduction and rape (7.4 %).
    • Nagaland stood out with the lowest number and rate (5.5 %) of crimes against women registered in the past three years - 43 in 2019, 39 in 2020 and 54 in 2021.
    • It also had the lowest crime rate against women for 2021 at 5.5 %.
  • Sedition:
    • 76 cases for sedition were registered in 2021 in the country under IPC Section 124A (73 in 2020), of which the maximum (29) was in Andhra Pradesh.
    • For Andhra Pradesh, this was in sharp contrast to 2020, when no sedition case was recorded in the state.
  • Cybercrimes:
    • According to the most recent NCRB report, Telangana (10,303), followed by UP and Karnataka, leads in the number of recorded cyber offences.
    • Also, Telangana has the highest rate of cybercrime (27.3%) in India, followed by Assam and Karnataka.
    • For the second year in a row, Sikkim recorded no cybercrime cases in 2021.
  • Suicide by farmers & Crime against children



Social Issues

Mains Article
30 Aug 2022

Tribe categorisation work delays benefits under SEED

In News:

  • In February 2022, Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) was launched by the Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The implementation of the scheme is still pending as the categorization of communities, to be covered under the scheme, is yet to be completed.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About DNTs (Origin of the term, Meaning, DNTs, NTs, SNTs, etc.)
  • About SEED scheme (Purpose, Components, Budget, etc.)
  • News Summary 

Denotified Nomadic Tribes (DNTs):

  • DNTs are the tribes which were notified as criminal tribes under Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, by the British colonial government.
    • Under this Act, millions of nomadic and semi-nomadic communities were declared criminals and put under continuous surveillance.
  • After decades of facing horrors of this racial Act, they were denotified by the Government of independent India on August 31, 1952.
    • Every year this day is celebrated as Vimukti Diwas or Liberation Day by DNTs across the country.
  • After denotification in 1952, some of these communities were included in Scheduled Tribe (ST), Scheduled Caste (SC) and Other Backward Caste lists because they come from diverse social backgrounds.
  • The DNTs are a heterogenous group engaged in various occupations such as transport, key-making, salt trading, entertaining — acrobats, dancers, snake charmers, jugglers — and pastoralists.

Difference between Nomadic, Semi-nomadic and DNTs:

  • The nomadic tribes maintain constant geographical mobility while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to fixed habitations once a year, mainly for occupational reasons.
  • All nomadic tribes are not DNTs, but all DNTs are nomadic tribes.
  • There are nearly 1,500 nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes and 198 denotified tribes, comprising 15 crore Indians, according to the Renke Commission (2008).
  • These tribes remain socially and economically marginalised even now, depriving many of them of basic human rights.

Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED):

  • The Union government decided to create an umbrella scheme for the empowerment of the above-mentioned communities.
  • Accordingly, the Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs, SNTs &NTs (SEED) was launched in February, 2022.
  • The scheme has been formulated with four components that affect their livelihood.
  • The four components of the SEED scheme are –
    • Educational Empowerment – Free coaching to students from these communities for Civil Services, entry to professional courses like medicine, engineering, MBA, etc.
    • Health Insurance – Through Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana of National Health Authority
    • Livelihoods – To support income generation,
    • Housing – Through Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
  • Expenditure of Rs 200 crore to be spent over five years 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • One important feature of this scheme is the online portal which has been developed by the Department.
    • This portal will ensure seamless registration and will also act as a repository of the data on these communities.

News Summary:

  • In February 2022, Scheme for Economic Empowerment of DNTs (SEED) was launched by the Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • The implementation of the scheme is still pending as the categorization of communities, to be covered under the scheme, is yet to be completed.
  • None of the applications received so far on the SEED’s online portal has been approved yet. The applications are still being reviewed at the state and district levels.

What is the reason behind the delay in implementation?

  • Inconsistencies in terms of categorization of DNTs have been hindering the process of SEED applications.
  • The categorisation of these communities by the Idate Commission left room for inaccuracies as outlined by the commission in its 2018 report.
    • Idate Commission was formed by the Government of India in 2015 to study and prepare state-wise lists of different castes of DNTs.
  • For instance, some communities such as the Banjara were under the SC list in Delhi, the ST list in Rajasthan and the OBC list in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The categorisation of DNTs, NTs and SNTs is essential for the implementation of SEED because there is no schedule in the Constitution providing for their reservation.
Social Issues

Aug. 29, 2022

Mains Article
29 Aug 2022

NDTV: the hostile takeover


  • The article discusses the potential takeover bid of NDTV by Adani Group which evokes the dangers of over-borrowing, the growing clout of large corporates in the media business and the need for media companies to focus on subscription revenues.

The genesis

  • Issuance of convertible warrants: In 2009, RRPR Holdings, owned by the founders of NDTV, Prannoy Roy and Radhika Roy, issued convertible warrants to a firm called Vishwapradhan Commercial Pvt. Ltd. (VCPL), a Reliance group-backed entity, against a loan taken from the latter.
    • As per agreement between RRPR and VCPL , upon conversion, these warrants are convertible to equity shares equal to 99% of RRPR, which had a 29% stake in NDTV and could be exercised at any point in time during the loan tenure, or thereafter
  • About convertible warrants : These are bonds that the investor can exchange for a fixed number of shares at some point in the future. These warrants are given with bonds or preferred stock as an inducement to the investor, because they permit the purchase of the company's common stock at a stated price at any time.
  • Reason to issue convertible warrant: The Roy’s RRPR Holdings seem to have agreed to issue such a warrant since they had to refinance loans taken from the ICICI Bank which was charging an annual interest of 19%.
    • The loan itself was first owed to Indiabulls Finance, which helped fund an open offer by NDTV in 2007.
  • Other deals in agreement: The agreements between RRPR and VCPL included convertible warrants, call options on NDTV shares issued to VCPL’s associates and protective rights such as the right to appoint a director to RRPR, getting prior written approval from VCPL for RRPR and NDTV to raise funds, buyback shares, set up a subsidiary, sell or pledge RRPR’s shares in NDTV etc.
  • Adani’s purchase of VPCL: Now, VCPL and its associates has been bought by AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group company, which converted the warrants into shares in RRPR which triggered an open offer under the Takeover Code.
  • NDTV insistence for SEBI aaproval: Adani’s AMG Media Network Ltd. had given RRPR almost 48 hours deadline to convert the warrants and transfer the shares which ended on 25th Aug, 2022.
    • As per NDTV, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has forbidden Radhika Roy and Prannoy Roy to conduct any securities transactions till the end of November 2022, which also extends this prohibition to all the firms that these two promoters possess and thus urge SEBI approval before Adani takeover.
    • However, this argument doesn’t hold firm ground because the loan agreement predates the SEBI ban and is viewed as a tactic to buy time till November,2022.

Why Adani Group want stake in NDTV

  • Not a hostile takeover: A hostile takeover occurs when a company or a person attempts to take over another company against the wishes of the target company's board or management. However, Adani, as the new owner of VCPL is just exercising the warrants and therefore has 29% stake of NDTV.
  • No intent of gaining control: Adani’s open offer under SEBI rules to buy a further 26% in NDTV at ₹294 a share is far below the current market price of ₹424 a share.
    • If the open offer has to succeed, people should be willing to sell their shares to Adani at 294. But why would they do that when the market price is 30% higher or more.
    • Thus, If Adani wanted to take over, he’d have offered at least as much as the market price of the share, which he hasn’t.
  • Reasons for corporate buying share in media houses: Tycoons typically buy media companies because it gets them influence or it is some sort of philanthropic
    • If it were the second, an easier way would be to just inject funds into a media company through say, preference shares or such instruments and give it the resources to pursue independent journalism.
    • With a 29% stake, however, Adani Group can be a prickle in the side of a company’s management because they can block a certain category of shareholder resolutions even if don’t have a say in the day-to-day affairs of the company. These resolutions need 75% of shareholder votes to pass and are also called special resolutions.
  • Significance of Special resolution: Buyback of shares, loans and investments by a company and appointment of certain directors, etc, requires a special resolution.

What happens next?

  • On its part, NDTV may invoke another clause in the loan agreement which bars VCPL and its associates from purchasing shares of the television company, which will increase their holding to more than 26% in NDTV without the consent of the promoters.
  • However this clause can be tricky to apply as VCPL may say that it is just converting holding in RRPR and hence, not purchasing shares of NDTV. This will be a key point of the litigation.

Effect on Indian media

  • Increased competition: The Adani Group’s entry into the media business (it already has a 49% stake in BQ Prime) is yet another example of the growing dominance of corporations in this sector.
  • Control recital: Companies, often like governments, want to control the narrative. And that narrative will not necessarily serve the interest of the public at large.
  • Undue influence: Due to large and diverse conglomerates own media units and also are in regulated sectors such as energy or telecom, there is a significant conflict of interest which could crimp editorial independence as they wouldn’t want to displease the government. This can happen even if the corporate owner tries to maintain an arm’s length relationship with their media entity.

Way forward

  • Media companies can maintain editorial integrity by cutting down their dependence on sources of revenues which have an embedded element of conflict of interest. Media consumers (readers and viewers) should be at the forefront and subscription revenues the way forward.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
29 Aug 2022

Revisiting the S. Subramaniam Balaji vs Tamil Nadu judgment

In News:

  • The Supreme Court referred to a three-judge Bench a series of petitions seeking a judicial direction that political parties who make wild promises of largesse should also reveal in their poll manifestos where they will get the money to pay for them.
  • The reference is a shift from the court’s own stand in the Subramaniam Balaji vs Tamil Nadu judgment of 2013.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Representation of Peoples Act – RP Act 1950, RP Act 1951, corrupt practices under RP Act 1951
  • News Summary

Representation of Peoples Act

  • Article 324 to 329 of Part XV of the Indian Constitution contains provisions related to the conduct of free and fair elections in India.
  • These provisions empowered Parliament to make laws to regulate the electoral process.
  • In pursuance of these provisions, the Parliament enacted the Representation of the People Act, 1950 and Representation of the People Act,1951.

Representation of the People Act, 1950

  • RPA Act 1950 deals with the following aspects of electoral process:
    • Qualification of voters.
    • Preparation of electoral rolls.
    • Delimitation of constituencies.
    • Allocation of seats in the Parliament and state legislatures.

Representation of the People Act,1951

  • RP Act 1951 was enacted before first general elections. The act provides for the actual conduct of elections in India.
  • It deals with the following aspects of the election
    • Actual conduct of elections;
    • Administrative machinery for conducting elections;
    • Poll;
    • Election offences;
    • Election disputes;
    • By-elections;
    • Registration of political parties.

Corrupt practices as defined under RP Act 1951

  • Section 123 of RP Act 1951 defines the corrupt practices in the electoral process. Following practices have been defined as the corrupt practices:
    • Bribery - Any gift or offer or promise or gratification to any person as a motive or reward
    • Undue influence - any direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right
    • Promoting hatred - The promotion of feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language.
    • Furnishing incorrect information - The publication of any statement of fact which is false in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate or in relation to the candidature.
    • Hiring of vehicle - The hiring or procuring of any vehicle for the free conveyance of any elector to or from any polling station.
    • The incurring or authorizing of expenditure in contravention with the approved limit is also a corrupt process.

News Summary

  • In the 2013 Balaji case judgment, the Supreme Court had held that making promises in election manifestos do not amount to a corrupt practice under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act (RP).
  • The Supreme Court has therefore decided to revisit the Balaji verdict.

Key highlights of the 2013 Judgment

  • The apex court held that:
    • It would be misleading to construe that all promises in the election manifesto would amount to corrupt practice.
    • The manifesto of a political party is a statement of its policy.
    • The question of implementing the manifesto arises only if the political party forms a government.
    • It is the promise of a future government and not of an individual candidate.
  • However, the court agreed that freebies create an uneven playing field.
  • It had asked the Election Commission of India to consult political parties and issue guidelines on the election manifesto and make it a part of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Significance of the current decision of SC to review the 2013 judgment

  • Burden on exchequer and associated worries
    • The court foresees that freebies may create a situation wherein the State government cannot provide basic amenities due to lack of funds and the State is pushed towards imminent bankruptcy.
  • Need for transparent debate
    • The court wants a transparent debate before the three-judge Bench on whether an enforceable judicial order can stop political parties from promising and distributing irrational freebies.
  • Unique in nature
    • This case is unique as the Supreme Court is exploring whether judicial parameters can be set on a purely political act of promising freebies.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
29 Aug 2022

Back to Moon: Nasa set to launch Artemis-1 lunar mission

In News:

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States is set to launch the Artemis-1 mission, which will take humans back to the Moon after more than half a century.
  • Artemis-1 will be NASA's first non-crew mission to the Moon in recent history, paving the stage for the human orbital mission (Artemis-2) and manned landing mission (Artemis 3) in 2025.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About the Artemis-1 mission
  • Why is NASA going back to the Moon?

About the Artemis-1 mission:

  • Formerly known as Exploration Mission-1, Artemis 1 is the first planned uncrewed test flight in NASA's Artemis program which is designed to eventually land humans on the Moon again.
    • The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was NASA's third human spaceflight program (after Project Mercury and Project Gemini), which succeeded in preparing and landing the first humans on the Moon from 1968 to 1972.
  • It is also the first flight of the agency's -
    • Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which will be the most powerful rocket engine ever flown to space, even more powerful than Apollo's Saturn V rocket that took astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
    • The complete Orion spacecraft - a partially reusable crewed spacecraft designed by Lockheed Martin and the European Service Module and manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space.
  • Artemis-1, which will also deploy 10 CubeSat satellites, will test how well SLS and Orion can complete a mission to the Moon and back.
  • The test flight is currently scheduled to launch on 29 August 2022 from the Kennedy Space Center.

Why is NASA going back to the Moon?

  • There is much science/research to be performed on the moon
    • The rock samples collected by Apollo astronauts decades ago taught scientists a lot about Earth's and the moon's geologic history.
    • What today's astronauts can acquire could reveal considerably more.
    • NASA has announced 13 potential landing locations (for Artemis), all in the south pole region, where water ice has been proven deep inside craters that never see sunlight.
    • The sites are among the best in the world for studying lunar geology and understanding and sampling lunar ice.
  • A stepping stone to Mars
    • Mars is at least 200 times farther away from Earth than the moon, creating a huge problem in keeping astronauts safe from things like radiation exposure.
    • On these increasingly difficult missions like Artemis, astronauts will live and work in deep space, developing the science and technology needed to transport humans to Mars.
  • To mark permanent human presence
    • The main goal of Apollo was to beat the Soviet Union to the moon. It was successful, but there was no long-term plan to establish a permanent human presence there.
    • Artemis may witness a slow transition into a permanent human presence on the moon.
  • It has the potential to stimulate the development of new technologies
    • According to NASA, commercial items derived from the space agency's research contribute between $100 million and $1 billion to the US economy each year.
    • Artemis has the potential to stimulate similar breakthroughs (like a reusable spacecraft) and boost the economy.
  • It has the ability to inspire future engineers and scientists
    • The Apollo lunar mission is reported to have inspired thousands of new engineers and scientists.
    • NASA will receive virtually real-time video from the moon's surface via Artemis, which may excite those who are not considering careers in space exploration or engineering.
Science & Tech

Mains Article
29 Aug 2022

Fighting malnutrition with millet: Chandigarh & Odisha show the way

In News:

  • In June 2022, the NITI Aayog, in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme, had published a report titled ‘Take Home Ration – Good Practices across the States/UTs’.
  • The report outlines a number of beneficial and creative techniques that the States and UTs have used to implement the Take Home Ration value chain.

What’s in today’s article:

  • About THR Programme (Origin, Purpose, Value chain)
  • Key highlights of the report by NITI Aayog and WFP
  • About Millets (Govt initiatives to promote Millets & other cereals)

Take Home Ration (THR) Programme

  • In line with the Union government’s persistent efforts to ensure food and nutrition security, India has been implementing the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
  • The THR programme is a part of the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) under ICDS.
    • SNP is provided in two ways – Take-Home Rations and Hot-Cooked Meals at Anganwadi Centres.
  • The THR programme offers fortified rations for use at home for children aged 6 to 36 months as well as pregnant and lactating women.
  • THR aims to fill in the nutrition gap among infants and young children by way of complementary feeding.
  • Under the programme, rations might be given as raw ingredients or in packets that have already been cooked. 

Key Highlights of the ‘Take Home Ration – Good Practices across the States/UTs’ Report:

  • The report, prepared by the NITI Aayog and UN World Food Programme, outlines a number of beneficial and creative techniques that the States/UTs have used to implement the Take Home Ration value chain.
  • Procurement
    • This section highlights various good practices related to procurement adopted by various States and UTs.
    • For instance, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Chandigarh, and Mizoram are procuring THR products through e-tendering for maintaining fair play and transparency.
  • Production Model
    • Decentralized production model increases efficiency for last mile delivery of THR to beneficiaries.
    • In Odisha, Women SHGs are responsible for each of the processes from procurement to the production of the products within defined time limits.
    • In Karnataka, THR is produced by Mahila Supplementary Food Production Centres (MSPCs) led by Women Self-help groups.
  • Product Formulation
    • The THR product must be healthful and enriched with enough ingredients to meet the nutritional requirements of the intended beneficiaries.
    • For example, in Madhya Pradesh, fortified Khichdi premix is made with smaller particles for greater palatability.
    • Beneficiaries in Haryana receive fortified sweetened flavoured milk.
    • The goal is to ensure that the target population accepts and consumes the product.
  • Quality assurance & quality control –
    • Gujarat has implemented inspections throughout the production process at the Amul THR factory to improve the quality of THR.
    • Once the product enters the Anganwadi centres, third-party laboratories gather random samples.
  • Monitoring –
    • To ensure effectiveness of the programme, it is critical to monitor its execution.
    • Jharkhand has adopted a real-time monitoring approach using call centres.
  • Supply chain management –
    • Supply chain management is an important component of the THR value chain.
    • Odisha has adopted the Mo-Chhatua software application and management information system to streamline supply chain management.
    • Similarly, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Telangana have opted for technological solutions.
  • Social and behaviour change communication -
    • For any initiative to have an impact, information, education and communication (IEC) play a pivotal role.
    • Several state governments have designed IEC material showcasing the importance of THR.
    • It includes flyers, flip-books, folk media campaigns, and digital platforms of IVR, and WhatsApp chatbot.

About Millets:

  • Millets are a rich source of Protein, Fibre, Minerals, Iron, Calcium and have a low glycaemic index.
  • India is a major producer of Millets, accounting for 80% of Asia’s production and 20% of global production.
  • Major Millets crops grown in India and their percentage share of production are Pearl Millet (Bajra) – 61% share, Jowar (Sorghum) – 27%, and Finger Millet (Mandua/Ragi) – 10%.

Steps taken by the Govt to popularise Millets and other cereals:

  • The Union government had proposed to the United Nations for declaring 2023 as International Year of Millets.
  • The proposal of India was supported by 72 countries and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 2023 as International Year of Millets in March, 2021.
  • Over 500 Startups are working in Millet value chain with the Indian Institute on Millet Research.
    • More than Rs.6.2 crores has been disbursed to over 66 Startups while about 25 Startups have been approved for further funding.
Social Issues

Mains Article
29 Aug 2022

To boost self-reliance, Rajnath releases third indigenisation list

In News:

  • Defence Minister has approved the third Positive Indigenisation List (PIL) of 780 strategically important Line Replacement Units (LRUs), sub-systems and components which are being manufactured by defence PSU.
  • The indigenisation of the 780 items will be taken up under the ‘Make in India’ category.
    • The category aims to achieve self-reliance by involving greater participation of the Indian industry.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • Indigenisation of Indian Defence Sector – About, background, importance, recent steps taken to promote indigenisation
  • News Summary

In Focus: Indigenisation of Indian Defence Sector

  • It can be understood as the capability to develop and produce defence equipment within the country for the purpose of achieving self-reliance.
  • It helps in reducing the burden of imports.
  • It aims to design, develop and lead the production of state-of-the-art sensors, weapon systems, platforms for the Indian Defence Services.


  • Indian Government is pushing towards defence indigenisation. For this, it has, from time to time, released negative import list/positive indigenisation list.
    • The items on the lists cannot be imported by the Services and should be sourced from within the country.
  • In August 2020, the government notified the first negative import list of 101 items.
  • In May 2021, the government notified the second list, comprising 108 items.
    • It renamed the third list as ‘positive indigenisation list’.

Importance of Indigenisation

  • Economic
    • Despite having the fifth largest defence budget, India procures 60% of its weapon systems from foreign markets.
    • Higher import leads to increase in the fiscal deficit.
  • Employment generation
    • It will help MSMEs involved in the defence manufacturing and will promote start-ups. This, in turn, will generate employment in India.
  • Security
    • India is surrounded by porous borders and hostile neighbours. It needs to be self-sufficient and self-reliant in defence production.
  • Geopolitical
    • Given the current geopolitical scenario after the Ukraine war, the importance of being self-reliant in defence production is more apparent than ever.
    • Self-reliance in Defence manufacturing will also promote India as a defence exporter.
      • Recently, India has signed a $375 million deal to export the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to the Philippines.

Recent steps

  • Change in Defence Procurement Policy(DPP)
    • The policy increased the Indigenous Content stipulated in various categories of procurement by about 10% to support the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
    • It added an additional category Buy (Indian-IDDM) as the most preferred way of defence goods acquisition.
      • IDDM - Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured.
    • Preference has been given to 'Buy (Indian)', 'Buy & Make (Indian)' & 'Make' categories of acquisition over 'Buy (Global)' category.
  • Negative import list/positive indigenisation list
  • Space created for private players
    • Government has incentivised the private sector to invest in defence manufacturing.
    • In this direction, it has relied on transfer of technology, providing a platform for handholding etc.
    • The government recently corporatised the Ordnance Factory Board and converted it into seven DPSUs.
  • Enhanced capital outlays
    • A percentage of the capital outlay of the Defence budget had been reserved for procurement from the domestic industry.
      • Of the ₹1.52 lakh crore capital allocation in this year’s Defence budget, 68% had been reserved for procurement from the domestic industry.
  • Budget 2022-23
    • The annual Budget of 2022-23 announced that:
      • Defence R&D will be opened up for industry, start-ups and academia
      • 25% of the Defence R&D budget has also been earmarked for this purpose.
    • In addition, this year’s budget also announced that an independent nodal umbrella body will be set up for meeting wide-ranging testing and certification requirements.

News Summary

  • The fresh list specifies the timelines beyond which the strategically-important 780 items will be procured only from the domestic industry.
  • The new list comes at a time when the US-led western countries have slapped wide-ranging sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
  • India is faced with the challenge of maintaining high operational military readiness because almost 70% of its defence hardware and software is of Soviet or Russian-origin.
Defence & Security

Aug. 28, 2022

Mains Article
28 Aug 2022

From Oct, subsidised fertilisers to be sold under brand ‘Bharat’

In News:

  • The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has decided to implement One Nation One Fertiliser under the fertiliser subsidy scheme named “Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna” (PMBJP).
  • As a result, from October, all subsidised fertilisers will be sold across the country under a single brand name — ‘Bharat’.

What’s in today’s article:

  • One Nation One Fertiliser Scheme
  • News Summary

One Nation One Fertiliser Scheme

  • Under the scheme, all fertiliser companies, State Trading Entities and Fertiliser Marketing Entities will be required to use a single “Bharat” brand for fertilisers and logo under the Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna (PMBJP).
    • PMBJP is the Centre’s fertiliser subsidy scheme.
  • The single brand name for UREA, DAP, MOP and NPKS etc. would be BHARAT UREA, BHARAT DAP, BHARAT MOP and BHARAT NPK respectively.
  • Also, a logo indicating Fertiliser subsidy scheme namely Pradhanmantri Bhartiya Janurvarak Pariyojna will be used on said fertiliser bags.
    • Under the scheme, companies are allowed to display their name, brand, logo and other relevant product information only on one-third space of their bags.
    • On the remaining two-thirds space, the “Bharat” brand and Pradhanmantri Bharatiya Jan Urvarak Pariyojana (PMBJP) logo will have to be shown.
  • The scheme is aimed at bringing about uniformity in fertiliser brands across the country under the single brand name of ‘Bharat’.

Rationale behind this scheme

  • Government bears the burden of subsidy and it wants to send that message to farmers
    • The maximum retail price of urea is currently fixed by the government, which compensates companies for the higher cost of manufacturing or imports incurred by them.
      • The MRPs of non-urea fertilisers are, on paper, decontrolled.
      • But companies cannot avail of subsidy if they sell at MRPs higher than that informally indicated by the government.
      • In other words, there are some 26 fertilisers (inclusive of urea), on which government bears subsidy and also effectively decides the MRP.
    • The fertiliser subsidy bill of the government is huge and only second to the food subsidy in terms of expenditure.
      • It is expected to be over Rs. 2 lakh crore in 2022-23.
    • Hence, the government possibly felt that farmers should know the financial burden it incurs in providing fertilisers at a cheaper rate.
  • To reduce transport subsidies
    • The government also pays manufacturers freight subsidies- or the cost of ferrying their products to the end-user.
    • The government decides where manufacturers can sell their products under the Fertiliser (Movement) Control Order, 1973.
    • However, due to the freight subsidy provided, manufacturers don’t hesitate to sell across longer distances.
    • Hence, another argument for the launch of single-brand fertilisers is to reduce transport subsidies, estimated to be over ₹6,000 crore per year.
  • To curtail brand-wise demand for fertilisers in specific areas
    • Using freight subsidy, manufacturers were involved in the criss-cross movement of fertilisers for longer distances.
      • A company producing fertiliser in UP was selling it to farmers in Maharashtra and vice versa.
    • This created brand-wise demand for fertilisers in specific areas leading to shortage of fertilisers in other areas.
    • At the same time, local manufacturers also suffered.
    • Hence, it was felt that if manufacturers stop selling urea distinctively under individual brands, there would be no need for Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) to move fertilisers across states.
      • This will ensure uniform availability of fertilizers while reducing the transport subsidy bill.


  • Reduced role of manufacturers
    • The scheme will disincentivise fertiliser companies from undertaking marketing and brand promotion activities.
    • They will now be reduced to contract manufacturers and importers for the government.
      • Any company’s strength ultimately is its brands and farmer trust built over decades.
  • Quality and efficiency might suffer
    • Critics argue that completely commoditising fertilisers could impact their quality.
    • It might discourage manufacturers from bringing newer and more efficient products into the market as there will be less scope for building brand identity.
  • Atmanirbharta in fertilizer sector might be affected
    • The government has expressed targets to become “Atmanirbhar” or self-sufficient in fertilisers, which are currently imported in large proportions.
    • This might take a hit under the new scheme.
  • Increased role of government
    • Currently, in case of any bag or batch of fertilisers not meeting the required standards, the blame is put on the company.
    • But now, that may be passed on fully to the government.

Way forward

  • Experts call for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to farmers and decontrolling the price of fertilisers.
    • While the government has tried DBT in fertilisers on a pilot basis, the massive subsidy targets announced by the government till 2026 don’t seem to indicate a full-fledged rollout of the DBT system soon.
  • The idea should be to empower farmers by giving them a range of choices and motivates manufacturers to make better products.
  • All of this in turn would help reduce the subsidy bill.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 Aug 2022

Russia blocks adoption of N-disarmament text

In News:

  • Russia blocked agreement on the final document of a four-week review of the U.N. treaty - Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • NPT, considered as the cornerstone of nuclear disarmament, is reviewed by 191 signatories in every five years.

What’s in today’s article:       

  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
  • News Summary

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • The NPT is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to foster the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of disarmament.
  • The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.
  • Opened for signature in 1968, the Treaty entered into force in 1970.
  • A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States.
    • South Sudan, India, Pakistan, and Israel have never joined the NPT.
    • North Korea joined the NPT in 1985, but withdrew in 2003.

Key features

  • The Treaty is regarded as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament.
  • the Treaty establishes a safeguards system under the responsibility of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • Safeguards are used to verify compliance with the Treaty through inspections conducted by the IAEA.
  • The provisions of the Treaty envisage a review of the operation of the Treaty every five years.
  • The treaty's term was originally 25 years, but it was extended indefinitely at a review conference in 1995.

NPT: A Success

  • With the adherence of 191 countries, the NPT is close to universal world participation.
  • It remains unique as there is no other international agreement based on a bargain between nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon states.
  • The Treaty facilitates cooperation on peaceful applications of nuclear technology under the watch of the IAEA.
  • It can be credited with embedding the non-proliferation norm that is responsible for keeping the number of countries armed with nuclear weapons lower than ten.

NPT: Failed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons

  • NPT in its present form tries to prevent horizontal proliferation but cannot prevent vertical proliferation.
    • Failure to prevent horizontal spreading can be seen in the case of Iran, Libya and North Korea.
  • There are still almost 16,000 nuclear weapons in existence, many of them on hair-trigger alert and far more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
  • There is no truthful adherence to the treaty. Many countries even after joining NPT continued clandestine (secret) nuclear programmes including Brazil, South Africa, Iran and Iraq.
  • Today NPT has been reduced to a treaty which protects the rights of five nuclear weapon state. These states are contributing to the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons.

News Summary

  • Russia prevented the adoption of a joint declaration following a four-week UN conference on a nuclear disarmament treaty known as NPT.
  • Russia had one key objection on some paragraphs which, according to the Russian officials, were blatantly political in nature.
    • The latest draft text had expressed grave concern over military activities around Ukrainian power plants, including Zaporizhzhia.
      • The shelling around these plants have raised the fears of nuclear radiation due to the possibility of damages to the reactors.
    • Russia was opposed to this paragraph concerning the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, which is occupied by the Russian military.
International Relations

Mains Article
28 Aug 2022

Shah: NIA to have offices in all states before ’24 LS polls

In News:

  • Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Raipur branch office of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • At the occasion, he said that the Central government wanted NIA to become a federal crime investigation agency with offices in all states before the 2024 General Election.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Background (Need for NIA)
  • About NIA (Objectives, Functions, NIA Amendment Act, etc.)
  • News Summary


  • Over the past several years, India has been the victim of large-scale terrorism sponsored from across the borders.
  • A large number of such attacks are found to have complex inter-state and international linkages, and possible connection with other activities like the smuggling of arms and drugs, circulation of fake Indian currency, etc.
  • Hence, a need was felt for setting up of an Agency at the Central level for investigation of offences related to terrorism and certain other Acts, which have national ramifications.
  • Several experts and Committees, including the Administrative Reforms commission in its Report, had made recommendations for establishing such an Agency.

National Investigation Agency (NIA):

  • Accordingly, the NIA Act was enacted in 2008 and the National Investigation Agency was born.
  • The Act gives the NIA powers to –
    • Take Suo motu cognisance of terror activities in any part of India and register a case,
    • Enter any state without permission from the state government, and
    • Investigate and arrest people.
  • At present NIA is functioning as the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India.
  • Jurisdiction – Provisions of the NIA Act extend to the whole of India and also applies to Indian citizens outside the country.
  • Headquarters – New Delhi
  • Nodal Ministry – Ministry of Home Affairs

Functions of NIA:

  • In-depth professional investigation of scheduled offences using the latest scientific methods of investigation and setting up such standards as to ensure that all cases entrusted to the NIA are detected.
  • Ensuring effective and speedy trial.
  • Assist all States and other investigating agencies in investigation of terrorist cases.
  • Build a data base on all terrorist related information and share the data base available with the States and other agencies.

NIA (Amendment) Act, 2019:

  • The 2019 NIA Amendment Act expanded the type of offences that the investigative body could investigate and prosecute.
  • The agency can now investigate offences related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, manufacture or sale of prohibited arms, cyber-terrorism, and offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908.
  • The amendment also enables the Central government to designate sessions courts as special courts for NIA trials.
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA), also passed in 2019, allows an NIA officer to conduct raids, and seize properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities.
    • The NIA does not have to take permission of the Director General of Police of a state.
    • The investigating officer only requires sanction from the Director General of NIA.

News Summary:

  • Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Raipur branch office of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • At the occasion, the Union Home Minister said the NIA is working towards building ties with its foreign counterparts for better coordination in terror investigations.
  • He said that the NIA will have branches in every state by May 2024 and the government has taken several steps in the past three years to make it an almost federal crime investigation agency.
  • Left-wing extremism has shrunk from 120 districts to only 46 in the country.
  • The cases taken up by NIA have a conviction rate of 94% now.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 Aug 2022

National cancer grid goes digital for AI-based care

In News:

  • The Koita Centre for Digital Oncology (KCDO) set up at Tata Memorial Hospital, will promote the use of digital technologies and tools (AI-based) to improve cancer care across India.
  • KCDO was established by National Cancer Grid (NCG) with contributions from Koita Foundation.

What’s in today’s article

  • About National Cancer Grid
  • About Koita Foundation
  • About the Koita Centre for Digital Oncology

About National Cancer Grid (NCG):

  • NCG was established in 2012 as a government of India initiative through the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and its grant-in-aid institution, the Tata Memorial Centre.
  • It aims to create a network of cancer centres, research institutes, patient groups and charitable institutions across India with the objective of developing uniform standards of patient care for -
    • Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer;
    • Providing specialised training and education in oncology and
    • Facilitating collaborative basic, translational and clinical research in cancer.
  • NCG today has over 270 hospitals in its network across India.

About Koita Foundation:

  • Koita Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation founded in 2017.
  • It has two focus areas - non-governmental organisation (NGO) Transformation and Digital Health.
  • As part of Koita Foundation’s Digital Health initiatives,
    • It has partnered with IIT Bombay to establish the Koita Centre for Digital Health and works closely with National Health Authority (NHA) and National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) on their Digital Health initiatives.
    • It has partnered with NCG and Tata Memorial Centre to establish Koita Centre for Digital Oncology, which will promote the use of digital technologies and tools (AI-based) to improve cancer care across India. 

The Koita Centre for Digital Oncology (KCDO):

  • Stats regarding cancer:
    • It is estimated that over 10 lakh new cancer cases are detected in India every year.
    • Cancer care is evolving rapidly and digital tools are becoming indispensable in enhancing cancer care worldwide.
    • At present, the 40 cancer patient registries maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)capture details of about 10% of Indian cancer patients.
    • As the 270 hospitals in the NCG treat about 60% of the country’s cancer patients. The digitisation drive will make data of lakhs of patients available for researchers.
    • The NCG digitisation drive would also help epidemiological studies of cancers that are needed for governments to chart cancer-control programmes.
  • About KCDO:
    • The KCDO has been set up by NCG, when Tata Memorial Centre and Koita Foundation formalised the collaboration by signing an MoU.
    • The KCDO will be critical in driving digital change across the cancer care ecosystem.
      • KDCO will help in digitally storing lakhs of scans of cancer patients.
      • This will assist NCG hospitals in sharing digital health best practices, implementing digital health tools and promoting various shared technological initiatives such as reporting and analytics.
      • This will also enable NCG and NCG hospitals to pilot and adopt new technologies - including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data, automation, cloud, mobile - which will benefit hospitals, doctors, patients and consumers.
      • It will help in embracing digital tools like tele-medicine and remote patient monitoring.
    • KCDO will also partner with academic and research organisations to promote R&D in cancer care.
  • Significance:
    • KCDO can help NCG hospitals adopt the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) platform, which is a key national priority.
    • AI-assisted clinical decision support tools will help improve doctors’ ability to provide better care.
    • The use of healthcare data analytics across hospitals will allow for the tracking and benchmarking of clinical outcomes as well as the effectiveness of various treatment and care pathways.
    • Tele-medicine will help make cancer care more accessible especially in semi-urban and rural areas.


Social Issues

Aug. 27, 2022

Mains Article
27 Aug 2022

Inclusion of climate change in policy is crucial for a strong economy


  • The article discusses the growing pressure to achieve climate-compatible growth as the world copes with the repercussions of legacy emissions.
  • The article also highlights that fiscal and monetary authorities will now have to be cognizant (aware) of the feedback from climate change to the economy and suitably adapt their policy responses.

Risks to Financial Stability due to Climate Change:

  • Climate change poses risks to financial stability in the form of:
    • Physical risks: Caused by extreme and slow onset weather events
    • Transition risks: Caused by changes in policy, legal and regulatory frameworks, consumer preferences and technological development and loss of asset value while transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
  • Climatic events can impact overall financial instability owing to the following:
    • Supply chain disruptions and business continuity problems
    • Decreased labour productivity
    • Lower investment rates
    • Contraction in collateral values, defaults by businesses and households etc.

Global approach to promote green finance

  • Prioritize credit flow: Central banks can guide the flow of finance by restricting the flow of credit to fossil fuel-dependent sectors.
  • Approach: Central Banks also adopt a series of measures and best practices to streamline the flow of green finance.
    • For example, the Bank of Lebanon sets different reserve requirements for loans linked to energy savings.
    • The People’s Bank of China offers positive incentives to commercial banks for extending green credit.
    • RBI approach considers response based on understanding of the risk profiles of banks

India measures to streamline green finance

  • Preferable lending: India includes renewable energy (RE) within priority sector lending (PSL).
  • Global partnerships: In 2021, RBI joined the Network for Greening Financial System, a voluntary group of 116 central banks that promotes the exchange of best practices on green finance.
  • RBI mandate: In recent years, the RBI has moved to acknowledge the risks climate change will pose to financial stability.
  • Survey report: The Report of the Survey on Climate Risk and Sustainable Finance, released by RBI in July, 2022 seeks to understand preferred approaches to identification and disclosure of exposures to climate-related risks, frameworks for management of risks and capacity building within the banking sector.
    • It reflects that RBI prefers to tread carefully by assessing the preparedness of the system rather than indicate its own approach to what a central bank can do.
  • RBI earlier acknowledgement of risks: In 2021, an RBI research paper demonstrated that extreme weather events can elevate inflation as was demonstrated by wheat prices this year.
    • RBI also set up a Sustainable Finance Group to coordinate with other national and international agencies on issues relating to climate change.
    • In 2022, RBI while estimating the exposure of Indian banks to green transition found that direct exposure of public and private banks to fossil fuel-based sectors, i.e. electricity, chemicals, and automobiles may be concerning.
    • RBI also noted that major private banks have not discussed the risks and opportunities related to climate change and sustainability which can be bad news for the government’s ambition to decarbonize the economy.

RBI challenges in mainstreaming green finance

  • India’s differentiated position in the climate change battle: Rich countries and their institutions are marching ahead with their agenda of net zero emissions by 2050, which can hamper India’s developmental challenges in near future.
  • RBI fixed mandate: The RBI is bound by a mandate fixed by the legislative and preamble to the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. It states that monetary policy’s “primary” objective is price stability, “while keeping in mind the objective of growth”. This could skew RBI’s attempts to foster a green financing compact within the Indian financial system.

Way forward

  • Changes in climate-related policies: Climate related mitigation policies could include reduction in financial valuation or downgrade in credit ratings of businesses adversely affecting the climate or introduction of subsidies to encourage the use of energy efficient goods/processes.
  • Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD): To overcome climate-related risk, TCFD is an international standard for climate-related risk disclosure. It could be a good starting point for all stakeholders including investors and regulators and to bridge the asymmetric information barriers between banks and investors.
  • Capacity building and training: The training linking climate change and finance across the board including senior management can potentially foster a culture of integrating climate change in all decision making.
  • Mitigating risks: The risk to public borrowing from declining fossil fuel revenue also needs to be established.
  • Forward-looking tools: Stress testing, climate scenario analysis etc. are forward looking tools which are used to assess the true risks of climate change rather than existing tools that are largely based on historical data, and do not capture the true climate change risks.
  • Comprehensive assessment: A full assessment of macro-risks from disinvestment of fossil fuel-based assets requires a clear identification of the horizon for phasing down fossil fuels across sectors and an overall net zero plan for the disclosures to be used objectively is also needed alongside.


Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
27 Aug 2022

SC raises Karnataka iron ore mining ceiling limit

In News:

  • The Supreme Court has raised the ceiling limit of iron ore mining for Bellary, Chitradurga, and Tumkur districts in Karnataka.
  • The court ruled that conservation of the ecology and environment must go hand in hand with the spirit of economic development.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Iron ore Statistics
  • Iron ore in India (Reserves, Production, Challenges)
  • News Summary

Iron Ore statistics:

  • Iron ore is the source of primary iron for the world's iron and steel industries.
  • Almost all iron ore (98%) is converted into pig iron which is further used for steel making which is then used in construction, transportation, energy infrastructure and household appliances.
  • Iron ore is mined in about 50 countries. Australia and Brazil together dominate the world's iron ore exports, each having about one-third of total exports.
    • Australia is the leading global producer of iron ore, accounting for 38% of the total production.

Iron Ore Reserves in India:

  • With the total resources of over 33.276 billion tonnes of haematite and magnetite, India is amongst the leading producers of iron ore in the world.
    • Of the two, haematite is considered to be superior because of its higher grade.
  • About 79% haematite ore deposits are found in the Eastern Sector (Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha & Uttar Pradesh) while about 93% magnetite ore deposits occur in Southern Sector (Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, & Tamil Nadu).
    • Karnataka alone contributes 72% of magnetite deposit in India
  • India is the third-largest producer of iron ore in the world.

Challenges faced by Indian Steel Industry:

  • Despite being the third-largest producer of iron ore, India is far behind when it comes to producing and using specialised steel.
  • The reasons behind this apparent mismatch are mentioned below:
    • Low per capita consumption due to overall poverty
      • Against a world average per capita consumption of 224.5 kgs of steel, India’s was a mere 75 kgs.
      • Meanwhile, China’s per capita consumption stands at 590 kgs.
    • Shortage of power –
      • Steel-making is a power-intensive business, and India is a power-deficit country.
    • Costly coal imports from Australia –
      • India’s relation to coal vis-à-vis iron ore remains inverse.
      • There is much less coal for every tonne of iron-ore mined, which calls for coal imports to keep captive power plants running.
      • Australia and Indonesia are two major countries that supply coal to India.
      • Of these, Australia has been hiking coal prices which directly affects the price of iron and steel in India.

News Summary:

  • The Supreme Court has raised the ceiling limit of iron ore mining for Bellary, Chitradurga, and Tumkur districts in Karnataka.
  • The court added that the situation in the state had “vastly changed” since the time a ban was imposed on mining in these districts in 2011.


  • Acting on reports of rampant illegal mining, the Supreme Court had prohibited all mining activity in Bellary, followed by Chitradurga and Tumkur in August, 2011.
  • The court directed disposal of the accumulated iron ore through the process of e-auction conducted by the Monitoring Committee and also constituted a Special Purpose Vehicle to take mitigating measures.
  • In May 2022, the court after considering petitions, had allowed the “already excavated stock” to be sold directly without resorting to e-auction.
    • The petitions said the e-auctions conducted by the Monitoring Committee had received poor response and sale of iron ore even at the reserve price is dismally low.
  • Subsequently, the court has also allowed to increase the ceiling limit of iron ore mining in the three districts.



Environment & Ecology

Mains Article
27 Aug 2022

By 2030, 50% of power capacity will be from non-fossil sources, India tells UN

In News:

  • India recently submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    • NDCs are the climate action targets to the Paris Agreement.
  • As per the submitted NDC, India will have approximately 50% of its total installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

What’s in today’s article:

  • India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions
  • News Summary 

Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs):


  • Countries have agreed to publicly outline their INDCs for post-2020 climate action to meet Paris Agreement targets, as agreed at the end of the 2015 UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.
  • INDCs/NDCs are the voluntary targets of countries under the Paris Agreement to collectively reach the goal of keeping global warming far below 2°C, preferably 1.5°C, when compared to pre-industry (1850-1900) levels.

India’s first pledge:

  • India’s first pledge had 3 primary targets -
  • According to the Paris Agreement, countries must 'update' their pledges every five years to make larger commitments to reduce GHG emissions.

Revised INDC:

  • India at the COP26 to the UNFCCC held in Glasgow, UK in 2021, expressed to intensify its climate action by presenting to the world 5-set of new targets (Panchamrit) of India’s climate action. 

India’s 8 Goals: India recently submitted its updated NDC. These are -

  1. To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation through a mass movement for ‘LIFE’ (Lifestyle for Environment).
  2. To adopt a more climate friendly path than others at corresponding levels of economic development.
  3. To reduce Emissions Intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, from 2005 level.
  4. To achieve about 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
    1. This will be achieved with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
  5. To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  6. To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change (agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management).
  7. In light of the resource gap, to mobilize domestic as well as new and additional funds from developed nations to implement the aforementioned mitigation and adaptation initiatives.
  8. To build a domestic framework and an international architecture for the rapid spread of cutting-edge climate technology in India, as well as cooperative collaborative R&D for such future technologies.

News Summary:

  • The country’s submission has a total eight goals which include three updates. Remaining five targets, which India submitted as its first NDC in 2015, remained unchanged.
  • This update to India’s existing NDC translates the ‘Panchamrit’ announced at COP26 into enhanced climate targets, after carefully considering national circumstances and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
  • India’s NDC does not commit it to any sector-specific mitigation requirement or action.
  • According to India's submission, the country's goal of obtaining 50% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy will be conditional on international support.
  • The condition serves as a reminder to rich countries of their commitment to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to assist developing countries in transitioning to a low-carbon growth path.
    • Rich countries have yet to donate the pledged sum to the GCF, which is intended to assist underdeveloped countries.
Environment & Ecology

Mains Article
27 Aug 2022

Achieving net zero emissions target can boost India’s GDP, says report

In News:

  • According to the ‘Getting India to Net Zero’ report, India will require an investment of $10.1 trillion from now if it is to achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2070.
    • Net zero emission refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Getting India to Net Zero
  • News Summary

Getting India to Net Zero Report

  • The report is prepared by the High-Level Policy Commission on Getting Asia to Net Zero.
    • The High-Level Policy Commission on Getting Asia to Net Zero was constituted by Asia Society Policy Institute, a New York-based think tank.
  • The report contains new research and modelling as well as recommendations about the policies necessary for the clean energy transition.
  • It also contains insights about how much India could benefit from achieving the Net Zero status.
  • This is the first report of the commission.

News Summary

  • The ‘Getting India to Net Zero’ report has been released by the former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and others in New Delhi.
  • The report acknowledged the significant resources needed for India to transition to a clean economy.

Key highlights of the report

  • Amount of investment needed for making India net zero by 2070
    • Net zero emissions by 2070 would require an economy-wide investment of $10.1 trillion from now.
      • The investment required will be $13.5 trillion if the target is to be met by 2050.
  • Impact on Indian economy
    • Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2070 could boost India’s economy by as much as 4.7% above the projected baseline growth in GDP terms by 2036.
    • It could also create as many as 15 million new jobs by 2047.
      • By reaching net zero by 2050, India could boost annual GDP by as much as 7.3% and create nearly 20 million additional jobs by 2032.
    • Positive economic impacts are driven in part by an improved trade balance of $236 billion due to reduced demand for fossil fuels.
    • Additional finance would free up existing resources to tackle negative impacts of climate policies such as carbon taxes, and to help reskill and upskill workers.
  • India’s energy pathway received appreciation
    • The report appreciated the fact that India is not locked in an energy intensive pathway of growth like China.
    • It further said that India needs to embrace a low carbon growth trajectory.
    • It also highlighted the fact that global events have potential to shape the path of energy transition.
      • The Ukraine war has shown that developed countries such as Germany and Japan are reverting back to fossil use.
    • It is also based on what developed countries are doing.
      • Significant economic as well as technological resources are needed for India to transition to a clean economy.
  • Recommendations
    • End new coal as soon as possible by 2023 and
    • start transitioning from unabated coal power by 2040.
Environment & Ecology

Mains Article
27 Aug 2022

Why the Lumpy Skin Disease continues to spread among cattle?

In News:

  • Several states, including Gujarat and Rajasthan, have been battling the outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a viral infection of cattle.

What’s in today’s article:

  • Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) – About, spread, symptoms, prevalence, spread in India, risk to indigenous breed, govt. response

Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD)

  • LSD is caused by the lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), which is a virus of the capripoxvirus genus.
    • Sheeppox virus and goatpox virus are the other members of the genus capripoxvirus.
  • The LSDV mainly affects cattle — cow and its progeny, and the Asian water buffaloes.
  • According to a 2021 report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, LSD outbreaks occur in epidemics several years apart.
  • As per the report, the existence of a specific reservoir for the virus is not known, nor is it known as to how and where the virus survives between epidemics.

Spread of disease

  • The LSDV spreads through blood-sucking vectors like ticks and mites like houseflies, mosquitoes, etc.
  • It also spreads through contaminated water, fodder and feed.
  • Scientists have been advising isolation of infected animals from the healthy ones in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus.
  • However, there is a problem of feral cattle in India and scientists say these free-ranging cattle could also be a reason for rapid spread of LSD.


  • LSDV attacks the circulatory system of an animal and causes vasculitis or inflammation of blood vessels and lesions in various organs like liver, lungs, spleen, lymph nodes etc.
  • In turn, it causes epidermis, outer surface of the skin, to get separated from dermis – the inner layer of the skin.
  • This, in turn, leads to formation of lumps or nodules on an animal’s body. Fever, increased mucus secretion, loss of appetite etc are among other symptoms.


  • In World
    • According to the FAO report, LSD was long restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. However, over the past decade, it spread to the Middle East and Turkey.
    • From 2015 onward, it has impacted the Balkan (southeast Europe) countries, Caucus (eastern Europe) and Russia.
  • In India
    • LSD entered India, Bangladesh and China in July 2019. Since then, outbreaks of the disease have been reported from 20 Indian states.

Current Spread of Disease in India

  • Since the first LSD case was reported in April this year in Kutch, the disease has spread to 26 of Gujarat’s 33 districts
    • The number of officially reported cases stood at 1.11 lakh and 4281 deaths. Thus, the fatality rate is around 4 percent.
  • In Rajasthan, around 27,000 cattle heads have reportedly succumbed to the virus.

Risk to indigenous breeds

  • Gujrat has the cattles of indigenous breeds like Kankrej, Gir, Sahiwal, etc. It also has a sizable population of exotic/crossbred Jersey and HF cows.
  • Kankrej, the coveted indigenous cattle breed of Gujarat known for being resistant to diseases and parasites, has been the worst hit by LSD.
    • Kankrej bullocks are a prized breed among farmers and loss of any bullock in the mid of Kharif season can affect agricultural yields indirectly.
  • In cases of aggravated symptoms, cows stop producing milk and pregnant cows suffer miscarriages.
    • Hence, the disease can affect the dairy industry which in turn can impact the livelihood and nutritional level of many people in India.

Response of the govt.

  • The Gujrat government has been ring-vaccinating healthy cattle heads in the five-km radius of an outbreak by administering them goat pox vaccine.
    • LSD being a viral disease, there is no specific cure once an animal contracts the virus and therefore vaccination is the most effective tool.
  • Animal husbandry department has been providing free treatment to infected cattle. It has created a helpline number 1962 to extend help.
  • The government has facilitated setting up isolation centres for feral cattle in urban areas and set up a task force to address the issue.


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