Nov. 30, 2023

Mains Article
30 Nov 2023

Stepping Up, Together: India’s G20 Presidency, For the World


  • November 30 marks the completion of one year since India assumed the G20 presidency.
  • On this occasion, it is time to reflect, recommit, and rejuvenate the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam; One Earth, One Family, One Future.

Significant Challenges When India Assumed G20 Presidency

  • Multifaceted Global Challenges
    • When India undertook the G20 presidency, the global landscape grappled with multifaceted challenges, including the difficult recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • There were looming climate threats, financial instability, and the distressing debt situation in developing nations.
  • Declining Multilateralism: At the time India assumed the G20 presidency, there was a noticeable decline in multilateralism, reflecting a diminishing trend in collaborative international efforts.
  • Conflicts and Competition: Conflicts and heightened competition among nations further complicated the global scenario, adding layers of complexity to addressing shared challenges.
  • Impaired Development Cooperation: The adverse effects of conflicts and competition revealed in impaired development cooperation, hindering progress on a global scale.

How Did India Navigate These Challenges as the G20 Chair?

  • Provided an Alternative to Status Quo: Focus on Human Centric Approach
    • As the G20 chair, India tried to offer the world an alternative to the status quo, a shift from a GDP-centric to human-centric progress.
    • India aimed to remind the world of what unites us, rather than what divides us.
  • Focused on Multilateralism
    • With time, the global conversation must evolve, the interests of the few has to give way to the aspirations of the many.
    • This requires a fundamental reform of multilateralism and India took this responsibility as the G20 chair.
  • Employed An Inclusive, Ambitious, Action Oriented and Decisive Approach
    • Inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive, these four words defined India’s approach as G20 president.
    • And the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD), unanimously adopted by all G20 members, is testimony to India’s commitment to deliver on these principles.

Significant Features of India’s G20 Presidency

  • Inclusion of African Union as a Full G20 Member
    • Inclusivity has been one of the core principles of India presidency.
    • The inclusion of the African Union (AU) as a permanent member of the G20 integrated 55 African nations into the forum, expanding it to encompass 80 per cent of the global population.
    • This proactive stance has fostered a more comprehensive dialogue on global challenges and opportunities.
  • Voice of the Global South Summit
    • The first-of-its-kind Voice of the Global South Summit, convened by India in two editions, indicated a new dawn for multilateralism.
    • India mainstreamed the Global South’s concerns in the international discourse and has ushered in an era where developing countries take their rightful place in shaping the global narrative.
  • People’s Presidency and International Attention
    • Inclusivity also featured in India’s domestic approach to G20, making it a People’s Presidency that befits the world’s largest democracy.
    • Through Jan Bhagidari (people’s participation) events, the G20 reached 1.4 billion citizens, involving all states and Union Territories (UTs) as partners.
    • And on substantive elements, India ensured that international attention was directed to broader developmental aims, aligning with the G20’s mandate.
  • G20 2023 Action Plan on SDGs
    • At the critical midpoint of the 2030 agenda, India delivered the G20 2023 Action Plan to Accelerate Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • As G20 chair India emphasised on taking a cross-cutting, action-oriented approach to interconnected issues, including health, education, gender equality and environmental sustainability.
  • Recommendations on DPI for Inclusive Growth
    • India was decisive in its recommendations on digital public infrastructure (DPI), after implementing the revolutionary digital innovations like Aadhaar, UPI, and Digilocker first-hand.
    • Through the G20, India successfully completed the Digital Public Infrastructure Repository, a significant stride in global technological collaboration.
    • This repository, featuring over 50 DPIs from 16 countries, will help the Global South build, adopt, and scale DPI to unlock the power of inclusive growth.
  • Adoption of Green Development Pact
    • India introduced ambitious and inclusive aims to create urgent, lasting, and equitable change.
    • The Declaration’s Green Development Pact addresses the challenges of choosing between combating hunger and protecting the planet.
      • It outlines a comprehensive roadmap where employment and ecosystems are complimentary, consumption is climate-conscious, and production is planet-friendly.
    • In tandem, the G20 Declaration calls for an ambitious tripling of global renewable energy capacity by 2030.
    • Coupled with the establishment of the Global Biofuels Alliance and a concerted push for Green Hydrogen, the G20’s ambitions to build a cleaner, greener world are undeniable.
    • This has always been India’s ethos, and through Lifestyles for Sustainable Development (LiFE), the world can benefit from India’s age-old sustainable traditions.
  • Deliberation on Climate Financing
    • The New Delhi Declaration underscores India’s commitment to climate justice and equity, urging substantial financial and technological support from the Global North.
    • For the first time, there was a recognition of the quantum jump needed in the magnitude of development financing, moving from billions to trillions of dollars.
    • The G20 acknowledged that developing countries require $5.9 trillion to fulfil their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2030.
  • Discussions on Setting Up Effective Multilateral Development Banks
    • Given the monumental resources required for climate financing, the G20 emphasised the importance of better, larger, and more effective Multilateral Development Banks.
    • Concurrently, India is taking a leading role in UN reforms, especially in the restructuring of principal organs like the UN Security Council, that will ensure a more equitable global order.
  • Gender Equality Talks and Formation of a Dedicated Working Group
    • Gender equality took centre stage in the Declaration, culminating in the formation of a dedicated Working Group on the Empowerment of Women next year.
    • India’s Women’s Reservation Bill 2023, reserving one-third of India’s Parliament and state legislative assembly seats for women, epitomises India’s commitment to women-led development.
  • Deliberations on Geopolitical Issues
    • During India’s G20 presidency, India led deliberations on geopolitical issues and their impact on economic growth and development.
    • Terrorism and the senseless killing of civilians are unacceptable, and the world must address them with a policy of zero tolerance.
    • The world must embody humanitarianism over hostility and reiterate that this is not an era of war.
  • Unanimous Adoption of New Delhi Declaration
    • The New Delhi Declaration embodies a renewed spirit of collaboration across these key priorities, focusing on policy coherence, reliable trade, and ambitious climate action.
    • It is remarkable that during India’s presidency, G20 achieved 87 outcomes and 118 adopted documents, a marked rise from the past.


  • During India’s presidency, India achieved the extraordinary, it revitalised multilateralism, amplified the voice of the Global South, championed development, and fought for the empowerment of women everywhere.
  • After a year India hands over the G20 presidency to Brazil with the conviction that India’s collective steps for people, planet, peace, and prosperity, will resonate for years to come.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
30 Nov 2023

UNLF signed peace deal with Centre

Why in news?

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the signing of a peace agreement with the Meitei separatist group United National Liberation Front (UNLF) in Manipur.
  • The Home Minister also expressed the hope that this would encourage other valley-based insurgent groups (VBIGs) to participate in a peace process.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Insurgency in Manipur (about, historical background, Rise of insurgency, reasons, steps taken)
  • News Summary

What is Insurgency in Manipur?

  • About
    • There is an ongoing armed conflict between India and a number of separatist rebel groups in Manipur.
      • This insurgency in Manipur is part of the wider Insurgency in Northeast India which combines elements of a national liberation war as well as an ethnic conflict.
  • Historical background of Manipur
    • Following the brief Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, the Kingdom of Manipur was conquered by Britain.
      • After this war, Manipur kingdom became a British protectorate.
    • Manipur became a part of India in October 1949 and became a separate state in 1972.
  • Rise of insurgency
    • Manipur's incorporation into the Indian state led to the formation of a number of insurgent organisations.
      • These groups demanded the creation of an independent state within the borders of Manipur, and dismissed the merger with India as involuntary.
    • The insurgency problem in Manipur came into existence in the late 1960s and 1970s.
      • There was no problem of insurgency when Manipur merged into India.
    • The first separatist faction, United National Liberation Front (UNLF), was founded in November 1964.
      • Now, the region is infested with many insurgent groups.

What are the Reasons for insurgency in Manipur?

  • Merger with India
    • Meiteis are the majority community of Manipur. Their influence declined after Indian Independence.
    • This led to resentment in a section of Meities about the merger of the State with the Indian Union, which led to the Meitei insurgency from the 1960s.
  • Ethnic conflict
    • Manipur has a diverse ethnic population with Meitis controlling the Valley, Nagas on the surrounding hills and Kukis interspersed in between.
    • This leads to clashes between these communities.
      • Kukis and Nagas of Manipur have overlapping and conflicting territorial interests over almost all the hill districts of Manipur.
      • Similarly, there are competing interests between the Nagas and Meitis.
      • The demand for Nagalim or Greater Nagaland includes the Naga inhabited areas of Manipur. On the other hand, the Meitis want to preserve what has been a single geographic entity for centuries.
  • Lack of socio-economic development
    • Owing to its topographical structure, the state has had problems of economic development and socio-economic transformation for a long period.
    • Over the years, endless corruption, mismanagement of funds and the failure to devolve power to common people have led to the rise of dissatisfaction.

News Summary: UNLF signed peace deal with Centre

  • The Union govt said that the UNLF, a Meitei insurgent outfit, has signed a Peace Agreement with the Government of India and the Government of Manipur.
  • This is the first known instance of a valley-based insurgent group (VBIG) from Manipur entering into a peace pact with the Centre.
    • So far, the VBIGs have never entered into an agreement with the Centre or participated in any peace talks.

Key highlights of the peace deal

  • Although the deal has not been made public, analysts say the agreement at the moment is largely on suspension of operations (SoO).
    • i.e., Both the UNLF and the security forces will not undertake operations against each other.
  • In due course, areas would be identified to build camps for UNLF within the valley where their cadres would stay along with their arms and ammunition under the supervision of the Manipur government and the armed forces.
  • Talks for a final peace accord between the government and UNLF will continue after the SoO arrangements are put in place.

What is the UNLF?

  • About
    • The UNLF was formed on November 24, 1964, and is the oldest valley-based insurgent group.
    • It was formed with the demand of secession from India under the leadership of Arembam Samarendra Singh, who was the general secretary of the group.
    • It was a proscribed group, banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
  • Armed wing of UNLF
    • The UNLF is believed to have received its initial training from the NSCN (IM), the largest Naga insurgent group.
    • Its armed wing, the Manipur People’s Army, was formed in 1990.
    • There are now two factions of the UNLF and jointly, government estimates place the number of cadres at 400-500.
  • Area of operation
    • Its area of operation includes all the valley areas of Manipur, as well as some villages in the Kuki-Zomi hill districts.
    • It has largely been functioning from camps and training bases in Myanmar’s Sagaing Region, Chin state, and Rakhine state with the patronage of the Myanmar military.
    • However, it is now on the backfoot there, with mounting attacks against the military junta by various Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs) and People’s Defence Forces (PDFs).
  • Factions of UNLF
    • Now, there are two factions, one under the chairmanship of Khundongbam Pambei and the other under the chairmanship of NC Koireng.
    • Pambei has been open to talks, and the process to begin ceasefire negotiations goes back to 2020.
    • However, the faction under the chairmanship of NC Koireng has stayed away from talks.

Current status

  • One faction opposed to the talks
    • The UNLF faction under Koireng continues to be opposed to talks.
  • Manipur government withdrew from the Suspension of Operations (SoO) in March 2023
    • A tripartite Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement between the Centre, Manipur state and the Kuki-Zomi insurgent groups had been reached in 2008.
    • The primary objective of this pact was to initiate political dialogue.
    • However, in March 2023, the Manipur government pulled out of the agreement with the Zomi Revolutionary Army and the Kuki National Army.
      • It said that they were influencing agitation among forest encroachers.
Defence & Security

Mains Article
30 Nov 2023

Parthenon Sculptures at the centre of the row between Britain and Greece

Why in news?

  • Recently, British PM Rishi Sunak cancelled a meeting with his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis over the status of the Parthenon Sculptures housed at the British Museum.
  • It prompted Athens to accuse London of trying to avoid discussing the contested sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles.
  • Over the years, Greece has repeatedly asked for the sculptures’ permanent return to Athens, but the British Museum have refused to do so.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Parthenon Sculptures

What are the Parthenon Sculptures?

  • About
    • The Parthenon Sculptures at the British Museum are more than 30 ancient stone sculptures from Greece that are more than 2,000 years old.
      • Most of them originally adorned the walls and grounds of the Parthenon temple on the rocky Acropolis hill in Athens.
      • Completed in 432 BC, the temple is dedicated to the goddess Athena and is seen as the crowning glory of Athens’ Golden Age.
    • Made between 447BC and 432BC they consist of:
      • a frieze which shows the procession of the Panathenaic festival (the commemoration of the birthday of the goddess Athena);
      • a series of metopes (sculpted relief panels) depicting the battle between Centaurs and Lapiths at the marriage-feast of Peirithoos; and
      • figures of the gods and legendary heroes from the temple's pediments.
  • History of Parthenon
    • The Parthenon was constructed in the 5th century BC, reflecting the power and dominance of the then city-state of Athens.
    • It became a symbol for the modern nation state of Greece following independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832.
    • When Athens was selected as capital of the new country in 1834, most of the post-Roman period structures on the Acropolis were removed.
      • This was to accommodate further archaeological exploration and to return the site to a state that reflected Greece's idealised 'Classical' past.
    • The Parthenon itself has a complex history. It has been a temple, a church, a mosque and is now an archaeological site.
    • It has sustained significant damage throughout its long history, in particular as a result of an explosion while it was in use as an ammunition store in 1687; this left the Parthenon as a ruin.
  • The Architecture of the Parthenon
    • For ancient Greeks, mathematical ratios formed the basis of ideal standards such as harmony, beauty, and balance.
    • Thus, their architectural styles reflect these mathematical ratios.
    • The Parthenon was designed and built in the Doric style, while also incorporating some Ionic elements.
      • Doric architecture features fluted columns without bases, topped with simple capitals, or tops, that are rectangular.

How did the sculptures reach Britain?

  • They were removed from the Parthenon in the early 19th century by Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin and then-British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire.
  • The marbles were taken to Britain and purchased by the British Museum in 1816.

Were the sculptures stolen?

  • While Athen accused Lord Elgin of theft, he insisted he had permission to remove the marbles from the Ottoman Empire, which used to control Athen at the time.
  • The original letter giving him permission, however, has been lost and its text remains disputed.
  • Athens has been demanding the return of the sculptures since it became independent in the early 1830s.
  • The campaign gained momentum in the 1980s after Greek Oscar-nominated actress Melina Mercouri launched a movement for their return when she was culture minister between 1981 and 1989.

How did Britain respond?

  • The British Museum, the caretaker of the sculptures, claims that they were acquired by Elgin under a legal contract with the Ottoman Empire.
  • Hence, it has rejected the demands of their return.
  • In March, PM Sunak said the marbles are a huge asset to the UK and ruled out changing a law that would allow the sculptures to be given back to Greece.
History & Culture

Mains Article
30 Nov 2023

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA): Conspiracy under PMLA stands only if Listed Crime Involved

Why in News?

  • The Supreme Court ruled that criminal conspiracy will be treated as a scheduled offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 if it is used to perpetrate an offence listed in the Act's Schedule.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002
  • Salient Provisions of the PMLA 2002
  • The Recent SC Verdict on the PMLA

About the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002:

  • It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to prevent money-laundering and to provide for confiscation of property derived from money-laundering.
  • The Act (and Rules) impose an obligation on banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries to verify identity of clients, maintain records and furnish information in prescribed form to Financial Intelligence Unit - India (FIU-IND).

Salient Provisions of the PMLA 2002:

  • Key definitions:
    • Attachment: Prohibition of transfer, conversion, disposition or movement of property by an appropriate legal order.
    • Proceeds of crime: Any property derived or obtained, directly or indirectly, by any person as a result of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offence.
    • Money-laundering: Whoever, directly or indirectly, attempts to indulge or assist another person, or who is actually involved in any activity involving criminal proceeds and portraying it as untainted property.
    • Payment system: A system that enables payment to be effected between a payer and a beneficiary. It includes the systems enabling credit card, debit card, smart card, money transfer or similar operations.
  • Punishment for money-laundering:
    • The Act prescribes that any person found guilty of money-laundering shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment from 3-7 years.
    • Where the proceeds of crime involved relate to any offence under the Offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985, the maximum punishment may extend to 10 years.
  • Adjudicating authority:
    • The Adjudicating Authority is the authority appointed by the central government through notification to exercise jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred under PMLA.
    • It decides whether any of the property attached or seized is involved in money laundering.
    • It shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to the other provisions of PMLA.
  • Appellate tribunal:
    • It is the body appointed by the Government of India and given the power to hear appeals against the orders of the Adjudicating Authority and any other authority under the Act.
    • Orders of the tribunal can be appealed in the appropriate High Court (for that jurisdiction) and finally to the Supreme Court (SC) of India.
  • FIU-IND:
    • It was set by the Government of India in 2004 as the central national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions.
    • FIU-IND is also responsible for coordinating and strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global efforts against money laundering and related crimes.
    • FIU-IND is an independent body reporting directly to the Economic Intelligence Council (EIC) headed by the Finance Minister.

The Recent SC Verdict on the PMLA:

  • Background:
    • The matter before the SC arose out of an appeal filed by a woman (former VC of the Alliance University), who was sought to be prosecuted for money laundering.
    • According to the Enforcement Directorate (ED), she facilitated the accused to use her bank accounts to syphon off the university funds, thereby assisting in the activity connected with the proceeds of crime.
  • The argument of the ED before the SC:
    • Because Section 120B of the IPC is contained in Part A of the Schedule to the PMLA, even if the allegation is of making a criminal conspiracy to commit an act not listed on the Schedule, the offence would become a scheduled offence.
  • The SC’s Verdict:
    • The offence punishable under Section 120­B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code will become a scheduled offence only if the conspiracy alleged is of committing an offence which is specifically included in the Schedule.
    • By ED’s logic, a conspiracy to commit any offence under any penal law which is capable of generating proceeds, can be converted into a scheduled offence by applying Section 120­B of the IPC.
    • The court said the interpretation suggested by the ED would defeat the legislative object of making only a few selected offences as scheduled offences under the PMLA.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
30 Nov 2023

Govt clears Terms of Reference of 16th Finance Commission

Why in the News?

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the 16th Finance Commission.
  • The government has set a deadline of October 31, 2025, for the panel to submit its recommendations.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About Finance Commission (Objectives, Functions, Composition, Reports, etc.)
  • News Summary

About Finance Commission:

  • The Finance Commission is constituted by the President under Article 280 of the Constitution.
  • Objective: To give its recommendations on distribution of tax revenues between the Union and the States and amongst the States themselves.
  • Two distinctive features of the Commission’s work involve:
    • Redressing the vertical imbalances between the taxation powers and expenditure responsibilities of the Centre and the States respectively;
    • Equalization of all public services across the States.

Functions of the Finance Commission:

  • The distribution between the Union and the States of the net proceeds of taxes which are to be, or may be, divided between them and the allocation between the States of the respective shares of such proceeds;
  • The principles which should govern the grants-in-aid of the revenues of the States out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
  • The measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Panchayats in the State on the basis of the recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State;
  • The measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Municipalities in the State on the basis of the recommendations made by the Finance Commission of the State;
  • Any other matter referred to the Commission by the President in the interests of sound finance.

Who Appoints the Finance Commission and what are the Qualifications for Members?

  • As mentioned earlier, the Finance Commission is appointed by the President under Article 280 of the Constitution.
  • The chairman and members of the commission are selected as per the provisions contained in the Finance Commission [Miscellaneous Provisions] Act, 1951 and the Finance Commission (Salaries & Allowances) Rules, 1951.
  • The chairman of the commission is selected from among persons who have had experience in public affairs.
  • Four other members are selected from among persons who:
    • are, or have been, or are qualified to be appointed as Judges of a High Court; or
    • have special knowledge of the finances and accounts of Government; or
    • have had wide experience in financial matters and in administration; or
    • have special knowledge of economics

Reports of Finance Commission:

  • Under Article 281 of the Constitution, the President is required to cause laying of the Finance Commission report before each House of Parliament along with an explanatory note and the action taken by the government on the Commission’s recommendations.
  • It is important to note that recommendations made by the Commission are not binding on the Government.

How are the Recommendations of the Commission Implemented?

  • The recommendations of the Finance Commission are implemented as under:
    • Those to be implemented by an order of the President:
      • The recommendations relating to distribution of Union Taxes and Duties and Grants-in-aid fall in this category.
    • Those to be implemented by executive orders:
      • Other recommendations to be made by the Finance Commission, as per its Terms of Reference.

When was the First Commission Constituted?

  • The First Finance Commission was constituted under the chairmanship of Shri K.C. Neogy on 6th April, 1952.
  • Fifteen Finance Commissions have been constituted so far at intervals of every five years.

Is the Finance Commission unique to India?

  • Most federal systems resolve the vertical and horizontal imbalances through mechanisms similar to the Finance Commission. For example, Australia and Canada.

 What is the Tenure of the 15th Finance Commission?

  • The Finance Commission was required to give its report by 30th October, 2019.
  • Its recommendations made by the commission will cover the five-year period commencing from 1st April, 2020.
  • However, the Fifteenth Finance Commission, which was headed by Shri N.K. Singh, had been given an extended mandate to make recommendations for six years up, till 2025-26.

News Summary:

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the 16th Finance Commission.
  • The ToR include:
    • Disaster management financing
    • Determining revenue to states
    • Increasing the consolidated fund of states
    • Increasing the income of Gram Panchayats
    • Augmenting the Consolidated Fund of a State
    • Supplementing the resources of the Panchayats and Municipalities


Polity & Governance

Nov. 29, 2023

Mains Article
29 Nov 2023

With Mohamed Muizzu’s India-Out Policy, Turkey’s Inroads into Maldives


  • The historical development of the Maldives on the global stage has often been viewed through the lens of the geopolitical rivalry between India and China.
  • However, the recently elected Maldivian president, Mohamed Muizzu, has introduced a new dynamic by selecting Turkey as his initial foreign destination.
  • This visit is anticipated to signify Turkey's growing influence in the region through its diplomatic ties with the Maldives. 

Significance of the Maldives’ New Foreign Policy for Maldives and the Region

  • Challenges the Traditional Narrative
    • Maldives’ move challenges the traditional narrative that framed Maldivian international relations solely within the context of the rivalry between India and China.
    • The decision to prioritise Turkey suggests a willingness to diversify diplomatic and strategic ties beyond the established partnerships.
  • Reflects Evolving Nature of Global Power Dynamics
    • Smaller states of the Subcontinent are becoming attractive geopolitical targets not only for the US, China, and Russia but also for middle powers like Turkey.
    • It reflects the evolving nature of global power dynamics, where smaller nations are actively engaging in strategic manoeuvres to enhance their influence.
  • Turkey’s Increasing Involvement in the Region
    • Muizzu's visit to Turkey is seen as indicative of Turkey's increasing involvement in the region.
    • This highlights a broader trend of middle powers seeking to assert themselves and play a more significant role in shaping geopolitical dynamics.
    • Also, the visit is seen as a reminder of the rising geopolitical friction between Delhi and Ankara.

An Analysis of Changing Dynamics of Geopolitics in the Indian Ocean Region

  • Recognition of Political Agency of Elites in Small States
    • Small states in the Subcontinent are not perceived as pawns anymore in great power rivalries, such as those between Delhi and Beijing.
    • The strategic value of smaller countries is becoming increasingly apparent. For example, the critical location of the Maldives, strategically positioned across the Sea Lines of Communication in the Indian Ocean.
    • Local elites within smaller states have learned to leverage their strategic importance. They actively play external powers against each other for their own benefit.
    • Abdulla Yameen, the president of Maldives from 2013-18, brazenly played the China card against Delhi, his successor, Ibrahim Solih, swung the other way with his India first policy.
    • Muizzu rode the campaign of India Out to claim power in the last general elections held in September 2023.
  • Growing Interests of Rising Middle Powers
    • Another change in the regional environment is the fact that rising middle powers can now match the major powers in their ability to deliver favours to the local elites.
    • Over the last decade, Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have all demonstrated the will and capability to act as external patrons.
    • The support comes politically, economically, and militarily to competing political factions in various states located in Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian Ocean.

Turkey's Evolving Role in Global Geopolitics, Particularly in Relation to India

  • Historical Context with India
    • Turkey's showed goodwill towards the Indian national movement in the early 20th century. However, post-Partition in 1947, this goodwill shifted predominantly towards Pakistan.
    • Consequently, Ankara and Delhi have faced challenges in establishing a fruitful political relationship.
    • The landscape becomes more intricate under the two-decade-long dominance of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
    • His influence has been marked by intensified diplomatic and political support for Islamabad, particularly on the Kashmir issue.
  • An Underestimated Power in the Indian Strategic Discourse
    • Turkey remains an underestimated power in the Indian strategic discourse despite its growing assertiveness in India’s extended neighbourhood, including Africa, the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Subcontinent.
    • Erdogan has leveraged Turkey’s multiple identities to pursue his expansive geopolitical ambitions.
      • Turkey is a founding member of the NATO alliance and straddles a critical location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
      • It is a critical regional power in the Middle East, a self-proclaimed champion of Islamic and Turkic causes across Eurasia, and a dominant military power in the Black Sea and the Caucasus.

Turkey's Inroads into Indian Ocean Islands and Implications for India

  • Maldivian President’s First Visit to Turkey is a Strategic Success
    • Getting Muizzu to travel to Ankara on his first foreign visit underlines the success of Turkey’s growing inroads into the island states of the Indian Ocean. However, this is not a diplomatic success out of the blue.
    • Last year, the Turkish foreign minister made the first-ever visit to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and laid the basis for deeper engagement.
  • Turkey is Exploiting Muizzu’s Plan to Turn Maldives Away from India
    • Turkey has now stepped in to seize the strategic possibilities opened by Muizzu’s plan to turn Maldives away from India.
    • Erdogan rolled out the red carpet in Ankara for Muizzu, accompanied by his foreign, trade, defence ministers and other senior officials.
    • Turkey’s ambition to draw the Maldives into its Islamic orbit was seen prominently in the visit.
    • It remains to be seen if Ankara’s regional Islamist partners, like Doha and Islamabad, will follow Turkey into the Maldives.
  • Defence Cooperation with One and Ending with Other
    • Besides a bilateral trade agreement that was signed in their presence, Muizzu and Erdogan have reportedly discussed a range of other areas of cooperation, including defence.
    • Turkey, with its flourishing arms industry, is well-placed to deliver significant military assistance to the Maldives as Muizzu pushes to end defence cooperation with India.

Ways Ahead for India

  • India Must Remain Patient in Engaging with Maldives
    • While near-term setbacks for India in the Maldives seem inevitable, Delhi must necessarily remain patient in engaging with the critical neighbour.
    • One advantage that India has is India’s geographic proximity to the Maldives which is unlikely to change despite the frequent shifts in the Maldives’ foreign policy.
  • More Engagement with the Domestic Politics of the Maldives
    • The recent election in Maldives has shown that small changes in the domestic balance of power can produce major changes in the external orientation of Maldives.
    • There is nothing to suggest that the current internal dynamic in the Maldives is immune to change.
    • Therefore, India needs more and not less engagement with the domestic politics of the Maldives.
  • India Must Work to Prevent Destabilisation of Maldives by Turkey
    • India must work with its like-minded partners in the Gulf to prevent any potential destabilisation of the Maldives by Turkey.
    • Saudi Arabia and the UAE have often been at the receiving end of Erdogan’s regional assertiveness and have a stake in preventing Maldives from being sucked into a Turkish sphere of influence.
  • India Needs to Increase its Presence in Turkey’s Neighbourhood
    • Delhi cannot limit its defensive strategy to South Asia. Turkey's growth is real, and its influence on the Indian subcontinent will only grow.
    • To enhance India's position in the escalating geopolitical clash with Turkey, Delhi needs to take a more aggressive stance in Ankara's neighbourhood.


  • Patience in diplomatic engagements is often crucial for building and maintaining positive relations.
  • India might face near-term setbacks in its relationship with the Maldives but it must continue to engage with Maldives in the long run.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
29 Nov 2023

RBI’s Move to Increase Risk Weight for Lending

Why in the News?

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to reserve more capital for risk weights.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Background (RBI’s Move, meaning of ‘Risk Weights’, Need for Changes, Challenges, Impact)


  • The RBI has raised the risk weight for consumer loan, credit card exposures, and loans to NBFCs by 25 per cent (now standing at 125 per cent).
    • This would apply to personal loans, excluding housing loans, education loans, vehicle loans and loans secured by gold and gold jewellery.
  • The central bank has expressed worries about the rapid expansion of these types of consumer loans.
  • This adjustment will result in higher costs for both banks and non-banking lenders engaged in consumer lending.

What are ‘Risk Weights'?

  • The central idea behind the RBI’s action is to address the notion of ‘credit risk.’
  • It refers to the risk entailed by a borrower being unable to meet their obligations or defaulting on commitments.
  • ‘Risk weights’ are an essential tool for banks to manage this risk.
  • This metric, in percentage factors, adjusts for the risk associated with a certain asset type.
  • In other words, it is an indicator of the essential holding the lender should ideally have to adjust the associated risk. This is what the RBI has directed be increased.

Why were the Changes Deemed Necessary?

  • While presenting the monetary policy statement in October this year, Governor Shaktikanta Das had flagged concerns about the “high growth” in “certain components of consumer credit.”
  • He advised banks and NBFCs to “strengthen their internal surveillance mechanisms, address the build-up of risks, if any, and institute suitable safeguards, in their own interest.”
  • The governor said these were being closely monitored by the apex banking regulator for “any signs of incipient stress.”
  • Ratings agency Moody’s also put forth that higher risk weights are intended to “dampen lenders’ consumer loan growth appetite.”
    • The unsecured segment, it adds, has grown rapidly in the past few years, exposing financial institutions to a potential spike in credit costs in the event of a sudden economic or interest rate shock.
  • RBI’s latest figures stipulate that unsecured personal loans have increased approximately 23% on a year-over-year basis, as on September 22 this year.
  • Outstanding loans from credit cards increased by about 30% during the same period.
  • Major concerns emerge for loans below Rs 50,000 – these carry the utmost default risk.
    • Delinquencies in this segment stood at 5.4% as of June this year.
    • Ratings agency S&P in their assessment held that borrowers in this segment are often highly leveraged and may have other lending products.
  • According to Moody’s, several NBFCs that until now focused on secured lending categories (such as infrastructure, real estate and vehicle loans) have pivoted to riskier segments.

What are the Chief Concerns?

  • The primary concerns relate to the impact on capital adequacy and the bank’s overall profitability.
  • The latter ensures that banks have sufficient capital to absorb losses arising out of unanticipated events or risks within the business.
  • S&P’s latest report states that slower loan growth and an increased emphasis on risk management will likely support better asset quality in the Indian banking system.
    • It estimates that Tier-1 capital adequacy will decline by about 60 basis points.
    • Tier-1 capital adequacy represents banks’ highest quality of capital as it helps banks absorb losses immediately as and when they occur.
  • According to S&P, the drop may prompt lenders with weaker capital adequacy to raise capital.
  • Unrelatedly, it observed that public sector banks generally have lower capital adequacy than large private sector banks.
  • However, the worst-affected might be finance companies, as their incremental bank borrowing might surge, besides the impact on their capital adequacy, S&P states.

How It will Impact Consumers?

  • As risk weightage increases, banks may become more cautious in extending credit to consumers, especially those with a higher perceived risk.
  • This could result in some individuals finding it more challenging to obtain credit cards or personal loans.
    • Those who are still eligible for credit might face stricter terms and conditions.
  • According to experts, by increasing risk weightage, the RBI aims to manage the growing defaults and risks linked to unsecured loans.
  • Lenders will now need to account for higher credit risk in this loan category, thus making lending pricier.
  • This adjustment will also result in higher costs for borrowers taking out these loans.


  • Unsecured loans, i.e., personal loans, consumer durables, and credit card dues, are growing rapidly.
  • Due to higher risk provisioning, these segments of loans may get marginally costly. The interest rate impact would vary from lender to lender.
  • On the whole, both banks and NBFCs will have to raise funds in a manner that helps them to calibrate their priorities to the new risk weights, while controlling profit margins and risks from non-performing assets (NPAs).

Mains Article
29 Nov 2023

Uttarakhand Tunnel Collapse: A Mountain Moved, 41 Rescued

Why in News?

  • The multi-agency operation to rescue 41 workers trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi finally succeeded after days of ups and downs, when all of them were safely brought out.
  • The massive effort, unprecedented in its magnitude and ambition, ended an ordeal that lasted 17 days and had the entire government machinery (including the PMO) putting its might behind the evacuation exercise. 

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Timeline of Events at the Silkyara Tunnel Collapse
  • Why the Rescue Took so Long - Understanding the Timeline
  • Challenges Faced by the Rescue Teams
  • Key Factors that Worked in Favour of Rescue Teams

Timeline of Events at the Silkyara Tunnel Collapse:


Why the Rescue Took so Long - Understanding the Timeline:

  • Nov 12:
    • 41 workers were trapped inside the Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi after a portion of the under-construction tunnel collapsed following a landslide.
    • The rescue operation started immediately with basic supplies like oxygen, food, and water being given to them.
  • Nov 13: Excavators had been removing debris to carve out a path to reach the workers.
  • Nov 14:
    • Excavators started drilling with the help of auger machinery to fix a wide steel pipe that would help pull out the trapped workers.
    • A team of geologists from the state government and educational institutions had arrived to determine the cause of the accident.
  • Nov 15: Falling debris hampers rescue efforts.
  • Nov 16: A new drilling machine was installed after the National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) was dissatisfied with the first one.
  • Nov 17: Rescuers drill through 24 metres of debris. 4 mm pipes are inserted into the tunnel. However, the rescue efforts are hampered when one of the pipes hits an obstacle.
  • Nov 18 and 19: Drilling remains suspended.
  • Nov 20: Rescuers pushed through a new pipeline to the trapped workers. They had been relying on nuts, puffed rice, chickpeas and other dry food via a smaller pipe.
  • Nov 21:
    • Authorities released the first video of the 41 workers trapped inside the tunnel after a camera was sent into the tunnel through a new pipeline.
    • Two explosions were carried out at the Balakot end of the tunnel. Workers were told to practise yoga and meditation for anxiety.
  • Nov 22:
    • Rescue teams drilled 32 metres of an estimated 60 metres that must be cleared to push through a pipe wide enough for the workers to crawl out.
    • However, drilling was hampered after some iron rods came in the way of the auger machine.
  • Nov 23: Drilling resumed and ambulances and medical support were kept on standby. Rescue operation entered the final stages.
  • Nov 24: Rescue efforts were again hampered after the auger machine faced a hurdle, soon after the drilling resumed.
  • Nov 25: Rescue teams were considering drilling through the last 10 metres of debris manually.
  • Nov 26:
    • Rescuers started drilling vertically from the top of the mountain where the workers were trapped.
    • According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 86 metres will have to be reached through vertical drilling to reach trapped workers.
  • Nov 27: Rescuers brought in rat miners to drill through a narrow pipe by hand and help pull out the trapped workers.
  • Nov 28: All 41 workers were rescued and were taken to hospital for treatment. Rescuers drilled through rocks and debris to finally reach the workers.

Challenges Faced by the Rescue Teams:

  • A minor earthquake on November 16 caused the debris to shift 3 inches inside the tunnel.
  • There was a possibility of the tunnel face collapsing, which could pose a significant setback to the entire operation.
  • Most of the trapped workers recorded high BP which was attributed to anxiety, having been in such a situation for so long.
  • The biggest setback was the breakdown of the auger machine used in drilling an escape passage through the debris.

Key Factors that Worked in Favour of Rescue Teams:

  • It included access to electricity, water, and ample space for the trapped workers. Subsequently, when the supply line was established, the situation became more manageable.
  • The "miracle" that everyone was looking for was realised by a group of workers known as "rat-hole" miners.
    • They were brought in to manually dig through the last stretch of debris - around 12 meters after the auger machine parts were cleared from the escape passage.
    • Once that was done (in less than 24 hours), rescue personnel were able to push inside 800mm pipes, welded together, which served as an escape tunnel through which the stranded workers eventually came out.
Defence & Security

Mains Article
29 Nov 2023

NASA to train an Indian astronaut for ISS mission

Why in news?

  • US space agency NASA will train an Indian astronaut for a mission to the International Space Station by the end of 2024.
  • This was revealed by the organisation’s administrator Bill Nelson during his Delhi visit.
  • He also said another major programme emerging from India-US collaboration would be the NISAR satellite, which is to be launched in the first quarter of 2024.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Indian Space Station
  • NISAR Satellite
  • News Summary

Indian Space Station

  • About
    • India's planned space station is called the Bharatiya Antariksha Station.
    • It will be built by India and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
    • The station is expected to be completed by 2035.
      • Recently, PM Modi called on ISRO scientists to set up an Indian Space Station by 2035 and send an Indian to the moon by 2040.
  • Features
    • The Indian space station will be smaller than International Space Station (ISS).
    • It will have a mass of 20 tonnes (ISS - 450 tonnes and Chinese Tiangong Space Station - 100 tonnes) and will be used for microgravity experiments.
    • It will orbit Earth at an altitude of around 400km.
  • What needs to be done?
    • Develop new technologies
      • India has shown its prowess in satellite development, but constructing and maintaining a space station requires a completely different set of skills.
      • It involves life support systems, radiation protection, and long-term structural integrity.
      • India will need to significantly upgrade its technological capabilities to meet these demands.
  • Increase the budget
    • India will have to seek international collaborations and explore private-sector involvement to ensure adequate funding.
  • Gain expertise in human spaceflights
    • To build and operate a space station, a well-trained team of astronauts is indispensable.
    • India must invest in human spaceflight programs, astronaut training, and the development of necessary infrastructure for crewed missions.

NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)

  • About
    • NISAR, or NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar, is a joint project between NASA and ISRO.
    • When it is launched, NISAR will be the first radar imaging satellite to use dual frequencies.
    • The mission will survey all of Earth's land and ice-covered surfaces every 12 days. It has a three-year duration.
  • Aim
    • The main aim of the NISAR satellite is to observe the most complex natural processes of the planet, including ecosystem disturbances, ice-sheet collapse, as well as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides.
  • Functions
    • NISAR is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory that will measure Earth's changing ecosystems, dynamic surfaces, and ice masses.
    • It will also gather information related to biomass, natural hazards, sea level rise, and groundwater.
  • Working
    • NISAR will use two distinct radar frequencies: L-band and S-band.
    • This will enable it to measure changes on Earth's surface with precision, down to less than a centimeter.

News Summary: NASA to train an Indian astronaut for ISS mission

Key highlights

  • NASA will help train an Indian astronaut
    • That astronaut will fly to the International Space Station at the end of 2024.
    • The astronaut would be selected by ISRO.
    • The selection will likely be from among the four persons who have undergone basic space astronaut training in preparation for the Gaganyaan mission.
    • The science objectives for the two-week long mission will be decided by India.
  • Joint working group set up
    • Both NASA and ISRO have set up a joint working group to explore collaborating on radiation impact studies, micro meteorite and orbital debris shield studies, space health and medicine aspects.
  • Plan to decommission the International Space Station (ISS)
    • NASA plans to decommission the ISS by 2031.
      • The ISS will be removed from its orbit around Earth and plunged into the ocean at a point farthest from human civilization.
    • Commercial replacement facilities are expected to step in before that time, allowing NASA to maintain a constant human presence in low-Earth orbit.


Science & Tech

Mains Article
29 Nov 2023

Guru Nanak Jayanti

Why in news?

  • Guru Nanak Jayanti marks the birthday of the founder of Sikhism and the first of its nine gurus, Guru Nanak or Baba Nanak.
  • Sikhs celebrate this day with a procession called Nagar Kirtan, which sees groups of people sing hymns and visit gurudwaras.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak

  • Birth
    • Guru Nanak was born on Purnima Tithi in the month of Kartik in the year 1469 in Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi in Pakistan.
    • A Gurudwara was constructed at his birthplace, now called Nankana Sahib, situated in the Punjab province of Pakistan.
    • He was a beloved leader among people of all faiths. He spoke against discrimination and other evils of society.
    • He travelled several miles to spread his message of oneness and purity.
  • Spiritual journeys known as udasiya
    • During the first quarter of the 16th century, Guru Nanak embarked on extended spiritual journeys known as ‘udasiya.’
    • According to his own verses, he travelled to various places in the ‘nau-khand,’ representing the nine regions of the earth, which likely included major Hindu and Muslim pilgrimage centres.
      • Nanak is said to have travelled as far as Sri Lanka, Baghdad and central Asia to spread his teachings.
      • His last journey was to Mecca and Madina, the holiest sites in Islam, and he visited sites revered in other religions, too.
  • Founder of Sikhism
    • He was the founder of Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that combines Hindu and Muslim influences.
      • Guru Nanak founded the Sikh faith in the Punjab region of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent in the end of fifteenth century.
      • The disciples who followed his teachings came to be known as Sikhs.
    • He was the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • The Guru Granth Sahib
    • Guru Nanak's words are recorded in the holy text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib, in the form of 974 poetic hymns, or shabd
    • Some of the major prayers include: Japji Sahib; Asa di Var; Sidh Gosht.
  • Guru Nanak’s philosophy
    • The teachings of Guru Nanak emphasise ‘Ik Onkar’ - the oneness of God, equality among all individuals regardless of caste or creed and the importance of selfless service.
    • Guru Nanak’s philosophy revolves around the principles of compassion, honesty and devotion to a life of righteousness.
  • Nanak chose Guru Angad as the second Guru
    • Nanak spent the last years of his life in Kartarpur and his disciples followed a particular routine under him.
      • They arose before sunrise, bathed in cold water and gathered in the temple to recite the morning prayer and sang hymns.
      • Service or sewa was also carried out.
      • It exists to date as a system where people contribute their labour and help the needy through acts such as cooking food for them at the gurudwaras (what is known as ‘langar’).
      • This was followed in other gurudwaras, too.
    • One such disciple was named Lehna. As the Guru’s sons were not inclined towards spirituality, Nanak chose Lehna as the guru after him, giving him the name Angad (meaning ‘of my own limb’).
      • He also had a sizeable following of his own.
  • Death
    • Guru Nanak died on September 22, 1539. A well-known incident from his life is how Hindus and Muslims sought to assert their own rituals.
History & Culture

Nov. 28, 2023

Mains Article
28 Nov 2023

From Nijjar to Pannun: Indian Diplomacy will Have to Be Nimble


  • India's response to allegations of its involvement in the murder of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar and a conspiracy against Gurpatwant Singh Pannun varies significantly.
  • Amidst all developments, it is imperative to assess contrasting reactions and diplomatic approaches adopted by India in response to charges from Canada and the United States.

Canada's Allegations and India's Response

  • Absurdity of Canadian Charge
    • India dismissed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's accusation on the floor of the Canadian Parliament as absurd.
    • Moreover, India openly challenged the lack of evidence supporting the claim.
  • India's Continued Emphasis on Lack of Credible Evidence
    • Despite Canada's stance, India emphasises that no substantial evidence has been presented.
    • India's stance maintains a sceptical outlook toward the allegations.

US Conspiracy Claims and India's Reaction

  • Engagement at the Highest Level
    • The US, through a report in the Financial Times, revealed its concerns about India’s alleged involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate Khalistani leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun who has been declared a terrorist by India.
    • India's response included engagements at the highest level to address the alleged nexus between criminals, gun-runners, terrorists, and others.
  • Curious Formulation of Statement by MEA
    • According to the MEA official spokesperson's statement, India's willingness to investigate the US claims is being explored.
    • This curious formulation is indicative of India’s willingness to investigate US concerns on Pannun, without directly admitting so.
    • India had the option to outrightly dismiss the FT report and the White House’s comments but it did not do so.

Plausible Reason for India’s Different Approach Towards US Stance: 

  • The Financial Times report claimed that the US possesses a sealed indictment in the Pannun case, indicating the presence of evidence rather than mere intelligence.
  • This potentially elevates the seriousness of the charge compared to Canada's intelligence-based allegations.
  • If the US claims of possessing evidence are correct, its charge is more serious and potentially embarrassing than the Canadian allegations based only on intelligence.

India’s Diplomatic Challenges in Tackling the Khalistani Issue

  • To Navigate Diplomatic Complexities Amid Double Standard of Western Nations
    • Both Nijjar and Pannun, declared terrorists by Indian agencies, are associated with promoting Khalistani separatism.
    • India expresses valid concerns about the lack of global attention to this issue.
    • It is unacceptable for India that any country should seek to cover Khalistani separatism under the guise of freedom of expression or not cooperate to have terrorists face the law.
    • The problem is that despite all their rhetoric, the focus of Western countries is only on those who indulge in violence against their interests.
    • The purpose of Indian diplomacy is to navigate this difficult duplicitous and amoral terrain to pursue national interests.
  • Address Intimidation of Indian Diplomats and No Action by Western Countries
    • Khalistani groups have crossed redlines and have even sought to intimidate Indian diplomats. However, Western countries have not taken Indian warnings seriously.
    • In some countries, especially Canada, domestic political considerations have been given primacy over Indian concerns.

Steps to Be Taken by India

  • Calibrated Diplomatic Response
    • India should respond through calibrated diplomatic steps to make Western countries aware that their laissez-faire attitude to Khalistani separatists and their activities is not acceptable.
    • The decision to ask Canada to reduce its diplomatic staff in India is within the ambit of such diplomatic action.
  • Regularly Monitor Khalistani Activities Abroad
    • It is incumbent on India’s security agencies and diplomatic establishment to monitor the activities of Khalistani support groups abroad. Two specific areas of these groups need special attention.
    • The first relates to any matter connected with their intervention or interference with India’s domestic process. This would naturally include the promotion of separatist sentiment in Punjab.
    • The second concerns their intimidation of members of the Indian diaspora, especially Sikh communities abroad, to become committed to the Khalistani cause.
    • It would be legitimate for India to bring its concerns relating to the activities of Khalistani groups to the attention of the local authorities and expect their intervention when these Indian redlines are crossed.
  • Avoid Ministerial Comments: India must be aware that bald ministerial statements that it is not its policy to violently target individuals abroad will not carry credibility, especially after the FT report and the White House spokesperson’s comments. 


  • While a foreign country, like Canada, should not just ask for cooperation without providing solid evidence, India should also avoid high pitch statements borne out of nationalism.
  • The rule about not admitting guilt applies to countries, not just people, and Western countries have followed this rule.
  • Going forward, India's diplomacy needs to be flexible because being overly patriotic or using clever phrases will not help much.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
28 Nov 2023

Supreme Court Panel on Manipur Violence

Why in the News?

  • Justice Gita Mittal committee has submitted its interim report to the Supreme Court, in reference to the violence that broke out in Manipur in May, 2023.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Background (Violence in Manipur, Reasons)
  • About Justice Gita Mittal Committee (Motive, Key Findings) 


  • On 3 May 2023, ethnic violence erupted in Manipur between the Meitei people, a majority that lives in the Imphal Valley, and the Kuki-Zo tribal community from the surrounding hills.
  • Violent clashes broke out after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
  • The immediate reason for this violence, however, is a Manipur High Court order directing the state government to recommend to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry by May 29, an ST tag for the community.
    • The petitioners have argued that this community had once enjoyed the ST tag prior to the merger of Manipur with the Indian Union and have sought the restoration of this status.
  • The march was organised by Nagas and Kuki tribals after the Manipur High Court asked the state government last month to send a recommendation to the Centre within four weeks on the demand for ST status by the Meitei community.
  • According to government figures, more than 175 people have been killed in the violence.
  • State records show that 94 bodies are lying unclaimed in the three big mortuaries in the state – JNIMS and RIMS in Imphal, and the Churachandpur District Hospital.
  • The violence left more than 70,000 people displaced from their homes.

About Justice Gita Mittal Committee:

  • In August 2023, the Supreme Court had appointed a three-member committee, headed by former Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal, to examine the humanitarian aspects of the ethnic violence in Manipur.
  • The committee of three former women high court judges was authorised to submit their reports directly to the Supreme Court.
  • The panel submitted its thirteenth interim report to the Supreme Court recently.

Major Findings of the Committee:

  • The panel has suggested that victims’ relatives should be directed to perform the last rites, failing which the Manipur government should do so instead.
  • The question of claiming and disposing of the bodies has been one of the most sensitive and contentious issues in the ongoing conflict.
  • In its report, the panel is learnt to have said that relatives of the victims are under pressure from civil society organisations not to accept the bodies for last rites.
  • It has said that these organisations are opposing and obstructing the performance of last rites due to “vested interests” and to compel state authorities to meet “unwarranted” demands.
  • The report states that civil society organisations are insisting on “unsuitable spots” for collective burial, which would serve as a source of “constant mounting tensions” between the two communities.
  • The committee has asked the Supreme Court to direct the next of kin to claim the bodies and perform the last rites.
  • Failing this, the committee has also urged the court to “prohibit” civil society organisations from interfering with or obstructing the performance of last rites.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 Nov 2023

Rising Instances of Online Payment Frauds: 4-hour Delay likely in First UPI Transfer over Rs 2,000

Why in News?

  • To curb rising instances of online payment frauds, the government is planning to introduce a minimum time for a transaction beyond a particular amount happening for the first time between two persons.
  • If finalised, the measure could cover a wide range of digital payments through Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) and even the Unified Payments Interface (UPI). 

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Different Types of Digital Payments
  • Rising Instances of Online Payment Frauds
  • What Government is Planning to Curb Online Payment Frauds?

Different Types of Digital Payments:

  • NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer):
    • It is an electronic payment system used for transferring funds from one bank account to another.
    • It operates on a deferred net settlement basis, which means transactions are processed in batches throughout the day.
  • RTGS (Real-Time Gross Settlement): It is a payment system that enables large-value transactions to be processed in real-time.
  • IMPS (Immediate Payment Service): It is an instant payment system that enables customers to transfer funds in real-time, 24/7.
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI):
    • UPI is an instant payment system developed in India, by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
    • The interface facilitates inter-bank peer-to-peer and person-to-merchant transactions. It is used on mobile devices to instantly transfer funds between two bank accounts.
    • UPI transactions rose 427% in volume during 2020 and 2022. In May 2023, a total of 9.41 billion UPI transactions amounting to Rs 14.89 trillion were recorded by the NPCI.

Rising Instances of Online Payment Frauds:

  • According to the RBI’s FY23 annual report, the value and volume of digital frauds committed using cards and internet-based payment methods nearly doubled (to 6,659 digital frauds amounting to 276 crore) in the previous financial year.
  • The trigger to formally discuss the issue came after the recent case faced by the Kolkata-based public sector lender UCO Bank when it reported credit of Rs 820 crore to account holders of the bank via IMPS.
    • The case has now been referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

What Government is Planning to Curb Online Payment Frauds?

  • The plan likely includes a possible 4-hour window for the first transaction (to users they have never transacted with before) between two users for digital payments above Rs 2,000.
    • It will be along the lines of NEFT where the transaction happens within a few hours.
  • The users will have four hours after making a payment to someone for the first time to reverse or modify the payment.
  • While the process is expected to add some friction to digital payments, it is necessary to mitigate cybersecurity concerns.
  • The plan is not to just delay or limit the first transaction (which already happens in some shape or form) but to regulate every first transaction between two users, irrespective of their independent past transaction history.



Mains Article
28 Nov 2023

Kambala comes to Bengaluru

Why in news?

  • Recently, Bengaluru held its first Kambala race, with 159 pairs of buffaloes and their jockeys racing through the specially made slush tracks in the city’s Palace Grounds.
  • Kambala has in the past been banned by the Supreme Court. But, the Karnataka govt, keeping its popularity in mind, amended legislation to allow the races to go on.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Kambala

What is Kambala?

  • About
    • It is a folk sport practised in coastal Karnataka districts, especially in regions where Tulu speakers form a majority.
    • In the past, races were hosted by various families and groups in sludgy fields in the days after paddy was harvested.
    • Now, various Kambala Samithis or organising bodies have come up.
    • These Samithis host weekly events from the end of November till the first half of April across Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.
  • Matter of pride
    • Kambala is a matter of prestige for many families, especially from the Bunt community in the coastal areas.
    • Pairs of buffaloes are groomed by them round the year in the hope of winning a Kambala event.
  • Categories in Kambala: It is generally held under four categories.
    • First is Negilu (plough), where light ploughs are used to tie buffaloes for the race. The event is for entry-level animals.
    • The second is Hagga (rope), where buffaloes are raced by jockeys with just a rope tying the pair together.
    • The third category is Adda Halage, in which jockeys stand over a horizontal plank dragged by buffaloes.
      • Thus, unlike Hagga and Negilu, where jockeys run behind the animals, in this, buffaloes drag the jockeys.
    • Kane Halage is the fourth category, where a wooden plank is tied to buffaloes.
      • The plank, on which the jockeys stand, has two holes through which water gushes out as the plank is dragged along the slush tracks.
      • The height to which water splashes determines the winner of the event.

Why was Kambala outlawed by the Supreme Court?

  • Various petitions filed
    • Several organisations, including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), had filed a petition against all traditional sporting events, complaining about animal abuse.
    • The complaint against Kambala was that the buffaloes’ noses are tied with a rope and the animals are whipped continuously during the race, which amounts to cruelty.
  • SC Judgement
    • The SC, which heard these petitions, ruled to ban Jallikattu, Kambala and bullock cart racing in 2014.
      • Jallikattu, also known as eruthazhuvuthal, is a bull-taming sport traditionally played in Tamil Nadu as part of the Pongal harvest festival.
    • The ruling also held that bovine sports were contrary to the provisions of Sections 3, 11(1)(a) and (m) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
      • These sections relate to the duties of persons having charge of animals and define animal cruelty

How was the ban lifted?

  • 2016 notification by the MoEF&CC allowing Jallikattu, Kambala and Bullock Cart Races in other parts of India
    • In January 2016, a notification was issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) prohibiting the exhibition or training of bulls as performing animals.
    • However, an exception was carved in the notification.
      • The exception specified that bulls might still be trained as performing animals at events such as Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu and Bullock Cart Races in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Kerala and Gujarat according to the customs and culture of different communities.
    • This exception was made subject to certain conditions aimed at reducing the suffering of the animals being used for such sports.
  • Amendments brought by the respective state governments
    • At the same time, state governments amended provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to provide an exemption for these events.
    • Though this was challenged, a five-judge Constitutional Bench upheld the amendments made by Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra in May 2023.

Why has Kambala been accused of caste discrimination?

  • Historically, members of the Koraga community, once considered untouchable, were ill-treated before the festival kicked off, with some even made to race instead of the buffaloes.
  • Today too, critics argue, the sport is controlled by dominant caste groups while those considered lower caste end up doing menial jobs during the event.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 Nov 2023

Rat-hole mining

Why in news?

  • Efforts to release 41 workers trapped in the collapsed Silkyara-Barkot tunnel faced another major setback when the auger joint of the machine drilling through the debris broke.
  • As a result, the rescuers spent the last two days cutting through the blade stuck inside the rescue pipes and removing it piece by piece.
  • The rescuers are now planning to drill through the remaining few meters using the practice of rat-hole mining.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Horizontal auger machine
  • Rat-hole mining

Horizontal auger machine

  • About
    • A horizontal auger machine is often called a horizontal boring machine or directional drill.
    • It is a specialised tool to create horizontal bores or underground tunnels without disturbing the surface.
    • It typically consists of a rotating helical screw blade called an auger, attached to a central shaft or drill, which penetrates the material by rotating.
    • These machines are commonly employed in construction, utility installations such as laying pipes or cables, and infrastructure projects.
  • Working
    • For the machine to work, it is positioned at the starting point of the bore, usually on the surface.
    • It consists of a drill head with an auger or a drill string attached to it.
    • The auger at the front of the machine rotates and cuts through the soil, rock, or other materials underground.
      • Hydraulic or mechanical systems power this rotation.
    • As the auger advances, it removes the material from the tunnel, and it is usually flushed out by a drilling fluid or mud pumped through the drill string.
    • This fluid serves to lubricate the drilling process, cool the cutting head, and carry excavated material back to the surface.

What is rat-hole mining?

  • About
    • It is a method of extracting coal from narrow, horizontal seams, prevalent in Meghalaya.
    • The term “rat hole” refers to the narrow pits dug into the ground, typically just large enough for one person to descend and extract coal.
    • Once the pits are dug, miners descend using ropes or bamboo ladders to reach the coal seams.
    • The coal is then manually extracted using primitive tools such as pickaxes, shovels, and baskets.
  • Types
    • Rat-hole mining is broadly of two types.
    • In the side-cutting procedure, narrow tunnels are dug on the hill slopes and workers go inside until they find the coal seam.
      • The coal seam in hills of Meghalaya is very thin, less than 2 m in most cases
    • The other type of rat-hole mining is called box-cutting.
      • In this type, a rectangular opening is made, varying from 10 to 100 sqm, and through that a vertical pit is dug, 100 to 400 feet deep.
      • Once the coal seam is found, rat-hole-sized tunnels are dug horizontally through which workers can extract the coal.
  • Environmental and safety concerns
    • The mines are typically unregulated, lacking safety measures such as proper ventilation, structural support, or safety gear for the workers.
    • Additionally, the mining process can cause land degradation, deforestation, and water pollution.
    • This method of mining has faced severe criticism due to its hazardous working conditions, environmental damage, and numerous accidents leading to injuries and fatalities.
    • Despite attempts by authorities to regulate or ban such practices, they often persist due to economic factors and the absence of viable alternative livelihoods for the local population.

When was it banned, and why?

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned the practice in 2014, and retained the ban in 2015.
  • The NGT observed, “It is also informed that there are umpteen number of cases where by virtue of rat-hole mining, during the rainy season, water flooded into the mining areas resulting in death of many individuals including employees/workers.”
  • The order was in connection with Meghalaya, where this remained a prevalent procedure for coal mining.

Nov. 27, 2023

Mains Article
27 Nov 2023

On Fiscal Consolidation, So Far, So Good


  • The first half of the fiscal year has shown an encouraging fiscal position for the Union government.
  • As the government is expected to meet its fiscal deficit target for the year, it is important to understand the key aspects of the government's financial performance, focusing on revenue and expenditure, fiscal deficit, and the challenges it faces in meeting its targets.

Fiscal Deficit

  • Fiscal deficit is a key indicator of the financial health of a government and is a crucial aspect of public finance.
  • It represents the difference between the government's total expenditures and its total revenues, excluding money from borrowings.
  • In other words, fiscal deficit measures the extent to which a government needs to borrow money to meet its expenses.
  • The fiscal deficit is expressed as a percentage of a country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A higher fiscal deficit relative to GDP indicates a greater need for borrowing.
  • Governments often resort to borrowing to fund public projects, social welfare programs, and other expenditures when their revenues fall short.

The Revenue Performance of the Union Government

  • Growth in Revenue Receipts and Expenditure
    • Government’s revenue receipts grew twice as fast as its revenue expenditure.
    • The provisional data released by the Controller General of Accounts indicates that the government’s revenue receipts grew by almost 20 per cent in the first half.
  • Fiscal Deficit and Capital Spending
    • While the fiscal deficit has widened, this has been on account of the impressive growth in capital spending amidst a sharp moderation in its disinvestment receipts. 

Factors Driving Revenue Growth

  • Surge in Non-Tax Revenues: Revenue receipts did benefit from the 50 per cent surge in non-tax revenues, owing to a higher-than-budgeted dividend surplus transfer by the RBI.
  • Net Tax Revenues Expansion: At the same time, net tax revenues, after transfers to states, also recorded an expansion of 15 per cent. This is impressive considering the back-ended structure of the advance tax instalments.

Analysis of Direct Taxes

  • Corporation Tax Collections: Corporate tax collections now need to rise by just around 5 per cent in the second half to meet the full year target.
  • Income Tax Collections
    • Income Tax Collections can even contract by up to 3 per cent to meet the full-year target.
    • However, if direct taxes do grow by 10 per cent in the second half, collections will exceed the expectations by a sizeable Rs 0.85 trillion.
  • GST and Excise Duties
    • ICRA also expects the central GST inflows to mildly overshoot the budgeted target. Though, union excise duty collections will continue to trail the target.
    • Thus, there seems to be an upside in gross tax revenues of around Rs. 0.5 trillion, 42 per cent of which will be devolved to states.
    • This leaves an additional Rs 0.3 trillion with the Centre. However, this will be offset by an almost equivalent shortfall in disinvestment proceeds.

Expenditure Review of the Union Government

  • On the expenditure side, as against a 7.5 per cent growth target, the Centre’s total spending grew by a sharp 16.2 per cent in the first half
  • Moreover, recent announcements do signal that several allocations need to be enhanced in the supplementary demand for grants.

Key Expenditure Areas of the Government in the First Half

  • Food Subsidy: After evaluating the supplementary economic implications associated with extending the provision of free foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for January-March 2024, which is a component of the five-year extension plan, ICRA projects that the expenditure on food subsidies will surpass the allocated budget by Rs 300-400 billion.
  • LPG Subsidy: The government has raised the subsidy on LPG by Rs 100/cylinder. This is likely to warrant an additional Rs 95 billion this year.
  • Fertiliser Subsidy
    • In October, the Cabinet approved the Nutrient Based Subsidy rates on P&K fertilisers for the ongoing rabi season.
    • Thus, the total fertiliser subsidy requirement to overshoot the budget allocation by Rs 150-200 billion.
  • MNREGA Spending
    • The amount spent on NREGA so far already exceeds the budgetary allocation. ICRA estimates that an additional allocation of Rs 250-300 billion may be required.
    • Together this translates to an additional spending of Rs 0.8-1.0 trillion. However, this sum could be matched by expenditure savings, which have ranged between an estimated Rs 1.1-2.3 trillion in recent years.
  • Offsetting Expenditure
    • On the capex front, considering current trends, capital spending needs to grow by 30 per cent in the second half to meet the full-year target.
    • But it is expected that the momentum of capex may slow down prior to the general elections which could result in the target for the year being missed and this could help absorb a part of the overshooting of expenditure.

Possible Fiscal Risks

  • Impact of Any New Scheme
    • If any new schemes are announced now in the run up to the parliamentary elections, then the actual outgo would only happen once they become fully operational.
    • Thus, the impact on the total expenditure this year is not expected to be material on this account.
  • Risk from Enhance in Entitlement in Existing Schemes
    • Once the model code of conduct is announced, new schemes or a significant change in entitlements under existing schemes may not be possible.
    • This suggests that the key risk at this point is from an enhancement in entitlements under existing schemes, the possibility of which appears low.
    • Regardless, with just about four months left in the year, the fiscal impact of any such announcement would be limited.

Future Challenge: Consolidation Goal

  • Consolidating the government’s fiscal deficit from 5.9 per cent to 4.5 per cent of the GDP in two years entails either a concerted compression of the revenue deficit or bringing down the capex growth from the levels budgeted for the last two years.
  • To avoid the bringing down the capex growth, pre-poll promises that structurally inflate the revenue deficit should be resisted.


  • So far, the consolidation has been good and despite polls on horizon, Centre is on course to meeting its fiscal deficit target.
  • However, as the fiscal year progresses, the Union government might face a balancing act to meet its targets, navigate potential fiscal risks, and address long-term challenges for sustainable financial management.


Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
27 Nov 2023

Cultural Property Agreement (CPA): India-US Work on Pact for Quick Return of Stolen Antiquities

Why in News?

  • India is close to signing an agreement - the Cultural Property Agreement (CPA) - with the United States under which the process for the return of stolen antiquities will be hugely simplified.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Indian Laws Ensuring Repatriation of Antiquities
  • How are Artefacts of Indian Origin Repatriated?
  • Background of the Cultural Property Agreement (CPA)
  • About the Cultural Property Agreement (CPA)
  • Significance of the Cultural Property Agreement (CPA)

Indian Laws Ensuring Repatriation of Antiquities:

  • What is antiquity?
    • The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act (AATA) 1972 defines antiquity as any coin, sculpture, painting, epigraph or other work of art or craftsmanship that has been in existence for not less than 100 years.
      • For manuscript, record or other document which is of scientific, historical, literary or aesthetic value, this duration isnot less than 75 years.
    • The UNESCO 1970 Convention defines cultural property as the one designated by countries having importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science.
  • Evolution of law after independence:
    • All the Union, State and Concurrent Lists of the 7TH Schedule of the Indian Constitution deal with the country’s heritage.
    • The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act was enacted in 1958 and a few incidents of theft of antiquities prompted the government to enact the AATA 1972.
  • Salient provisions of the AATA 1972:
    • No person (other than the central government) can export any antiquity or art treasure.
    • No person can carry on the business of selling any antiquity except in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence granted by the ASI.
    • Every person who owns, controls or is in possession of any antiquity shall register such antiquity and obtain a certificate.

How are Artefacts of Indian Origin Repatriated?

  • Presently, once an artefact of Indian origin is located in a foreign country, its provenance has to be established through documents such as FIRs and pictorial evidence.
  • The objects are then verified by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) - the custodian of all antiquities - in the host country before they can be brought back home.
  • A team of experts from the ASI visits the country and verifies the objects on the basis of their knowledge, iconography and wear-and-tear marks. There is no time limit for this process

Background of the Cultural Property Agreement (CPA):

  • Over the last few years, India has placed a renewed emphasis on repatriation of its heritage, with the Indian PM raising the issue with various world leaders and multilateral agencies during his foreign visits.
  • According to government data, over 400 antiquities have been brought back to India since 2014.
  • The protection and return of cultural property isa priority for India and for the US, and the US has been working closely with the Union Ministry of Culture and the Indian Embassy in Washington on the CPA for close to two years.
  • It was during the Indian PM’s state visit to the US (in June 2023) that the two countries reached an understanding to work on this agreement.
  • Once a country makes a request for an agreement, the request is considered by the White House-appointed Cultural Property Advisory Committee, which makes a recommendation to the Department of State.
    • The next step for India is to have its request considered before this Committee.

About the Cultural Property Agreement (CPA):

  • The agreement imposes import restrictions that stop looted and stolen cultural property from entering the US while encouraging the legal sharing of such objects for scientific, cultural, and educational purposes.
  • How do the import restrictions work?
    • As per the agreement, the US will intercept smuggled goods at the border and return them expeditiously.
    • When objects are seized and forfeited under import restrictions, there is a simplified process for returning objects to the partner country.
    • The partner country does not have to prove the item is theirs. Rather, the US automatically offers it to them for return.

Significance of the Cultural Property Agreement (CPA):

  • A bilateral CPA would help to prevent illegal trafficking of cultural property from India to the US.
  • This will also eliminate key sources of funding for terrorists and transnational organised crime.
  • Instead of India having to prove that the item in question belongs to it, the US will automatically offer it for return once the CPA comes through.
    • The verification stage - which is generally most time-consuming - can also be done away with in many cases.
    • This will simplify the current process of repatriation and ensure early return of antiquities.
  • From this template agreement, India is looking to sign such agreements with several countries where a lot of Indian art objects are believed to have been smuggled.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
27 Nov 2023

Need for an All-India Judicial Service

Why in the News?

  • While delivering the inaugural address at the Supreme Court’s Constitution Day celebrations, President Draupadi Murmu called for the creation of an All-India Judicial Service to recruit judges.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About AIJS (Background, Meaning, Aim, Procedure to Set-up AIJS)
  • Arguments in Favour/Against AIJS (Way Forward)
  • News Summary

About All-India Judicial Service:

  • The idea for All-India Judicial Service was first proposed by the 14th Report of the Law Commission of India in 1958.
  • Under an All-India Judicial Service, district judges can be recruited centrally through an all-India examination and allocated to each State along the lines of the All-India Services such as IAS and IPS.
  • Aim: To ensure a transparent and efficient method of recruitment to attract the best talent in India’s legal profession.
  • Currently, district judges are appointed by the state governor on the advice of chief justice of the high court of the concerned state.

Procedure to set-up an All-India Service:

  • 42ndConstitutional Amendment in 1976 had amended Article 312(1) to empower the Parliament to make laws for the creation of one or more All-India Services.
  • Accordingly, under Article 312(1) of the Constitution, the Rajya Sabha is required to pass a resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting.
  • Thereafter, Parliament can by simple majority amend Article 233 and Article 234, to create an AIJS .
  • The recruitment and conditions which are put forward for persons appointed to All India services can be regulated by the Parliament as it enacted the All India Service Act, 1951.
  • It does not require an amendment of the Constitution, under Article 368.

Arguments in favour of All-India Judicial Service:

  • Judge-to-Population ratio:
    • The 116th report of the Law Commission had recommended that India should have 50 judges per million population as against 10.50 judges (then).
    • Currently, the figure stands at 21 judges in terms of the sanctioned strength.
    • In comparison, the U.S. and the U.K. have 107 and 51 judges per million people, respectively.
    • As of July 2023, the working strength of the subordinate judiciary was 19,858 against the sanctioned strength of 25,246.
    • It means almost 5,000 posts remain vacant.
  • Pendency of cases:
    • In 2023, the total number of pending cases of all types and at all levels rose above 5 crores. 4.3 crore out of 5 crore cases, i.e. more than 85% cases, are pending in district courts.
    • More than one lakh cases are pending for over 30 years.
    • A 2012 report of the National Court Management Systems projected that the number of cases being filed would reach 15 crore in 30 years, requiring 75,000 judges.
  • Absence of career growth:
    • Currently, less than 25 per cent of the judicial officers have a chance of being elevated as judges of High Courts, with the majority of them managing to reach only the rank of district judges towards the end of their professional careers.
    • The remaining 75 per cent quota is fixed for recruitment of HC judges from the Bar Association of India.
    • Through an AIJS, the High Courts and the Supreme Court will have a better talent pool with a younger age profile to choose from.

Arguments against setting up an All-India Judicial Service: 

  • In 2019, a report titled ‘A Primer on the All India Judicial Service’ by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy had highlighted important aspects as to why an AIJS is not an ideal solution for the challenges the Indian Judicial System is facing.
  • Judicial Independence of District Judges:
    • Currently, the independence of District Judges from the State Governments, is guaranteed by the fact that the High Court plays a significant role in the appointment, transfer and removal of District Judges.
    • The 116th report of the Law Commission recommended that appointments, postings and promotions to the AIJS be made by a proposed National Judicial Service Commission consisting of retired and sitting judges of the Supreme Courts, members of the bar and legal academics.
    • The creation of such a body will result in the immense concentration of power in few hands.
  • Representation of marginalized communities in the District and Subordinate Judiciary:
    • The report has highlighted that many of the communities who currently benefit from the State quotas, may oppose the creation of AIJS.
    • This is because the communities recognised as Other Backward Classes (OBC) by State governments may or may not be classified as OBCs by the Central government.
    • While AIJS has been proposed as a solution to lack of representation for the marginalised on the Bench, the report said many States are already reserving posts for marginalised communities and women.
  • Language Barrier:
    • An argument made against the creation of an AIJS is that judges recruited through this process will not know the local languages of the States in which they are posted.
    • This becomes important considering that the proceedings of civil and criminal courts are to be conducted in a language prescribed by the respective State governments.

Way Forward:

  • Over the period of decades, number of States and High Courts have opposed the idea of establishing an All-India Judicial Service.
  • Hence, before the Parliament establishes an AIJS, there is a need to build a broad consensus between the Centre, States and the Judiciary on the topic.
  • In the meantime, attention should be focused on implementing more direct solutions to address the problems of the Indian judiciary.

News Summary:

  • November 26th is observed as Constitution Day to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India by the Constituent Assembly in 1949.
  • While delivering the inaugural address at the Supreme Court’s Constitution Day celebrations, President Draupadi Murmucalled for the creation of an All-India Judicial Service to recruit judges.
  • She said that an All-India Judicial Service will help make the judiciary diverse by increasing representation from marginalised social groups.
    • She spoke on matters including gender and caste representation as well as accessibility to justice.
  • Those who aspire to serve the bench can be selected from across the country to create a larger pool of talent, the President said.
  • The President expressed her desire to support young, talented, and loyal individuals and stated that since there was an all-India examination to become IAS and IPS officers, the same opportunity should be extended to those aspiring to serve in the judiciary.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
27 Nov 2023

Mumbai Indians trade Hardik: How do trades work in IPL?

Why in news?

  • Recently, Hardik Pandya, the famous Indian cricketer, was traded from Gujarat Titans to Mumbai Indian.
  • Both Gujarat Titans are Mumbai Indian are the franchise teams of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
    • The IPL is a men's Twenty 20 cricket league founded in 2007 by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Lalit Modi.
    • The IPL is held annually in India between March and May. The league is contested by ten city-based franchise teams.
    • The IPL's headquarters are in Mumbai.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Trading in IPL

Trading in IPL

  • In the IPL, teams can trade players during the trade window before the auction.
  • The trade window is a crucial time for teams to improve their squads.

What are the types of trade one IPL franchise can do?

  • There are two types of trade: One way trade and Two-way trade.
  • A one-way trade is when a franchise buys one or more players from another IPL team.
    • The example of a one-way trade is of all-rounder and Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya moving to Mumbai Indians.
  • In a two-way trade in which teams swap players.
    • The example of a two-way trade is the one where we saw Rajasthan Royals swapping their top-order batsman Devdutt Padikkal with Lucknow Super Giants pacer Avesh Khan.
  • Player consent is required for both a one-way trade and a two-way trade.

How does the one-way trade of players work?

  • Working
    • If a player is getting an offer from another IPL team, then he can inform his existing team that he is interested in being traded.
    • The decision to sell a player of theirs can come from a franchise too after taking consent from the cricketer.
    • In both situations, a transfer fee is discussed between the player and his current IPL team.
      • E.g., when Hardik Pandya moved from Gujarat Titans to Mumbai Indians, a transfer fee would have been decided by the player and Gujarat Titans.
  • Players right on transfer fee
    • The BCCI has no cap on transfer fees.
    • Players have a right to ask for a percentage of the transfer fees from the team he is moving out from. This will be a one-time payment.
      • The team to which the player is moving, pays the transfer fee to the team which is releasing the player.
    • Once a transfer agreement is signed, it is sent to the BCCI.

Can teams release players and retain players?

  • Teams can release players and they will be part of the auction pool. They can also retain players.
  • For example, Kolkata Knight Riders have retained all-rounders Andre Russell and Sunil Narine.
  • At the same time, KKR have released players like Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan, India all-rounder Shardul Thakur, and New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee.

From where does a team source the money to buy a player who has been traded to them?

  • Source of Money
    • IPL teams earn money from a variety of sources, including:
      • Media rights, Prize money, Ticket sales, Merchandise sales, Brand sponsorships, Player auctions, Player endorsements, Central sponsors, Shirt sponsors, Partnerships.
    • The BCCI also distributes a large portion of money to the franchises each year.
    • IPL teams use this money to pay for players, coaches, and other expenses.
    • Each team had a purse of Rs 95 crores for last year’s mega auction. This year is a mini-auction, with an increase of Rs 5 crore to the overall budget.
      • Hence, the 2024 IPL auction will give each team a budget of Rs. 100 crore.
  • Example of Mumbai Indians
    • Mumbai Indians spent Rs 94.5 crores last year. So, they had only Rs 5.50 crore in their kitty for the upcoming auction.
    • However, MI have released fast bowler Jofra Archer and all-rounder Cameron Green among others.
    • Hence, they will have money in hand to get Hardik on board and bolster the squad in the auction.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
27 Nov 2023

Conference of the Parties (COP) - the world’s biggest climate meeting

Why in news?

  • Tens of thousands will descend on Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), next week to attend the world’s biggest climate negotiation — Conference of the Parties, better known as COP.
  • The 28thedition of COP is scheduled to be held in Dubai.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Conference of the Parties (COP)

Conference of the Parties (COP)

  • COP is the annual United Nations (UN) climate meeting
    • In 1992, at the Rio Earth Summit, 154 countries signed a multilateral treaty called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    • It aimed to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system.
    • The treaty came into force two years later, and since then, countries which are part of the UNFCCC, meet every year at different venues.
    • Today, there are 198 ‘parties’ or signatories of the Convention.
  • COP was a result of a strong belief in the power of international agreements to tackle environmental problems
    • Policymakers of that era believed in a unified commitment to deal with climate change.
    • Their belief was strengthened by the success of:
      • the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer, and
      • a 1991 bilateral agreement between the US and Canada that helped combat acid rain by limiting the emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2).
    • This led to the inception of UNFCCC.
  • The first ever COP took place in Berlin, Germany, in 1995
    • The first edition of COP entailed a discussion on how to implement the UNFCCC.
    • At the meeting, an agreement was reached to meet annually to discuss action on climate change and emissions reductions.
    • In the following two years, another deal was made that placed international obligations on the set of rich and industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by assigned amounts.
    • The agreement would become the Kyoto Protocol as it was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, during the COP-3.
  • COP meetings aim is to review progress towards the overall goal of limiting climate change
    • The annual conference takes place to discuss a global agreement to cut emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the main reason why average global temperatures have been rising.
    • It mostly revolves around negotiations and debates.
    • Sometimes, COP will result in new agreements and treaties, often with the goal of refining targets, agreeing rules or forming binding treaties, like the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Each member country details how they are tackling climate change
    • A crucial part of COP meetings is the review of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
    • An NDC is essentially a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts.
    • It is submitted by those member countries which are also part of the Paris Agreement (2015) and is updated every five years.
  • Paris Agreement (COP 21)
    • The Paris Agreement, also known as COP21, is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
      • It was adopted by 196 parties at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France in December 2015.
      • The agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016.
    • The Paris Agreement's main objectives are:
      • Limit global warming: Keep global warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C
      • Significantly Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2100
      • Support countries: Strengthen countries' ability to deal with the impacts of climate change
      • Provide financing to developing countries to mitigate climate change




Environment & Ecology

Nov. 26, 2023

Mains Article
26 Nov 2023

Blending Sustainable Aviation Fuel in ATF from 2027

Why in News?

  • The National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) has set the initial indicative targets for blending of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with aviation turbine fuel (ATF), setting the stage for the eventual implementation of mandatory blending.
  • The decision is in line with the mandatory phase of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), which will take effect from 2027. 

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • What is the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO)?
  • What is the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)?
  • What is the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC)?
  • What is the ATF and SAF?
  • NBCC’s Recent Decision on SAF

What is the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO)?

  • The ICAO is a specialised agency (est. in 1947) of the UN that coordinates the principles and techniques of international air navigation. Its headquarters are located in Quebec, Canada.
  • It fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.

What is the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)?

  • CORSIA is a global market-based measure designed to offset international aviation CO2 emissions in order to stabilise the levels of such emissions.
    • CORSIA, which does not apply to domestic aviation, would require airlines globally to offset any growth in carbon dioxide emissions beyond the 2020 levels.
  • Offsetting of CO2 emissions will be achieved through the acquisition and cancelation of emissions units from the global carbon market by airplane operators.
  • In 2018, the ICAO adopted Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to implement CORSIA under the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

What is the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC)?

  • NBCC was constituted (in 1960) under the Chairmanship of Minister, Petroleum & Natural Gas to provide overall coordination, effective end-to-end implementation and monitoring of biofuel programmes.
  • NBCC has been active in the implementation of many projects in areas such as Institutional, Housing, Industrial and Environmental, Transportation, Power, etc.
  • Various public welfare projects have also been undertaken and completed by the business, though not using CSR money.

What is the ATF and SAF?

  • Jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF) is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines.
  • ATF is a mixture of a variety of hydrocarbons. Because the exact composition of jet fuel varies widely based on petroleum source, it is impossible to define jet fuel as a ratio of specific hydrocarbons.
  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF)is a fuel that is produced from sustainable feedstocks and has chemistry similar to conventional ATF, which is derived from crude oil. Its carbon footprint is significantly lower than ATF.
  • A committee on SAF constituted by the petroleum ministry had recommended an initial SAF blending mandate of 1% from 2025, and scaling it up over subsequent years in phases.

NBCC’s Recent Decision on SAF:

  • Based on the comments received from the stakeholder, the capacities of SAF plants and projected ATF sales, the following initial indicative blending percentages of SAF in ATF are approved:
    • 1% SAF indicative blending target in 2027 (initially for international flights), and
    • 2% SAF blending target in 2028 (initially for international flights).
  • Using jet fuel blended with SAF is one of the ways through which carriers can keep their emissions under permissible levels.
  • India, while not a participant in the voluntary phases of CORSIA, will have to comply with the mandatory phase starting 2027.
  • While the government appears to be moving towards announcing SAF blending mandates for Indian carriers, excessive technology and production costs to manufacture SAF is a major concern for airlines.
  • It remains to be seen whether the government would roll out any support or incentives for airlines and SAF manufacturers to make the fuel affordable.

Mains Article
26 Nov 2023

Cyber Security, CERT-In & RTI Act

Why in the News?

  • The Central government has exempted the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) from the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About Cybersecurity (Meaning, Cyber-attacks in India, About CERT-In)
  • News Summary (CERT-In exempted from RTI, About RTI Act)

What is Cybersecurity?

  • Computer security, Cybersecurity or Information Technology Security is the protection of computer systems and networks from cyber-attacks that cause information disclosure, theft of or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data.

Cases of Cyber-attacks in India:

  • As per the government data presented in the Parliament, nearly 1.16 million cases of cyber-attacks in India were reported in 2020, marking an average of 3,137 cyber security issues reported every day of the year.
  • The Internet Crime Report by the FBI revealed that India is ranked third in the world among the top 20 countries being victimized by cyber-crimes.
  • At present, India does not have any dedicated cyber security law.

About Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In):

  • CERT-In has been operational since 2004.
  • It is an office within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • It is the nodal agency to deal with cyber security threats like hacking and phishing. It strengthens security-related defence of the Indian Internet domain.
  • In the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008, CERT-In has been designated to serve as the national nodal agency to perform various functions in the area of cyber security
  • It performs following functions in the area of cyber security:
    • Collection, analysis and dissemination of information on cyber incidents
    • Forecast and alerts of cyber security incidents
    • Emergency measures for handling cyber security incidents
    • Coordination of cyber incident response activities
    • Issue guidelines, advisories relating to information security practices, procedures, prevention, etc.

News Summary:

  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has issued a notification stating that Central government has exempted the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) from the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
  • The CERT-In comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • In March 2023, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar had informed Rajya Sabha that the “procedure of inter-departmental consultation” was on to discuss exemption of the CERT-In from the RTI Act.
    • The RTI law empowers the Central government to amend the Second Schedule by including therein any other intelligence or security organisation established by it or omitting therefrom any organisation already specified therein.
  • The CERT-In now joins the list of 26 other intelligence and security organisations, which are already exempted from the purview of the Act.

About Right to Information Act, 2005:

  • Right To Information is derived from the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 of the Constitution.
    • If we do not have information on how our Government and Public Institutions function, we cannot express any informed opinion on it.
  • The basic object of the Right to Information Act is to empower the citizens, promote transparency and accountability in the working of the Government.
  • The Act and its rules define a format for –
    • requisitioning information,
    • a time period within which information must be provided,
    • a method of giving the information,
    • charges for applying and
    • exemptions of information which will not be given.
  • Key Provisions of the RTI Act include –
    • Sec. 4of the Act imposes an obligation on public authorities to maintain its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and form which facilitates the right to information under the Act.
    • Sec. 6of the Act entitles a person desirous of obtaining any information under the Act, to make a request in writing to the Central or State Public Information Officer specifying the particulars of the information sought by him.
    • Sec. 7of the Act requires the Public Information Officer to either provide the information or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in Secs. 8 and 9 within 30 days of receipt of the request.
    • Under Sec.19, if a person does not receive a decision within 30 days or is aggrieved by a decision of the Public Information Officer, he may prefer an appeal to an Officer who is senior in rank to the Public Information Officer in that Public Authority.
    • Exemptions under the Act – the information sought must not be related to defence, national security, or personal details.
  • Before the advent of the RTI act, the disclosure of information in India was restricted by the Official Secrets Act and some other special laws. The RTI Act relaxed many such laws in the country.

Who is Covered under the RTI?

  • The RTI Act, 2005 extends to the whole of India.
  • All bodies, which are constituted under the Constitution or under any law or under any Government notification or all bodies, including NGOs, which are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government are covered.
  • All private bodies, which are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the Government are directly covered.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
26 Nov 2023

PM Modi’s security breach in January 2022

Why in news?

  • The Punjab government has suspended Gurbinder Singh, Superintendent of Police, Bathinda.
  • He was suspended for dereliction of duty over a major breach of security protocol during PM Modi’s visit in January 2022 to Punjab’s Ferozepur district.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Prime Minister’s security Planning (how it is done, different layers of security, contingency plan, ways to deal with spontaneous protests)

How is PM’s security planned?

  • Planning of the PM’s security during any visit involves central agencies and state police forces. Broad guidelines are laid down in what is called the SPG’s Blue Book.
    • SPG (Special Protection Group) is mainly responsible for PM’s security.
  • Three days before any planned visit the SPG holds a mandatory Advance Security Liaison (ASL) with everyone involved in securing the event.
    • This also includes Intelligence Bureau officials in the concerned state, state police officials and the concerned district magistrate.
  • Once the meeting is over, an ASL report is prepared, based on which all security arrangements are made.

What is chalked out during the meeting?

  • The meeting discusses how the PM would arrive (by air, road or rail) and, once he lands, how he would reach the venue (generally by helicopter or road).
    • Inputs of central agencies and local intelligence are taken into consideration.
  • The security of the venue — which involves aspects such as entry and exit, frisking of those coming to the venue, and placing of door frame metal detectors — is discussed.
    • Even the structural stability of the dais is checked.

Different layers of security

  • SPG only gives proximate security.
  • When PM is travelling to any state, it is the responsibility of the state police to ensure overall security.
    • They have the responsibility of intelligence gathering, route clearance, venue sanitisation and crowd management.
  • Central intelligence agencies are responsible for providing inputs about any threat.
    • However, it is the SPG that takes the final call on how the security is to be arranged.
      • The SPG never allows the PM’s movement until the local police give the go-ahead.
  • State police are also supposed to conduct anti-sabotage checks and secure the route by placing not only men on the roads but also snipers on rooftops.
    • The state police also provide a pilot that leads the PM’s cavalcade.
    • If he is likely to stay at a place, an SP-level officer is deputed as camp commandant to ensure security.
    • During public meetings, rallies and road shows, apart from policemen, an SP is deputed to post men in plain-clothes for security.

What happens if plans change suddenly?

  • A contingency plan is always made in advance. That is why the weather report is taken into consideration.
    • If because of bad weather, the PM can’t fly to the venue.
      • So, an alternative route by road is planned in advance, the route is sanitised and security placed on the road even if the PM is supposed to fly.
    • If for any reason the route is found to be not clear, the state police do not give the go-ahead. The visit is cancelled.

What if there are spontaneous protests?

  • Protests are always a threat to any VIP’s visit and thus elaborate planning is made in advance by the state police to thwart them.
  • Generally, local intelligence has inputs on which groups are planning a protest and preventive action is taken.
  • Physical and electronic surveillance is mounted to gather information on such surprises.
    • If there is a planned protest that cannot be stalled, then the route is avoided.


  • On January 5, 2022 the Prime Minister’s cavalcade, on its way to Hussainiwala in Punjab, ran into a blockade by protesters en-route.
  • As a result, the convoy stranded on a flyover in Punjab’s Ferozepur district for around 20 minutes - a major breach of security protocol.
  • On January 13, responding to the PILs filed, the SC had set up a 5-member committee headed by Justice Indu Malhotra to inquire into security lapses.
  • In August 2022, the SC-appointed committee has indicted the then Ferozepur SSP Harmandeep Singh Hans for serious lapses in the PM security case.
    • The committee has also suggested certain remedial measures and safeguards required for the Prime Minister’s security. This includes:
      • Constitution of an oversight committee for periodic revision and updation of the Blue Book
      • holding sensitisation courses for training police officers and
      • security planning for VVIP visits.
Defence & Security

Mains Article
26 Nov 2023

15 years of Mumbai Terror Attack

Why in news?

  • India had witnessed many terror attacks over the years but the one that rocked Mumbai in 2008 was a turning point.
  • 10 Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) gunmen travelled by sea from Karachi to Mumbai and carried out attacks for four days.
  • The ease with which they carried out the attack revealed:
    • significant weaknesses in India's maritime security,
    • flaws in its internal security system, and
    • shortcomings in its counter-terrorism infrastructure and local police.
  • This attack fundamentally transformed India’s strategy, and relationships in the world.

What’s in today’s article?

  • How Mumbai terror attacks changed India’s security infrastructure?
  • India’s strategy game after the attack

How Mumbai terror attacks changed India’s security infrastructure?

  • Soon after the attacks, some key decisions on the security front were taken by the government.
  • These included:
    • tightening of maritime security,
    • fixing of loopholes in the intelligence grid,
    • strengthening of the legal framework to deal with terrorism, and
    • creation of special agencies to probe terror cases.
  • Maritime security revamped
    • Post 26/11, the Indian navy was given overall charge of maritime security.
    • The Indian Coast Guard was given the responsibility for territorial waters and to coordinate with hundreds of new marine police stations that came up along India’s coastline.
    • The government also made it mandatory for all vessels longer than 20 metres to have an Automatic Identification System (AIS).
      • AIS transmits its identification and other information.
  • Intelligence coordination
    • A decision was taken to strengthen the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB’s) Multi Agency Centre (MAC).
    • Primary job of MAC is to coordinate exchange of intelligence between central agencies, the armed forces, and the state police.
    • Its charter too has been expanded to include radicalization and terror ecosystems.
  • Change in laws: UAPA and NIA Act
    • The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) was amended to expand the definition of terrorism.
    • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act was passed by Parliament to create the first truly federal investigation agency in the country.
    • However, the National Counter Terrorism Centre, floated by the then government could not take off as it violated the existing federal structure of policing.
  • Modernisation of police forces
    • Given the spectacular failure of local police, the Centre trained its focus on modernisation of state police forces.
    • More funds were allocated by the MHA to state governments to:
      • make their police stations state-of-the-art,
      • equip them with modern technology,
      • train their policemen to deal with challenges of modern-day policing that included terrorism, and
      • give them better weapons.
    • Apart from this, emphasis was given on the creation of crack commando teams among all police forces.
    • Also, National Security Guard (NSG) established four regional hubs across the country.
  • Cooperation from the West
    • The biggest impact of the 26/11 attacks, however, was the willingness of the West to cooperate with India on matters of security.
      • It was only after the 26/11 attacks, during which American citizens got killed, that the US started seriously engaging with Indian agencies.
    • The US not only provided real time information during the attacks, but also a lot of prosecutable evidence through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that helped India nail Pakistan’s culpability and embarrass it internationally.
  • Isolation of Pakistan
    • The real success was in organising the international community, in isolating Pakistan, and in making counterterrorism cooperation against the LeT effective.
    • The global understanding on the need to deal with Pak-sponsored terrorism helped put Pakistan in the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) grey list in 2018.
    • This forced the country to take action against the terror infrastructure of the LeT and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).
  • Some lacunae remain
    • Despite these successes, gaps in the security grid remain.
    • State police forces continue to remain ill equipped and poorly trained with continued political interference.
    • On maritime security, there are limited options to track ships that do not transmit AIS signals.
    • Also, many of India’s smaller shipping vessels have no transponders.

Ways in which India’s strategy game has played out since Mumbai attacks

  • Pakistan as a perpetrator
    • The fact that victims of those who were killed were from 16 nationalities, apart from India, and another seven countries’ whose citizens were injured, made 26/11 — the first truly global attack on Indian soil.
    • This put the spotlight on Pakistan’s record on terrorism.
  • India’s strategic restraint and its dividends
    • In the immediate aftermath of the 26/11 attack, a debate took place about the kind of action that should be taken.
    • India showed restraint in response as it was felt that more was to be gained from not attacking Pakistan than from attacking it.
    • The surgical strikes after the Uri attack in 2016, or the Balakot air strike in 2019 were possible without much international criticism, only because Delhi had shown strategic restraint in 2008.


Defence & Security
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