May 31, 2023

Mains Article
31 May 2023

Unboxing the ‘export turnaround’ in India’s toy story


  • During 2020-21 and 2021-22, India has become a net exporter of toys, ending a long import dominance.
  • However, whether this turnaround represents a sustained rise in investment or a short-term outcome of protectionism and COVID-19 pandemic-related global disruptions is a matter of debate.

Indian Toy Industry

  • In 2015-16, the industry had about 15,000 enterprises or establishments (organised and unorganised combined).
  • The production stood at ₹1,688 crores using fixed capital of ₹626 crores at current prices and employing 35,000 workers.
  • Registered factories (those employing 10 or more workers regularly) accounted for 1% of the number of factories and enterprises, employed 20% of workers, used 63% of fixed capital, and produced 77% of the value of output.
  • However, during the one-and-half decades between 2000 and 2016, industry output was halved in real terms (net of inflation) with job losses.
  • Domestic market size currently stands at an estimated value of $ 1.5 Bn.
  • Labour-intensive toy categories like dolls, soft toys and board games offer significant manufacturing potential in India due to inherent cost competitiveness and growing demand.
  • The sector is dominated by small & medium sized manufacturers.
  • Over 4,000 toy units in the MSME Sector significantly contribute to both manufacturing and exports to large global & domestic brands.

Indian Toy Industry Share in Global Market

  • India’s exports stand at a mere half-a-percentage point.
  • Between 2014-19, the Indian toy industry witnessed negative productivity growth.
  • Imports accounted for up to 80% of domestic sales until recently. Between 2000 and 2018-19, imports rose by nearly three times as much as exports.
  • But in recent years, the Indian toy industry is expanding its global presence, with increased high-value exports to Middle East and African countries.
  • The Indian toy industry is among the fastest-growing globally, projected to reach $3 Bn by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 12% between 2022-28.

What explains India's Negligible Share in Global Toy Market?

  • Inward-Oriented Industrial Policy
    • Asia’s successful industrialising nations promoted toy exports for job creation, starting with Japan about a century ago, China since the 1980s, and currently Vietnam following in their footsteps.
    • In contrast, India followed an inward-oriented industrial policy in the Planning-era, which sheltered domestic production by providing a “double protection” by imports tariffs and reservation of the product for exclusive production in the small-scale sector known as the “reservation policy.”
    • As a result, Toy manufacturing remained stagnant, archaic, and fragmented, even as imports of modern, safe, and branded toys boomed.

The Export Turnaround and Import Contraction

  • There has been a sixfold increase in Indian toy exports in 2021-22 compared to 2013-14.
  • Toys have been recognised as one of the champion sectors with significant export potential.
  • Toy exports increased from $109 million (₹812 crore) to $177 million (₹1,237 crore) between 2018-19 and 2021-22.
  • Imports declined from $371 million (₹2,593 crore) to $110 million (₹819 crore).

Reason Behind Import Contraction

  • Increased Custom Duty: Imports contracted as the basic custom duty on toys tripled from 20% to 60% in February, 2020.
  • Numerous non-tariff barriers were imposed as well such as production registration orders and safety regulation codes, which contributed to import contraction.

Is the Export Turnaround a sign of Sustained Growth due to govt policies?

  • The turnaround in toy exports is based on data from just two recent years, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is perhaps too premature to claim policy success.
  • The potential for sustaining net exports appears slim as the industry has hardly made sustained investment to boost output and exports.
  • The turnaround does not seem to be the outcome of strengthening domestic investment and production on a sustained basis.
  • Since around 2000, the industry has shrunk with rising imports, until two years ago.

Government’s Policy Initiatives Impact on the Toy industry

  • Impact of “Make in India”
    • The annual value of output and fixed investment at constant prices (net of inflation) after peaking in 2007-08, have trended downwards with considerable fluctuations (except for 2019-20).
    • Apparently, there is no evidence of ‘Make in India’ positively affecting these indicators on a sustained basis.
    • The output of the informal or unorganised sector shrank, though it continues to account for most establishments and employment.
  • Industry De-reservation Effect
    • In 1997, in the wake of liberal reforms, the reservation policy was abolished.
    • New firms entered the organised sector, but only for a while, and productivity growth improved.
    • Despite early positive trends, industry de-reservation failed to sustain output, investment, and productivity growth after 2007-08.

Some Other Government Schemes to Strengthen the Toy Industry

  • Central Government Schemes
    • Scheme For Granting Recognition & Registration to In-House R&D Units
    • Remission Of Duties & Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP)
    • Duty Drawback Scheme
    • Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme
    • Custom Bonded Warehouse Scheme
    • Increase in basic custom duty (BCD) for Electronic Toys from 5% to 15% to encourage domestic manufacturing
  • State Incentives
    • Capital subsidy
    • Stamp duty exemption
    • Interest subsidy
    • Tax reimbursement
    • Electrical duty exemption  

What should be Policymakers’ strategy for a sustainable long-term term industry growth?

  • The policymakers should look beyond simplistic binaries; planning versus reforms.
  • There is a need to examine the ground reality of industrial locations and clusters to tailor policies and institutions to nurture such industries.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
31 May 2023

France Bans Short-Haul Domestic Flights

Why in News?

  • Last week, France announced a ban on all short-haul domestic flights.
  • A month earlier, the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, one of the busiest in Europe, banned private jets and small business planes.
  • There is a growing clamour in Europe for a bigger crackdown on private aviation sector.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • Context (Aviation Ban in France)
  • CO2 Emissions from Aviation Sector (Data, Role of Private Jets, Pollutants involved, etc.)
  • Challenges and Solution w.r.t. Emissions from Aviation Sector

Context (Aviation Ban in France):

  • France, last week, became the first country in the world to impose a ban on short-haul domestic flights.
  • The country brought in a new law, effective from May 23, that bars air travel to destinations that can be covered by up to two-and-a-half hour journey by train.
  • There is growing demand for a wider crackdown on private aviation.
  • Apart from France, the Netherlands, Austria and Ireland urged the European Union to strengthen regulations to discourage travel by private jets in order to reduce CO2 emissions from aviation industry.

CO2 Emissions from Aviation Industry:

  • In 1960, 100 million passengers travelled by air, at the time a relatively expensive mode of transportation available only to a small fraction of the public.
  • By 2019, the total annual world-wide passenger count was 4.56 billion.
  • In 2021 aviation accounted for over 2% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, having grown faster in recent decades than road, rail or shipping.
  • As it stands, the aviation sector produces 900 million CO2 per year, according to International Air Transport Association (IATA).
  • By 2050, if nothing is done to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, that will rise to 1.8 billion tons.
  • Reducing this level to gradually achieve net zero emissions in 2050 poses an enormous technological challenge that the IATA estimates will cost companies around USD 1.55 trillion between 2020 and 2050.

Contribution of Private Jets in CO2 Emissions:

  • Private jets, usually far more inefficient than large commercial airliners, have always been a big eyesore from the climate perspective.
  • In a recent report, it was found that private jets were 5 to 14 times more polluting, per passenger, than commercial planes, and 50 times more polluting than trains.
  • It said private planes could emitting about 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide every hour, while an average person in Europe emits about 8.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in an entire year.

Impact of Emissions from Airplanes:

  • CO2 is the largest component of aircraft emissions, accounting for approximately 70 percent of the exhaust.
  • After being emitted, 30 percent of a given quantity of the gas is removed from the atmosphere naturally over 30 years, an additional 50 percent disappears within a few hundred years, and the remaining 20 percent stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
  • Water vapor is also a product of jet fuel consumption, making up about 30 percent of the exhaust.
  • With its short lifespan in the atmosphere as part of the water cycle, water vapor from aircraft has a minimal direct warming impact.
    • However, its presence in the exhaust plume has an indirect impact by contributing to the formation of contrails.
  • All the remaining emissions in the graphic make up less than one percent of the exhaust plume.

What is the Solution to Reduce CO2 Emissions from Aviation Industry?

  • IATA says that the main solution lies in the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF).
  • These fuels – made from biomass, waste oils and could even be made from carbon capture in future – have the advantage that they can be used directly in existing aircraft.
  • Such fuel sources can reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent compared to kerosene over their entire life cycle.
  • Two leading plane manufacturing corporations, Airbus and Boeing, have pledged that their fleets will be able to fly 100 percent on SAF by 2030.

Challenges Associated with SAF:

  • Currently, SAF accounts for only 0.1 percent of aviation fuel.
  • Encouraged by governments, the infrastructure to produce SAF is being set up in the US and Europe, but is still embryonic – and the cheapest fuel that comes out costs four time more than kerosene.

Offset Mechanism for Reducing Emissions from Aviation Industry:

  • In 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) put in place an offset mechanism to ensure that any increase in emissions over 2020 levels is compensated for by the airline industry through investment in carbon saving projects elsewhere.
  • Called Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA, the offset plan is supposed to run from 2021 to 2035.
  • CORSIA is considered a breakthrough, but it is not very ambitious. It only seeks to offset emissions that are over and above 2020 levels. It does not deal with total emissions.


  • Reducing aviation emissions through other means has not proved to be easy.
  • Unlike road or rail travel, aviation does not have viable technology alternatives for shifting to cleaner fuels.
  • Biofuels have been tried and so have hydrogen fuel cells. Solar powered planes have also made trips.
  • But use of these alternative fuels for flying large commercial airliners is still some distance away.

Mains Article
31 May 2023

Article 299 of the Constitution: Can the govt claim immunity when entering contracts under the President’s name?

Why in News?

  • The Supreme Court held that the government, when entering into a contract under the President’s name, cannot claim immunity from the legal provisions of that contract under Article 299 of the Constitution.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • What is Article 299 of the Indian Constitution?
  • Procedure to be Followed for Making a Contract
  • What are the Requirements for Government or State Contracts?
  • What was the Case?
  • The Apex Court’s Ruling

What is Article 299 of the Indian Constitution?

  • Article 298: It grants the Centre and the state governments the power to carry on trade or business, acquire, hold, and dispose of property, and make contracts for any purpose.
  • Article 299: It provides that all contracts made in the exercise of the executive power of the Union or of a State shall be
    • Expressed to be made by the President or by the Governor of the State.
    • Executed on behalf of the President or the Governor by persons in a manner as directed and authorised by them [Article 299 (1)].

Procedure to be Followed for Making a Contract:

  • In 1954, the top court held that there must be a definite procedure according to which contracts must be made by agents acting on the government’s behalf; otherwise, public funds may be depleted by illegitimate contracts.
  • It implies that contracts not adhering to the manner given in Article 299(1) cannot be enforced by any contracting party.
  • However, Article 299 (2) says that neither the President nor the Governor can be personally held liable for such contracts.

What are the Requirements for Government or State Contracts?

  • In 1966, the apex court laid down essential requirements for government contracts under Article 299.
  • 3 conditions to be met before a binding contract against the government could arise:
    • The contract must be expressed to be made by the Governor or the President;
    • It must be executed in writing, and
    • The execution should be by such persons and in such a manner as the Governor or the President might direct or authorise.

What was the Case?

  • The case dealt with an application filed by Glock Asia-Pacific Limited, a pistol manufacturing company, against the Centre regarding the appointment of an arbitrator in a tender-related dispute.
  • According to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, any person whose relationship with the parties or counsel of the dispute falls under the 7th Schedule (of the Act) will be ineligible to be appointed as an arbitrator.
    • The 7th Schedule includes relationships where the arbitrator is an employee, consultant, advisor, or has any other past or present business relationship with a party.

The Apex Court’s Ruling:

  • Referring to the 246th Law Commission Report, the court observed that when the party appointing an arbitrator is the State, the duty to appoint an impartial and independent adjudicator is even more onerous.
  • Thus, the court rejected the Centre’s reliance on Article 299, saying that Article 299 only lays down the formality that is necessary to bind the government with contractual liability.
  • Thus, the substantial law relating to the contractual liability of the Government is to be found in the general laws of the land.
  • The court also appointed former SC judge Justice Indu Malhotra “as the Sole Arbitrator to adjudicate upon the disputes” in the case.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
31 May 2023

RBI’s lightweight payment and settlements system

Why in news?

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has conceptualised a lightweight payment and settlements system, which it is calling a “bunker” equivalent of digital payments.
  • The central bank has not offered a timeline for the launch of this payments system yet.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Payment and settlements system in India
  • News Summary

Payment and settlements system in India

  • About
    • Payment and settlement systems refer to the infrastructure and processes that enable the transfer of funds and the settlement of financial transactions between individuals, businesses, and financial institutions.
    • An efficient payment system promotes market efficiency and reduces the cost of exchanging goods and services.
    • By the same token, its failure can result in loss of confidence in the financial system and in the very use of money.
    • India's payment and settlement system has witnessed remarkable growth, driven by technological advancements, government initiatives, and changing consumer preferences.
  • Regulatory framework
    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulates and oversees the payment and settlement systems in the country.
      • The Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS), chaired by the Governor, RBI, spearheads this responsibility.
    • In 2005, RBI created Department of Payment and Settlement Systems (DPSS) to focus exclusively on payment and settlement systems.
    • Subsequently, the government enacted the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act).

Components of Payment and Settlement Systems

  • Paper-based Payments
    • Use of paper-based instruments (like cheques, drafts, and the like) accounts for nearly 60% of the volume of total non-cash transactions in the country.
  • Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) Credit
    • Later in 2008, RBI launched a new service known as National Electronic Clearing Service (NECS).
  • National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) System (launched in 2005)
    • Available across a longer time window, the NEFT system provides for batch settlements at hourly intervals, thus enabling near real-time transfer of funds.
  • Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS)System (introduced in in 2004)
    • RTGS is a funds transfer systems where transfer of money takes place from one bank to another on a real time (no waiting time) and on gross basis.
  • Clearing Corporation of India Limited (CCIL)
    • CCIL was set up in April 2001 by banks, financial institutions and primary dealers.
    • It was established to function as an industry service organisation for clearing and settlement of trades in money market, government securities and foreign exchange markets.
  • Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) – Launched in 2010
    • IMPS is an interbank electronic funds transfer system that enables instant money transfers 24/7.
  • Other Payment Systems
    • Pre-paid Payment Systems
    • Mobile Banking System
    • ATMs / Point of Sale (POS) Terminals / Online Transactions
    • Unified Payments Interface (UPI): UPI is a real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
    • Mobile Wallets: Mobile wallets, such as Paytm, PhonePe, and Google Pay, have become increasingly popular in India.
    • Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS): AEPS is a biometric-based payment system that leverages the UIDAI Aadhaar database.

News Summary: RBI’s lightweight payment and settlements system

  • In a proactive move to address potential disruptions caused by catastrophic events or volatile situations, the RBI has unveiled a new initiative: the Lightweight Payment and Settlement System (LPSS).
  • This new system can be operated from anywhere by a bare minimum staff in exigencies such as natural calamities or war.
  • The infrastructure for this system will be independent of the technologies that underlie the existing systems of payments such as UPI, NEFT, and RTGS.

Need for such a lightweight payments system

  • According to the RBI, existing conventional payments systems such as RTGS, NEFT, and UPI are designed to handle large volumes of transactions while ensuring sustained availability.
  • As a result, they are dependent on complex wired networks backed by advanced IT infrastructure.
  • However, catastrophic events like natural calamities and war have the potential to render these payment systems temporarily unavailable by disrupting the underlying information and communication infrastructure.
  • Therefore, it is prudent to be prepared to face such extreme and volatile situations.

Benefits of such a lightweight payments system

  • Could ensure near zero downtime of the payment and settlement system
    • In its Annual Report for 2022-23, RBI says that the lightweight and portable payment system is expected to operate on minimalistic hardware and software, and would be made active only on a need basis.
    • Hence, such a lightweight and portable payment system could ensure near zero downtime of the payment and settlement system in the country.
  • Can keep the liquidity pipeline of the economy alive
    • It has potential to keep the liquidity pipeline of the economy alive and intact.
    • It can do so by facilitating uninterrupted functioning of essential payment services like bulk payments, interbank payments and provision of cash to participant institutions.
  • Can ensure stability of the economy
    • The system is expected to process transactions that are critical to ensure the stability of the economy, including government and market related transactions.
  • Can enhance public confidence in digital payments
    • Having such a resilient system is also likely to act as a bunker equivalent in payment systems.
    • Hence, it can enhance public confidence in digital payments and financial market infrastructure even during extreme conditions.

Mains Article
31 May 2023

Evergreening of loans

Why in news?

  • Recently, Reserve Bank of India Governor, while addressing bank board, raised concerns over banks using innovative methods for evergreening of loans.
  • As per him, banks are covering up the real status of stressed loans of corporates – to project an artificial clean image in cahoots with corporates.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Evergreening of loans
  • News Summary

Evergreening of loans

  • Evergreening of loans refers to a practice used by financial institutions to extend or renew existing loans to borrowers who are struggling to repay their debts.
  • It involves granting additional funds or rolling over the outstanding debt, often with modified terms or conditions.
  • This is done to create the appearance that the borrower is making timely repayments and maintaining a healthy credit profile.
  • The evergreening of loans allows borrowers to maintain the illusion of ongoing financial stability by continuously obtaining new loans to cover existing obligations.

Why do financial institutions engage in evergreening of loans?

  • To avoid recognizing non-performing assets (NPA) on their balance sheets
    • If an account turns into an NPA, banks are required to make higher provisions which will impact their profitability.
      • A loan turns into an NPA, if the interest or instalment remains unpaid even after the due date — and remains unpaid for a period of more than 90 days.
    • So, to avoid classifying a loan as an NPA, banks adopt the evergreening of loans.
  • To maintain a positive relationship with borrowers
    • Some banks have even extended such loans to wilful defaulters to keep them out of the defaulters’ books.
    • By providing additional credit, financial institutions can retain clients who might otherwise default on their loans.

Risks associated with evergreening of loans

  • Inflates the quality of the institution's loan portfolio
    • This practice artificially inflates the quality of the institution's loan portfolio and can mislead investors, regulators, and the public about its financial health.
  • Can lead to a cycle of increasing debt
    • This approach may be seen as a short-term solution to prevent immediate defaults.
    • However, it can lead to a cycle of increasing debt and further financial instability for both borrowers and lenders in the long run.
  • Problematic for the overall stability of the financial system
    • Evergreening of loans can be problematic for the overall stability of the financial system.
    • It can mask the true extent of bad loans in an economy, creating systemic risks and distorting the assessment of creditworthiness.
  • Sign of misgovernance
    • This is purely misgovernance, so that bad loans are made to look good many a time by additional lending to troubled borrowers.
    • It normally happens due to the unholy relationship between bankers and borrowers.
      • The CBI had detected several cases of fund diversion by promoters of companies from loans advanced again and again by banks in the last couple of years.
  • Contributes to the crowding-out effects
    • In India, there is evidence of a practice called indirect evergreening.
    • This involves struggling companies borrowing money from weak banks through related parties, but instead of using the funds for productive investments, they increase their debt levels.
    • This kind of activity is often overlooked and not easily detected.
    • As a result, valuable resources are misallocated, which contributes to the crowding-out effects typically associated with financially vulnerable companies.

How can evergreening be stopped?

  • As per the Committee to Review Governance of Boards of Banks in India headed by PJ Nayak, wherever significant evergreening in a bank is detected by the RBI:
    • penalties should be levied through cancellations of unvested stock options;
    • claw-back of monetary bonuses on officers concerned and on all whole-time directors;
    • the Chairman of the audit committee be asked to step down from the board.
  • The primary defence against evergreening must however come from the CEO, the audit committee and the board.
    • The audit committee, in particular, needs to be particularly vigilant.
  • If significant evergreening is detected, it must mean that evergreening is wilful, with support from sections of the senior management of the bank.
  • It then becomes necessary to levy penalties and action against the erring officers.

News Summary:

  • During the supervision of banks, the RBI noticed certain instances wherein banks were using innovative ways to conceal the real status of stressed loans.
  • This was revealed by the RBI Governor in his address to the board of directors of public sector and private lenders.

Evergreening methods used by Banks: as highlighted by the RBI Governor

  • Bringing two lenders together to evergreen each other’s loans by sale and buyback of loans or debt instruments;
  • Good borrowers being persuaded to enter into structured deals with a stressed borrower to conceal the stress;
    • In other words, financially sound and reliable borrowers are encouraged to engage in specific agreements or transactions with borrowers who are facing financial difficulties.
    • This is to hide or mask the financial distress of the borrower who is struggling.
      • By involving creditworthy borrowers in such arrangements, it creates a façade of stability and financial health for the stressed borrower.
  • Use of internal or office accounts to adjust borrower’s repayment obligations;
  • Renewal of loans or disbursement of new/additional loans to the stressed borrower or related entities closer to the repayment date of the earlier loans.

May 30, 2023

Mains Article
30 May 2023

From Master of Roster to Master of All Judges


  • Recently, the CJI led Bench of the Supreme Court recalled its Ritu Chhabaria vs Union of India judgement, which emphasised on the Right to Default Bail/Statutory Bail.
  • This can have many implications ranging from bypassing the existing procedures to CJI positioning himself as Master of other SC Judges. 

What is a Default/Statutory Bail?

  • This is a right to bail that accrues when the police fail to complete investigation within a specified period in respect of a person in judicial custody. This is enshrined in Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
  • A Magistrate can order an accused person to be detained in the custody of the police for 15 days or However, the accused cannot be detained for more than:
    • 90 days, when an authority is investigating an offense punishable with death, life imprisonment or imprisonment for at least ten years; or
    • 60 days, when the authority is investigating any other offense.
    • In Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the period is 180 days.
  • At the end of this period, if the investigation is not complete, the court shall release the person “if he is prepared to and does furnish bail”.

SC’s Judgement (Ritu Chhbaraia case)

  • The SC affirmed an undertrial’s right to be released on default bail in the event of the investigation remaining incomplete and proceeding beyond the statutory time limit.
  • It held that the right to be released on bail will not be extinguished on the mere filing of a preliminary charge-sheet.
  • The court concluded that an accused’s right to seek default bail would be terminated only upon competition of the investigation within the statutory time limit.

Subsequent Recall Judgement

  • The Court of the CJI entertained a recall application moved by the Union of India against the Ritu Chhabaria judgment.
  • The bench an interim order directing courts to decide bail applications without relying on the decision laid down in Ritu Chhabriafor a short period of time.

Issues Regarding the Recall Judgement

  • Stripping the Division Bench’s Order of its Precedential Value
    • The Court of the CJI indirectly stayed the decision despite not having any connection with the verdict.
    • It amounts to stripping the decision of the Division Bench of its precedential value even if for a short while.
  • No Scope of CJI’s Intervention
    • The only recourse available to the Union of India was the filing of a review petition, which is usually decided by the same Bench.
    • There was no scope of the review petition being entertained by the Court of the CJI.
  • No Scope of Recall Application Filing Before a Different Bench: There was no scope for a recall application being filed against a judgment, that too before an altogether different Bench. Doing so amounts to bench fishing or forum shopping.
  • Devoid of Constitutional or Legislative Backing
    • By entertaining an intra-court appeal, the Court of the CJI has effectively instituted a mechanism that is completely devoid of any legislative or constitutional backing.
    • The order is in total disregard of the established procedure, which is a review petition.

What could be Implications of the Recall Judgement?

  • The Government can bypass the existing mechanism
    • In the near future, if the government is displeased with the order of one Bench, it can simply go before the CJI to get the decision stripped of all its legal sanctity instead of re-convincing the same Bench in a review.
  • Expanding Powers of CJI
    • The order has the effect of enlarging the powers of the CJI on the judicial side and of creating an unprecedented intra-court appellate mechanism within the SC.
    • The instant order has also dulled the bright line prohibiting the Court of the CJI from assuming that it is superior to all other Benches.

CJI’s Roles

  • The CJI oversees allocating cases and appointing constitutional benches that deal with critical legal issues. That is why theCJI is known as the Master of Roster.
  • Article 145 of the Constitution grants the CJI the authority to assign relevant subjects to the bench of justices.
  • Advisory powers allow the CJI to direct and advise the government on certain matters.
  • In emergency scenarios, discharges the President's function if the offices of President and Vice President become abruptly empty.

Is CJI Superior to Other SC Judges?

  • Within the constitutional scheme, all judges of the SC are equal in terms of their judicial powers.
  • However, the CJI enjoys special administrative powers such as constituting Benches and assigning matters and references for reconsideration of a larger Bench.
  • Because of the CJI’s role as the ‘Master of the Roster’, he is regarded as ‘first amongst equals’ in relation to companion judges.
  • But in any given Bench including the CJI, the vote or power given to the CJI is the same as that given to his companion judges.
  • There are various examples of the CJI authoring a minority opinion of the Court.For instance, in the EWS quota dispute the then CJI, Justice U.U. Lalit, along with Justice S. Ravindra Bhat authored the minority opinion of the Court.

Why the expanding powers of CJI are a Cause of Concern?

  • Despite the administrative usefulness of the ‘Master of the Roster’ system, the many recorded instances of abuse are a cause for concern. 
    • For example, 4 senior judges of the SC alleged serious infirmities and irregularities in the administration and assigning of cases for hearing to Benches of the Court (four years ago).
  • The powers vested in the CJI by his virtue of being the Master of the Roster are It is impractical to lay any limits on these powers, meant for the smooth administrative functioning of the Court.

Mechanism in Other countries

  • Most Commonwealth countries such as the U.K., Australia and Canada follow the same system where all judges have the same power, and CJI is considered as the first among equals.
  • Countries such as the U.S., instead have a system where all the judges collectively exercise power and render decisions. Thus, they reflect the collective strength of the Court and not of Benches.

Way Forward - Digitisation of the CJI’ Administrative Functions: The practice of constituting Benches and allocating cases should be completely computerised and left out of the hands of the CJI.


  • The legitimacy of the power of Master of the Roster has been debated many times and has been reaffirmed to the extent of administrative decisions for the smooth functioning of the Court.
  • It is imperative that the CJI himself refrains from expanding his powers as Master of the Roster.
Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
30 May 2023

India to train ASEAN women in United Nations Peacekeeping operations

Why in news?

  • On May 29, the Indian Army commemorated the 75th International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
  • On this day, India also announced that it will organize two initiatives later this year for women personnel from South East Asia as part of defence cooperation with ASEAN.
    • This announcement follows Indian Defence Minister’s suggestion last year to focus on "women in United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations" as an important initiative.

What’s in today’s article?

  • United Nations Peacekeeping (UNPK) operations
  • News Summary

UN Peacekeeping

  • The UN Charter gives the Security Council primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • In fulfilling this responsibility, the Council can establish a UN peace operation.

Peacekeeping mandates

  • UN peace operations are deployed on the basis of mandates from the United Nations Security Council.
  • These mandates differ from situation to situation, depending on the nature of the conflict and the specific challenges it presents.
  • Depending on their mandate, peace operations may be required to:
    • Deploy to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spill-over of conflict across borders;
    • Stabilize conflict situations after a ceasefire;
    • Assist in implementing comprehensive peace agreements;
    • Lead states or territories through a transition to stable government, based on democratic principles, good governance and economic development.


  • There are three basic principles that continue to set UN peacekeeping operations apart as a tool for maintaining international peace and security. These are:
    • Consent of the parties
      • In the absence of such consent, a peacekeeping operation risks becoming a party to the conflict; and being drawn towards enforcement action.
    • Impartiality
      • Peacekeepers should be impartial in their dealings with the parties to the conflict, but not neutral in the execution of their mandate.
    • Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate


  • Since 1948, the UN has helped end conflicts and foster reconciliation by conducting successful peacekeeping operations in dozens of countries, including Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique, Namibia and Tajikistan.
  • UN peacekeeping has also made a real difference in other places with recently completed or on-going operations such as Sierra Leone, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Timor-Leste, Liberia, Haiti and Kosovo.
  • In other instances, however, UN peacekeeping have been challenged and found wanting, for instance in Somalia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
  • Overall, UN Peacekeeping Forces have an impressive record of peacekeeping achievements, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize (1988).

India’s contribution in peacekeeping missions

  • Current status
    • India is one of the largest troop contributing nation to UNPK.
    • Currently, India has around 5,900 troops deployed in 12 U.N. Missions.
    • India’s contribution to the peacekeeping budget stands at 0.16%.
  • Contribution so far
    • India has been actively participating in peacekeeping right from 1950 when it supplied medical personnel and troops to the UN Repatriation Commission in Korea.
    • India has contributed approximately 2,75,000 troops to peacekeeping missions so far and 159 Indian Army soldiers have lost their lives across the globe.
  • Joint training of U.N. peacekeepers from African countries
    • In 2016, India and the U.S. had begun an annual training programme for joint training of U.N. peacekeepers from African countries.
  • Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK)
    • Indian Army has established a CUNPK in New Delhi to impart training in peacekeeping operations and the Centre trains more than 12,000 troops every year.
  • Women deployment
    • India has deployed Female Engagement Teams in United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei.
      • This is the second largest women contingent after Liberia.
    • India has also deployed Women Military Police in United Nations Disengagement Observer Force and women staff officers and military observers in various missions.
  • Other contributions
    • In August 2021, India, in collaboration with the UN launched UNITE AWARE platform.
      • It is a technology platform to ensure the safety and security of peacekeepers.
    • India has also proposed a 10-point plan, including making those targeting UN peacekeepers more accountable.
    • It also suggested to build a memorial wall to honour peacekeepers.

News Summary

  • To further expand the India-ASEAN ties,the Raksha Mantri had announced initiatives for Women in UN Peace Keeping Operations.
    • These proposals were made at the inaugural India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting held in November 2022 at Siem Reap, Cambodia, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN relations.
  • As part of this announcement, India is set to conduct two initiatives for women personnel from South East Asia later this year.

Initiatives under the India-ASEAN Initiative for women in UNPK operations

  • Courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN member-states
    • One of the initiatives includes conducting of tailor-made courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN member-states at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in India this September.
      • The Indian Army has established CUNPK (in 2000) in New Delhi to impart niche training in peacekeeping operations.
    • In all 20 peacekeepers, two from each country, would be trained.
  • Table Top Exercise for women officers from ASEAN
    • The other initiative is a ‘Table Top Exercise’ for women officers from ASEAN incorporating facets of UNPK challenges to be conducted in December.
Defence & Security

Mains Article
30 May 2023

What is a Foucault’s Pendulum?

Why in News?

  • A Foucault pendulum that rotates on its axis is suspended from the ceiling of the entrance hall of the Constitution Hall of India's new Parliament building, signifying the integration of the idea of India with the idea of the cosmos.
  • Created by the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM, Kolkata), the pendulum is being dubbed as the largest such piece (22 m in height, and 36 kg in weight ) in India.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • What is a Foucault’s Pendulum?
  • Working of a Foucault’s Pendulum
  • Time to Change Orientation at Different Latitudes
  • News Summary Regarding Foucault’s Pendulum at new Parliament Building 

What is a Foucault’s Pendulum?

  • The original Foucault’s pendulum, named after 19th century French physicist Leon Foucault, is a simple experiment to demonstrate earth’s rotation.
  • When Foucault carried out this experiment for the public in 1851, it was the first direct visual evidence of the fact that the earth rotates on its axis.
  • The experimental set-up involves a heavy object hung from a height with a string, free to swing in any direction.
  • Once set in to-and-fro motion, the pendulum is seen to change its orientation slowly over time.
  • For example, if the initial motion imparted to it was in the north-south direction, after a few hours it could be seen moving in the east-west direction.

Working of a Foucault’s Pendulum:

  • According to Newton's First Law of motion, every object will remain in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force.
  • Thus, when a pendulum is set to swing it will continue to swing in the same direction unless it is pushed or pulled in some other direction.
  • The earth, on the other hand, will rotate once every 24 hours underneath the pendulum.
  • This means, if one stands to watch the pendulum, s/he would be likely to notice that the line of the pendulum's swing has changed to a different direction.
  • This is because observers too are rotating with the earth, but can notice the change in orientation of the pendulum.

Time to Change Orientation at Different Latitudes:

  • At the equator, the pendulum is perpendicular to the axis of rotation, and hence it never changes its orientation of the swing.
  • At other latitudes, it will, and would return to the original course after fixed time periods.
    • At the north and south poles, when the pendulum is aligned with the axis of rotation of the earth, the pendulum’s back-and-forth motion comes back to its original plane in exactly 24 hours.
    • At other latitudes (because the pendulum is not aligned to the axis of rotation of the earth), it takes longer for the pendulum to return to its original orientation of swinging.

News Summary Regarding Foucault’s Pendulum at new Parliament Building:

  • Pendulum at the new Parliament:
    • All the components of the pendulum have been completely made in India.
    • The piece, made using gunmetal, has been fixed with an electromagnetic coil to ensure hassle-free movement.
    • The suspension system is mounted on the ceiling. There is continuous power supply so there are no obstacles (to the pendulum’s movement).
    • At the latitude of the Parliament, it takes 49 hours, 59 minutes, and 18 seconds for the pendulum to complete one rotation.
  • Significance: It is a piece reflecting the spirit of Article 51A of the Indian Constitution, which enshrines every citizen “to develop the scientific temper, humanism, and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.
  • The first such pendulum: It was installed in 1991 at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune.
Science & Tech

Mains Article
30 May 2023

What has India Done to Curb Unnecessary Hysterectomies?

Why in News?

  • The Union Health Ministry has recently urged State Governments to audit hysterectomy trends in public and private hospitals.
  • This was done in response to a Supreme Court petition arguing that women from marginalised locations are at risk of unjustified hysterectomies for economic gains and exploitation.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About Hysterectomy (Meaning, Criteria, Risks, etc.)
  • Hysterectomy in India (Data, Challenges, Government Initiatives, etc.)
  • News Summary

What is Hysterectomy?

  • A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the uterus (womb).
  • After surgery, woman can’t become pregnant and no longer menstruate.

Criteria for Getting a Hysterectomy:

  • After caesarean deliveries, hysterectomies are the second-most frequent procedure in women of the reproductive age group.
  • Reasons for this surgery include abnormal bleeding, uterine prolapse, fibroids and cancer.
    • In some cases, oophorectomy, the removal of ovaries (the primary source of oestrogen), is also frequently performed, which is a form of surgical menopause and linked to several chronic conditions.
  • The highest percentage of hysterectomies (51.8%) were to treat excessive menstrual bleeding or pain.
  • It's more common for women aged 40 to 50.

Health Risks Associated with Hysterectomy:

  • There is evidence about the long-term effects of hysterectomy – both with or without oophorectomy (removal of ovaries).
  • A 2022 study found a correlation between hysterectomy and chronic diseases including an increased risk of cardiovascular events, cancers, depression, metabolic disorders, and dementia.
  • In India, hysterectomies in women above 45 years of age were associated with hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and bone disease.

Hysterectomy in India:

  • The average age at which hysterectomies are conducted among Indian women is 34, per community-based studies.
  • In comparison, high income countries allow this procedure for women aged above 45.
  • Most surgeries happen in private hospitals (33,559 procedures) as opposed to government hospitals (11, 875).
  • A majority of these cases are reported among socially and economically disadvantaged women.

Challenges Associated with Hysterectomy in India:

  • Wombless Women –
    • Also, contractors in unorganised sectors such as the sugar-cane-cutting industry misuse hysterectomy, where ‘wombless women’ are the norm to eliminate the need for menstrual care and hygiene among workers.
  • Lack of Awareness –
    • The gap thrives in a culture where gynaecological care and disorders — outside of pregnancy — exist in oblivion.
    • Some reports show “rasoli” — indicating a tumour or growth— is often cited as a reason for hysterectomies in medical documents.
    • These may be benign growths, manageable by conducting investigative tests and undertaking alternative treatments.

What Measures has the Government Taken So Far?

  • Union Health Ministry Guidelines –
    • The Union Health Ministry in 2022 issued guidelines to prevent unnecessary hysterectomies — listing possible indications of when hysterectomy may be required and alternative clinical treatments for gynaecological issues.
    • They recommended setting up district, State-level and national hysterectomy monitoring committees which to collect data on age, mortality, and occupations, among other details.
    • In particular, the guidelines emphasise that authorities should report hysterectomies conducted for women less than 40 years of age and incorporate the reason for hysterectomy.
    • All States and Union Territories were asked to adopt the Guidelines within three months and report compliance to MoHFW.
  • Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana –
    • The government’s flagship health insurance programme provides health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs for 1,949 procedures— including hysterectomies.
    • The government has authorised more than 45,000 hospitals to conduct these operations and also developed two standard treatment guidelines for hysterectomy-related procedures.
  • Blacklisting of Certain Hospitals –
    • Under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, hospitals and healthcare facilities found to have coerced women into hysterectomies without informed consent can be blacklisted.
    • The Centre told the Supreme Court that several hospitals were blacklisted and FIRs were filed against facilities that violated norms.

News Summary:

  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court w.r.t. Hysterectomy.
  • The petitionerargued that despite the provisions, private hospitals in Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan engaged in unethical practices and unnecessary procedures.
  • The petitioner argued that that women from marginalised locations are at risk of unjustified hysterectomies for economic gains and exploitation.
  • The Chief Justice of India, Y. Chandrachud, suggested that hysterectomies for those under 40 should be conducted on approval by two certified doctors.
  • The Supreme Court, while hearing the petition, gave a three-month deadline to States and Union Territories, directing them to implement the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2022.
Social Issues

Mains Article
30 May 2023

US debt ceiling crisis

Why in news?

  • Days before the US govt’s debt default deadline, President Biden and House Speaker McCarthy reached an agreement in principle to raise the nation’s legal debt ceiling.

What’s in today’s article?

  • US debt ceiling
  • News Summary

U.S. debt ceiling

  • Origin of debt ceiling in US
    • In 1917, Congress passed the Second Liberty Bond Act, to allow then-President to take out funds for the First World War without waiting for the approvals of absent Congress lawmakers.
    • However, the Congress created a limit on borrowing, thus creating a debt ceiling that could only be raised by approval of the Congress (House and Senate).
      • This ceiling was created to curtail the President’s spending capacity.
  • Debt ceiling in its current form
    • The debt ceiling started to take its present-day form in 1939, when separate borrowing caps for bonds were consolidated into one debt ceiling.
      • At that time, it was set at $45 billion.
    • The U.S. government has hit or come close to hitting the debt ceiling multiple times.
    • While the government continues to receive taxation revenue after hitting the debt ceiling, it cannot borrow any more to pay its existing bills.

Current debt ceiling crisis

  • The Democrats-led US government had in January hit its debt ceiling — the amount it is legally allowed to borrow for its expenses.
  • With no new money coming in, Treasury Department Secretary had warned that funds would run out by the first week of June 2023.
  • Since then, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives and President Biden’s White House have failed to reach a consensus to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.
  • This stalemate led to the current debt ceiling crisis in USA.

What will happen if the U.S. defaults?

  • If the debt ceiling is not raised once the government reaches the ceiling and runs out of cash, the U.S. would be unable to pay its debt-holders, resulting in a default.
  • Domestic payments
    • In this case, the government would be unable to pay its bills including military salaries, benefits to retirees, and interest and other payments it owes to bondholders.
  • Global financial crisis
    • If the government cannot make interest payments to domestic and foreign investors, it could plunge the globe into a financial crisis.
    • It would also increase the national debt, in turn causing widespread interest rate hikes for business owners, mortgages, and other sectors.
    • A drop in U.S. consumer confidence would translate to shocks in the financial market, tipping the economy into recession.
    • More than half of the world’s foreign currency reserves are held in U.S. dollars. Hence, a US default would affect the treasury markets around the world.
      • A loss of confidence in the U.S. economy could force investors to sell U.S. Treasury bonds, thus weakening the dollar.
      • A sudden decrease in the currency’s value could domino across treasury markets as the value of these reserves drops.
  • Downgraded creditworthiness of US
    • A U.S. default could lead to another downgrade of U.S. creditworthiness by agencies which in turn would raise the cost of borrowing for the government.
  • Impact on economy
    • It would result in large-scale job losses, weakening of the dollar, stock sell-offs.

News Summary: US debt ceiling crisis

  • President Joe Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed on a deal that can potentially avert the US debt ceiling crisis.

key points of the deal

  • A cap and a raise
    • Under the deal, the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling will be suspended until January 2025. Till then, the government can keep borrowing to fund itself.
    • In return, the White House has agreed to cap non-defence discretionary spending at 2023 levels in 2024, and increase it by 1% the year after.
  • Work requirements made stricter
    • From the Democrat side, President Biden has agreed to increase work requirements for those who avail of government food stamps.
      • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are commonly known as food stamps.
      • Able-bodied adults between the ages of 18-49 and without dependents were subject to work requirements to maintain eligibility for SNAP benefits.
        • Under the current deal, the age limit will be raised to 54.
      • These requirements included actively seeking employment, participating in a suitable employment and training program, or working a minimum number of hours per month.
  • Streamlining energy projects approval
    • The government has agreed to the Republican demand of a more streamlined system of approval for energy projects.
  • IRS, Covid fund
    • Under the deal, the outlay the Biden government had secured for beefing up the Internal Revenue System (IRS) sees a cut.
    • Leftover Covid relief fund will be taken back, including that kept aside for tackling disasters.


International Relations

May 29, 2023

Mains Article
29 May 2023

Nutrition in a Warmer World


  • As the agriculture sector is highly dependent on climate,the emerging trend in climate change will have serious implications on agriculture and allied sectors.
  • As India has the largest workforce (45.6 percent in 2021-22) engaged in agriculture amongst G20 countries, the impact of climate change may be disproportionate for India.

G7 Hiroshima Summit’s Agenda on Climate Change

  • At the Hiroshima Summit 2023, the G7 nations stressed that the peak for global Green House Gas (GHG) emissions should be reached by 2025 and committed to an “Acceleration Agenda” for G7 countries to reach net-zero emissions by around 2040.
  • The summit urged emerging economies to do so by around 2050. However, China has committed to net zero by 2060 and India by 2070.

Climate Change Reports

  • WMO Report
    • World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has forecast that global near-surface temperatures are likely to increase by 1.1°Cto 1.8°C annually from 2023 to 2027.
    • It also anticipates that temperatures will exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one year within this period.
  • IMD Report: According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), India experienced its fifth hottest year on record in 2022.

Impact of Emerging Trend in Climate Change

  • Glacial retreat in the Himalayas: Rising temperature and rain can cause glacial lake outburst floods. It is evident from the February 2021 incidence of glacial burst from Uttarakhand.
  • Flooding, Landslides and Cyclones
    • Compounding effects of sea-level rise and intense tropical cyclones lead to flooding in India's various regions. e.g., Mumbai and Konkan region (2021 flood) is prone to sea-level rise and flooding.
    • Increasing cyclones (in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, and West Bengal) in the last 3-4 years are the cause of concern.
  • Draughts: Droughts are expected to be more frequent in some areas, especially north-western India, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh.
  • Erratic monsoon
    • Monsoon rain will be dominated by aerosols and internal variability, but in the long term, it will increase.
    • Erratic monsoon rain caused a devastating loss in the 2021 floods in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, and Kerala.
  • Intense heat stress: Heat extremes are increasing, and marine heatwaves will continue to increase. These are likely to impact India, for example, Andhra and Telangana region are currently affected.
  • Drop in Agriculture Yield: Agricultural production will be affected by 2040.According to the World Bank, climate change could push more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030 by disrupting agriculture.

Challenges to Indian Agriculture Sector Due to Climate Change

  • A Large Population to Feed: India has to feed the largest population (1.42billion in 2023 and 1.67 billion by 2050),it must do so while contending with the increasing uncertainty of nature.
  • Nutritional Challenges: While India’s grain production (330MT in 2022-23) gives some comfort, the nutritional challenge remains.

What can Indian Policymakers do to address these challenges?

  • Focus on ARDE (Agricultural Research, Development, Education and Extension).
  • Research at ICRIER indicates that investing in Agri R&D yields much greater returns (11.2) compared to every rupee spent on the fertiliser subsidy (0.88), power subsidy (0.79), education (0.97), or roads (1.10).

Importance of Focusing on ARDE

  • Can Improve Agricultural Production: Increased emphasis on ARDE can help achieve higher agricultural production even in the face of climate change.
  • Critical for Improving Resource Use Efficiency
    • ARDE is critical for improving resource use efficiency, especially for natural resources such as soil, water, and air.
    • Precision agriculture, such as drip irrigation, can result in large water savings.
    • Implementing sensor-based irrigation systems, for example, enables automated control, improving resource use efficiency.
  • Can help develop variety of Seeds: ARDE will help in developing new seeds according to emerging trend of climate change. The development of seeds that are more heat resistant is already a reality.
  • Can Help Reduce the Carbon Emissions with Higher Outputs
    • Focusing on ARDE can accelerate Fertigation and development of nano-fertilisers that not only save on the fertiliser subsidy but also reduce its carbon footprint.
    • Implementing innovative farming practices and products will help more efficient use of water and other natural resources, resulting in higher output with fewer inputs, while lowering GHG emissions.
    • Research at the Borlaug Institute for South Asia shows that mulching (the process of applying natural or artificial layer of plant residue or other materials on the soil surface) not only contributes to higher soil organic carbon but also saves on water and reduces GHG emissions.

Allocation of ARDE by Sector

  • There is a skewed distribution towards the crop husbandry sector, whose relative share has marginally increased from 75 percent to76 per cent between 2008 and2020.
  • In contrast, the shares for soil, water conservation, and forestry have declined from 5 percent to 2 percent.
  • The shares for animal husbandry, dairy development, and fisheries sectors have decreased from 11 percent to 8 percent, despite the value of livestock having substantially increased in the overall value of Agri-produce.
  • This imbalance needs urgent correction, especially because much (54 percent) of the GHG emissions within agriculture come from the livestock sector.

What should the government do to push ARDE?

  • Ensure Research Intensity (RI) to be at least 1% of AGVA (Agricultural Gross Value Added). RI is the expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP.
  • Although, total expenditure has increased from Rs39.6 billion ($0.91 billion) Rs 163 billion ($2.2 billion) since 2005-06, the overall RI in agriculture falls short of the target of1% of the AGVA.

How can RI be kept at least 1% of AGVA?

  • Scaling up innovations and experiments under ARDE is critical and that is where larger allocations of funds is required.
  • India needs to almost double its budgetary allocations for ARDE.
  • The Union government can reduce its fertiliser subsidy, and state governments their power subsidy, and redirect those savings to Agri-R&D, ensuring RI tobeatleast1percent.

Way Forward

  • Political will: Going forward the ruling dispensation must have the political courage to bring innovative policies that ensure farmers’ incomes group.
  • Realigning Policies Along with Expenditures: Along with the substantial increase in the budgets for ARDE, the government needs to realign not just expenditures but also policies (such as fertiliser subsidy, power subsidy, etc) towards meeting the climate change challenge.


  • Livestock has been growing at more than double the rate of the cereal sector, as is horticulture. But our policies and programmes are stuck with the legacy of basic staples like rice and wheat.
  • A periodic review of nutritional status across States along with a process to monitor and evaluate programmes could address systemic challenges on the ground.

Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
29 May 2023

India sees Reduction in Stunting; but Wasting, Obesity are Concerns: Report

Why in News?

  • An inter-agency team of UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank has released the Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates (JME) report for 2022.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About JME Report (Purpose, Key Highlights)
  • Way Forward

About Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates (JME) Report:

  • JME is an annual report published jointly by UNICEF, WHO and World Bank.
  • The report covers measures of child malnutrition used to track progress towards the child nutrition targets of Sustainable Development Goal 2.
  • The report covers child stunting, overweight, underweight, wasting and severe wasting.

Key Highlights of the JME Report 2022:

  • Stunting –
    • Child stunting refers to a child who is too short for his or her age and is the result of chronic or recurrent malnutrition.
    • Globally, stunting declined from a prevalence rate of 26.3% in 2012 to 22.3% in 2022.
    • India continues to show a reduction in stunting and recorded 1.6 crore fewer stunted children under five years in 2022 as compared to 2012.
    • Stunting among children under five years dropped from a prevalence rate of 41.6% in 2012 to 31.7% in 2022.
  • Wasting –
    • Child wasting refers to a child who is too thin for his or her height and is the result of recent rapid weight loss or the failure to gain weight. 
    • The overall prevalence of wasting in 2022 was 18.7% in India.
    • India contributes 49% of the global burden of wasting.
    • In India, two-thirds of children at 12 or 24 months had wasting at birth or at one month of age. This means two-thirds of the wasting is caused by maternal malnutrition.
  • Overweight –
    • Childhood overweight occurs when children’s caloric intake from food
      and beverages exceeds their energy requirements
    • There are now 37 million children under five living with overweight globally, an increase of nearly 4 million since 2000.
    • India had an overweight percentage of 2.8 per cent in 2022, compared to 2.2 per cent in 2012.

Comments on India:

  • Going by the JME data, UNICEF concludes that India has shown promising progress when it comes to stunting.
  • According to UNICEF India officials, multi-sectoral responses under Poshan Abhiyaan in 2018 and continued Poshan 2.0 in 2022 seem to be contributing to the positive shift in the indicators.

Way Forward:

  • JME released in 2023 reveal insufficient progress to reach the 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) global nutrition targets and UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goal target 2.2.
    • Only about a third of all countries are ‘on track’ to halve the number of children affected by stunting by 2030.
  • All forms of malnutrition are preventable.
  • To stop malnutrition before it starts, children and their families need access to nutritious diets, essential services and positive practices to set them on the path to survive and thrive.
  • But today, these vital pathways to good nutrition are under growing threat, as many countries plunge deep into a global food and nutrition crisis fuelled by poverty, conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As the world responds to the crisis, urgent action is critical to protect maternal and child nutrition – especially in the most affected regions – and secure a future where the right to nutrition is a reality for every child.
Social Issues

Mains Article
29 May 2023

NavIC: Why does a regional navigation system matter to India?

Why in News?

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch the first of the 2nd-generation satellites for its navigation constellation - NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation).
  • The 2,232 kg satellite, the heaviest in the constellation, will be launched by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket. 

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • About NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation)
  • What is the Advantage of having a Regional Navigation System?
  • Old Satellites of NavIC
  • What’s New in the 2nd-Generation NavIC Satellite?

About NavIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation):

  • NavIC, also known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is an independent stand-alone indigenous navigation satellite system developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • NAVIC was approved in 2006 (at a cost of $174 million) and was expected to be completed by 2011, but only become operational in 2018.
  • NavIC, which consists of 7 satellites, covering the whole of India's landmass and up to 1,500 km from its boundaries, is conceived with the aim of removing dependence on foreign satellite systems for navigation, particularly for "strategic sectors.".
  • Currently, NavIC's application in India is limited in -
    • Public vehicle tracking, for providing emergency warning alerts to fishermen venturing into the deep sea where there is no terrestrial network connectivity and
    • For tracking and providing information related to natural disasters.
  • The next step India is pushing for is to include it in smartphones.
  • According to India's draft satellite navigation policy 2021, the government will work toward "expanding the coverage from regional to global" to ensure the availability of NavIC signals in any part of the world.

What is the Advantage of having a Regional Navigation System?

  • India is the only country that has a regional satellite-based navigation system.
  • There are four global satellite-based navigation systems - the American GPS, the Russian GLONASS, the European Galileo, and the Chinese Beidou.
  • Japan has a four-satellite system that can augment GPS signals over the country, similar to India’s GAGAN (GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation).
  • With fully operational NavIC (with ground stations outside India [Japan, France, and Russia] for better triangulation of signals) open signals will be accurate up to 5 metres and restricted signals will be more accurate (GPS ~20 metres).
  • Unlike GPS, NavIC uses satellites in high geo-stationery orbit - the satellites move at a constant speed relative to Earth, so they are always looking over the same region on Earth.
  • NavIC signals come to India at a 90-degree angle, making it easier for them to reach devices located even in congested areas, dense forests, or mountains.

Old Satellites of NavIC:

  • Each of the 7 satellites currently in the IRNSS constellation, weighed much less (around 1,425 kg at liftoff) and rode the lighter Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) - ISRO’s workhorse launch rocket.
  • The last IRNSS satellite, IRNSS-1I was launched in 2018 to replace an older, partially defunct satellite in the constellation.
  • IRNSS-1I was ISRO’s 9th satellite for the NavIC constellation, but is considered to be the 8th because the IRNSS-1H launched in 2017 was lost after the heat shield of the payload failed to open on time.

What’s New in the 2nd-Generation NavIC Satellite?

  • The 2nd-generation satellite named as NVS-01, the first of ISRO’s NVS series of payloads is heavier.
  • The satellite will have a Rubidium atomic clock onboard, a significant technology (which only a handful of countries possess) developed indigenously by Space Application Centre-Ahmedabad.
    • A satellite-based positioning system determines the location of objects by accurately measuring the time it takes for a signal to travel to and back from it using the atomic clocks on board.
    • Currently, only four IRNSS satellites are able to provide location services. The other satellites can only be used for messaging services.
  • The 2nd generation satellites will send signals in a third frequency, L1, besides the L5 and S frequency signals that the existing satellites provide, increasing interoperability with other satellite-based navigation systems.
    • The L1 frequency is among the most commonly used in the GPS, and will increase the use of the regional navigation system in wearable devices and personal trackers that use low-power, single-frequency chips.
  • The 2nd-generation satellites will also have a longer mission life of more than 12 years (existing satellites - 10 years).
Science & Tech

Mains Article
29 May 2023

India’s new Parliament

Why in news?

  • In the 75th year of Independence, PM Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building, and installed the ‘Sengol’ near Lok Sabha Speaker’s chair.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Old parliament building
  • New Parliament building

Old parliament building

  • Shift of capital from Calcutta to Delhi
    • At the coronation of George V as Emperor of India on December 12, 1911, the monarch decided to transfer the seat of the Government of India from Calcutta to the ancient Capital of Delhi.
  • Selection of architect and scope of their work
    • In 1913, Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker signed on to be the architects for the Imperial City at New Delhi.
      • Initially, they were asked to design President’s House and North and South Block only.
    • In 1919, the British Parliament passed the Government of India Act which provided for a bicameral legislature for India.
    • A new building was needed to accommodate the new houses of the Legislative Council.
  • Construction of Parliament
    • The parliament building’s construction took six years – from 1921 to 1927.
    • In the 1919 plan for the construction of the Parliament, it was decided to have a council house, comprising:
      • Legislative Assembly Chamber (which later became the Lok Sabha),
      • Council of States Chamber (which is now the Rajya Sabha) and
      • Chamber of Princes (later became Library Hall).
  • Architecture
    • In 1919, Lutyens and Baker settled on a circular shape for the Parliament.
    • They felt it would be reminiscent of the Colosseum, the Roman historical monument.
      • It is popularly believed that the circular shape of the Chausath Yogini temple at Mitawli village in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena provided inspiration for the Council House design.
      • However, there is no historical evidence to back this up.
    • A few Indian elements, such as jaalis (a latticed carving depicting objects like flowers and other patterns) and chhatris (a domed roof atop a pavilion-like structure) were added.
  • Goal of the architecture
    • The goal of the architecture was to project the strength of British imperialism and rule over India.
    • Hence, both the architects agreed to highlight the superiority of European classicism, upon which Indian traditions had to be based.
  • Material used
    • The circular building has 144 cream sandstone pillars, each measuring 27 feet.
  • Foundation and inauguration
    • The foundation for the existing Parliament was laid by the Duke of Connaught on February 12, 1921.
    • It was inaugurated in January 18, 1927, by then Governor General of India Lord Irwin.
      • Sir Bhupendra Nath Mitra, a member of the Governor-General’s Executive Council and in charge of the Department of Industries and Labour, invited Viceroy to inaugurate the building.

What will happen to the old parliament building now?

  • The building will not be demolished and will be converted into a ‘Museum of Democracy’ after the new Parliament House becomes operational.

New Parliament building

  • In 2019, the central government announced the redevelopment project to give a new identity to the ‘power corridor’ of India.
    • This project is known as Central Vista redevelopment project.
  • The plan includes:
    • the construction of a new parliament,
    • Prime minister and vice-president’s residences along with 10 building blocks that will accommodate all government ministries and departments.
  • Piloted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the plan aims to change the face of the Lutyens’ Delhi.
    • Lutyens’ Delhi shows off India’s iconic buildings such as South and North blocks of Central Secretariat, Parliament House, and Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Need for new Parliament building

  • Current building is 96-years-old
    • As per the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the current building is 96-years-old and poses structural safety concerns.
  • Narrow seating space for MPs
    • The present building was never designed to accommodate a bicameral legislature for a full-fledged democracy.
    • The number of Lok Sabha seats is likely to increase significantly from the current 545 after 2026, when the freeze on the total number of seats lifts.
    • The Central Hall has seating capacity only for 440 persons.
    • When the Joint Sessions are held, the problem of limited seats amplifies.
  • Distressed infrastructure:
    • The addition of services like water supply and sewer lines, fire fighting equipment, CCTV cameras, etc., have led to seepage of water at several places.
    • Fire safety is a major concern at the building.
  • Obsolete communication structures:
    • Communications infrastructure and technology is antiquated in the existing Parliament, and the acoustics of all the halls need improvement.
  • Safety concerns:
    • The current Parliament building was built when Delhi was in Seismic Zone-II; currently it is in Seismic Zone-IV. This raises structural safety concerns.

Main features of the new building

  • Built-up area of about 65,000 sq m, triangular in shape, and incorporates architectural styles from around India;
  • Lok Sabha hall with a capacity of up to 888 seats, and Rajya Sabha hall with a capacity of upto 384 seats;
    • The Lok Sabha may accommodate up to 1,272 seats for joint sessions of Parliament.
  • The Lok Sabha hall is based on the peacock theme, India’s national bird. The Rajya Sabha is based on the lotus theme, India’s national flower.
  • A “Platinum-rated Green Building”, the new Sansad Bhavan will embody India’s commitment towards environmental sustainability.
  • The new Parliament is divyang friendly where people with disabilities will be able to move around freely.



Polity & Governance

Mains Article
29 May 2023

Rs 75 coin released on new Parliament inauguration day

Why in news?

  • To mark the inauguration of the new Parliament building, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a commemorative coin of Rs 75 denomination.
  • India has been issuing commemorative coins for several reasons such as paying homage to notable personalities, spreading awareness about government schemes, or remembering key historic events.
  • The country released its first commemorative coin in 1964 in honour of Jawaharlal Nehru, who had passed away that year.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Minting of coin
  • Commemorative coin
  • News Summary

Minting of coins                    

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

Printing of currency

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

Commemorative coin

  • About
    • A commemorative coin is a special coin issued to honor and celebrate a particular event, person, or significant milestone.
    • These Coins are distinct from regular circulation coins in that they are not intended for everyday transactions but rather serve as collectible items or gifts. These coins are primarily meant for numismatic purposes.
  • Minting
    • The Government, through the Ministry of Finance, authorizes the issuance of commemorative coins to mark various occasions of national importance.
    • These coins are minted by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), which operates mints across the country.
    • The RBI also issues special commemorative coins in limited quantities, primarily in precious metals, to honor eminent personalities, national achievements, or historical events.

News Summary

Features of the new commemorative coin

  • Shape and composition
    • The latest Rs 75 coin is circular in shape with a diameter of 44mm.
    • The composition of the coin is of a quaternary alloy — 50 per cent silver, 40 per cent copper, 5 per cent nickel and 5 per cent zinc.
  • Inscription
    • The face of the coin shall bear the Lion Capitol of Ashoka Pillar in the centre, with the legend "सत्यमेवजयते"(Satyameva Jayate) inscribed below.
    • It is flanked on the left periphery with the word “भारत” (Bharat) in Devanagari script and on the right periphery the word “INDIA” in English.
    • The other side of the coin displays an image of the new parliament building.
    • The inscription “Sansad Sankul” is written in Devanagari script on the upper periphery while the words “Parliament Complex” in English on the lower periphery of the coin.

Getting commemorative coins

  • From where to get these coins?
    • If someone wants to acquire commemorative coins, they can do so by visiting the website of the Securities of Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL).
  • Amount to be paid
    • Such coins are meant to be just collectables as their worth may not necessarily be the same as their face value.
    • For instance, in 2018, the government issued a commemorative coin of Rs 100 denomination to honour former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
    • However, it is currently available on SPMCIL’s website for ₹5,717. This coin is 50 per cent silver, and has other metals.
History & Culture

May 28, 2023

Mains Article
28 May 2023

NITI Aayog’s eighth Governing Council meet

Why in news?

  • PM Modi chaired the eighth Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog. The meeting was conducted at the new Convention Centre in Pragati Maidan, Delhi.
  • The theme for this meeting was ‘Viksit Bharat @ 2047: Role of Team India’.

What’s in today’s article?

  • NITI Aayog
  • News Summary

National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog:

  • About:
    • NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on 1 January 2015. It was constituted to replace the Planning Commission - instituted in 1950.
    • It is the premier policy think tank of the Government of India, providing directional and policy inputs.
    • NITI Aayog acts as a platform to bring the States to act together in national interest and thereby fosters cooperative federalism.
  • Composition
    • Chairperson: The Prime Minister of India
    • Full time organisational framework:
      • Vice Chairperson: Appointed by the PM, s/he enjoys the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
      • Full-Time Members: Enjoys the rank of a Minister of State.
      • Part-Time Members: Maximum 2.
      • Ex-Officio Members: Maximum of 4 members of the Union Council of Minister to be nominated by the PM.
    • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Appointed by the PM for a fixed tenure, s/he enjoys the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
    • Special Invitees: These will be experts with relevant domain knowledge to be nominated by the PM.
  • Governing Council of NITI Aayog:
    • The council is the premier body tasked with evolving a shared vision of national priorities and strategies, with the active involvement of States.
    • It presents a platform to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues to accelerate the implementation of the national development agenda.
    • Composition of Governing Council:
      • It is chaired by the PM and comprises Chief Ministers of all the States and UTs with legislatures and Lt Governors of other Union Territories.
      • The council also comprises of Vice Chairman
    • Before 2023, seven meetings of the Governing Council had been held (7th meeting was held in August, 2022).

Performance of NITI:

  • As an action Tank: By collecting fresh and new ideas and sharing them with the government at the Central and State level, it ensures that there is no inactivity in any organisation or institution.
  • Improving innovation: A commendable work has been done by the Atal Innovation Mission (established under NITI Aayog), which has helped in improving the innovation ecosystem in India.
  • Bringing greater responsibility in the system: Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO) has been established by the NITI Aayog, which collects performance data of various Ministries on a real-time basis.
    • These data are then used at the highest policy-making levels to improve performance and establish accountability.
  • Some important initiatives of NITI Aayog: Some of the initiatives like Ayushman Bharat, water conservation measures, approach towards artificial intelligence, have been conceptualised in NITI Aayog and respective Ministries are taking them forward.

NITI Aayog: Promoting Federalism

  • Cooperative Federalism
    • NITI Aayog has provided a platform for direct issue-based interaction between States and Central Ministries thereby helping quick resolution of outstanding issues.
    • The NITI Forum for North East has been constituted and tangible sectoral proposals are being implemented by the States in partnership with the North East council.
    • NITI Aayog has designed some major initiatives for island development which are being implemented under the overall guidance of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • It is also envisaged that like the NITI Forum for the North East, other regional councils of contiguous States could be formed.
      • The first step has been taken by forming the Himalayan States Regional Council and forming a coalition of all thirteen central universities in these states.
  • Competitive Federalism
    • It promotes competitive federalism principally through pushing its sectoral indices which are put out in the public domain.
      • The indices on water, education, health, innovation, export preparedness, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have attracted significant positive attention.
    • It has also introduced a competition element in ‘Aspirational Districts Program’ by focusing on governance improvement on the ground.
      • These districts have shown significant improvement in indicators pertaining to health and nutrition, education etc.
    • Besides, several best practices in governance have emerged from these districts which are now being scaled up and replicated at the block level in some states.

News Summary: NITI Aayog’s eighth Governing Council meet

Key highlights of the speech delivered by PM Modi

  • To achieve the goal of Vikasit Bharat by 2047
    • PM Modi asked the states and districts to develop a long-term vision to make India a developed country by 2047.
    • In this context, he said it was essential to combine the vision of states and districts with the national vision to reach the goal of Vikasit Bharat by 2047.
  • Urged the states to take financially prudent decisions
    • This would make them fiscally strong and capable of undertaking programmes for the welfare of citizens.
  • Urged the States to proactively use the Gati Shakti Portal
    • He urged the States to proactively use the Gati Shakti Portal not only for infrastructure and logistics but also for local area development and creation of social infrastructure.
      • PM Gati Shakti - National Master Plan for Multi-modal Connectivity, is essentially a digital platform to bring 16 Ministries together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects.
Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 May 2023

Dividends of Indian oil PSUs are stuck in Russia

Why in news?

  • The dividend income of many Indian public sector oil companies from their investments in Russian projects are stuck in Russia since the war broke out.
    • The companies include ONGC Videsh (OVL), Oil India (OIL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), and Bharat Petro Resources (BPRL).
  • This is due to the payment channel-related issues in the aftermath of Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

What’s in today’s article?

  • News Summary

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)

  • About
    • SWIFT is a cooperative organization headquartered in Belgium that provides a secure messaging network for financial institutions worldwide.
    • It was founded in 1973 and operates a standardized system for transmitting financial transaction messages between banks and other financial institutions.
    • SWIFT has become a vital component of the global financial system, connecting over 11,000 financial institutions across more than 200 countries.
    • It plays a crucial role in facilitating international transactions and promoting financial stability by providing a reliable and standardized means of communication between banks.
  • Function
    • Its primary function is to facilitate the secure exchange of information and instructions related to financial transactions.
      • These transactions include money transfers, securities trading, and treasury operations.
    • It enables banks and financial institutions to communicate with each other in a standardized and secure manner, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of the transmitted data.
    • While SWIFT facilitates the exchange of financial messages, it does not handle the actual movement of funds.
      • The responsibility for executing transactions lies with the participating financial institutions.
  • Working
    • The SWIFT network allows member institutions to send and receive messages using a unique identification code called the Bank Identifier Code (BIC).
    • These messages contain instructions and details about the transfer of funds or other financial transactions.
    • SWIFT ensures that these messages are securely delivered to the intended recipient and provides confirmation of receipt.

News Summary

  • Dividend income of Indian oil PSUs, amounting over $300 million, are stuck in Russia since the Ukraine war broke out.
  • Indian companies were receiving regular dividend income from their investments in Russia until the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
  • However, they have not been able to repatriate the dividend income since the war began.
    • Russian companies operating the projects are releasing dividends to their Indian partners.
    • However, the money is piling up in an Indian bank in Russia - Commercial Indo Bank (CIBL).
      • CIBL used to be a joint-venture of SBI and Canara Bank, but the latter recently sold its stake in the venture to SBI.

Why the dividends of Indian oil PSUs are stuck in Russia?

  • Payment channel-related issues
    • Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, a number of major Russian banks were banned from the SWIFT financial transactions processing system.
    • This seriously constricted Moscow’s ability to access the global payments system.
  • Curbs imposed by Russian government
    • The Russian government too has put curbs on the repatriation of dollars in a bid to keep exchange rate volatility in check.

India’s investments in Russian oil assets

  • Amount invested
    • Over the years, Indian public sector companies have invested billions of dollars to pick up stake in oil and gas projects in Russia.
    • These investments — adding up to almost $6 billion according to one estimate — are part of India’s energy security strategy.
      • India is heavily dependent on energy imports.
  • Companies in which investments have been made
    • OVL, the overseas investment arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), holds a 20% stake in the Sakhalin-1 project and 26% in Vankorneft field.
      • It also owns Imperial Energy, which has fields in Siberia.
    • A consortium of IOC, OIL, and Bharat Petroleum Corporation’s (BPCL’s) upstream arm BPRL has 23.9% share in Vankorneft and 29.9% in Taas-YuryakhNeftegazodobycha fields.

Options available to Indian oil PSUs and associated challenges

  • The money can be used to partly pay for India’s ballooning purchases of Russian crude
    • This is challenging as IOC and BPRL’s parent BPCL buy Russian oil, OIL does not.
    • Also, the investments in Russian projects are through special purpose vehicles (SPVs) registered in overseas territories like Singapore.
    • This means that any payment dealing with Russian oil in this case would also come under the jurisdiction of overseas territories, and not just Russia and India.
      • There are various Western sanctions against Russia and its energy sector.
      • Therefore, cross payments for Russian oil using this dividend income could end up becoming an extremely complex exercise from taxation and accounting standpoints.
  • The dividend income could be for future investment in the same projects
    • But the challenge there is that the assets that Indian companies are invested in are past their major capital expenditure cycle, and are now producing assets.
    • This means that major cash calls, or demand for more investment in the projects, are highly unlikely in the near-to-medium term.

Mains Article
28 May 2023

What is a narco test, how does it work?

Why in News?

  • Protesting wrestlers at Jantar Mantar recently said they were willing to undergo a narco analysis test, provided it was monitored by the Supreme Court.
  • The remark was made in response to Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president comment that he was ready to undergo the narco test on the condition that wrestlers take one too

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • What is a Narco Test?
  • Narco Tests vs Polygraph Tests
  • SC’s Guidelines in Selvi vs State of Karnataka (2010)
  • What is the Evidentiary Value of Such Tests?
  • Legal Position before the SC Ruling

What is a Narco Test?

  • In a ‘narco’ or narco analysis test, a drug called sodium pentothal is injected into the body of the accused, which transports them to a hypnotic or sedated state in which their imagination is neutralised.
    • Sodium pentothal/sodium thiopental is a fast-acting, short-duration anaesthetic used in larger doses to sedate patients during surgery.
    • It belongs to the barbiturate class of drugs that act on the central nervous system as depressants.
    • Because the drug is believed to weaken the subject’s resolve to lie, it is sometimes referred to as a “truth serum”, used by intelligence operatives first during World War II.
  • In this hypnotic state, the accused is understood as being incapable of lying and is expected to give information that is true.

Narco Tests vs Polygraph Tests:

  • Polygraph tests, although having the same truth-decoding motive, work differently.
  • A polygraph test is carried out on the assumption that physiological responses triggered when one is lying are different from what they otherwise would be.
  • Rather than injecting drugs into the body, polygraph tests attach instruments like cardio-cuffs or sensitive electrodes to the suspect (while being questioned) and measure variables such as blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration, etc.

SC’s Guidelines in Selvi vs State of Karnataka (2010):

  • Taking into consideration the international norms on human rights, the right to a fair trial, and the right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution, the court said that -
    • A forcible intrusion into a person’s mental processes is an affront to human dignity and liberty.
  • Therefore, the guidelines for the administration of polygraph tests published by the NHRC in 2000, must be strictly followed.
  • Such tests cannot be administered without the subject’s consent, which must be obtained before a Magistrate.
  • Those who volunteer must have access to a lawyer and have the physical, emotional, and legal implications of the test explained to them by the police and the lawyer.

What is the Evidentiary Value of Such Tests?

  • The results of narco-analysis tests are not considered “confessions” since those in a drugged-induced state cannot exercise their choice in answering questions put to them.
  • However, the SC clarified that any information or material that is subsequently discovered with the help of voluntary administered test results can be admitted, in accordance with the Evidence Act, 1872.
  • Thus, if an accused reveals a physical piece of evidence (like a murder weapon) and the police later find that evidence, the statement of the accused will not be treated as evidence, but the physical evidence will be valid.

Legal Position before the SC Ruling:

  • In 2006, the Madras HC observed that since the accused did not come forward with the truth, the scientific tests resorted to by the investigating agency did not “amount to testimonial compulsion”.
  • In 2008, the Delhi HC said that narco-analysis tests “do not suffer from any constitutional infirmity” and are a “step in aid of investigation”.


Polity & Governance

Mains Article
28 May 2023

Implications of US' New Visa Policy for Dhaka and New Delhi

Why in News?

  • A month after the PM of Bangladesh accused Washington DC of seeking to oust her government, the US Secretary of State announced a new visa policy supporting Bangladesh’s goal of holding free, fair and peaceful national elections.
  • It could also have an impact on India’s diplomacy with Bangladesh.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • What is the US' New Visa Policy?
  • Ongoing Scenario in Bangladesh
  • Relations between US and Bangladesh
  • Implication of these Developments on India

What is the US' New Visa Policy?

  • The new policy, which covers current and former Bangladeshi officials, members of ruling and opposition parties, etc., would restrict issuance of visas to those who undermine the holding of a free and fair elections.
  • In clarifications issued soon after the announcement, the US State Department said the actions were not targeted against the Awami League led government.

Ongoing Scenario in Bangladesh:

  • Opposition is protesting and demanding that the elections be held under a caretaker government and by a “neutral” Election Commission.
  • In her three terms in office, PM’s style of functioning has come to be seen as increasingly authoritarian.
  • Her crackdown on former PM Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), citing its links to Islamist parties and alleging corruption at the top, dealt a crippling blow to the Opposition.
  • The space for dissent and criticism has shrunk visibly in Bangladesh. Hence, the Bangladesh opposition has welcomed the new policy.

Relations between US and Bangladesh:

  • The US is the biggest destination for Bangladesh’s garment exports, and Bangladesh is the third largest exporter of garments to the US after China and Vietnam.
    • As the industry is the backbone of the country’s economic growth, it is seeking a GSP-Plus status with the US and Europe for its readymade garment exports.
    • The EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) gives developing countries a special incentive to pursue sustainable development and good governance, in return for cuts in import duties.
  • The US is the top foreign investor in Bangladesh. However, the mutual unhappiness in the US-Bangladesh relationship has been no secret for some years.
  • For example, Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to Washington to mark 50 years of diplomatic ties with the US, included no big ticket meetings.
  • The PM of Bangladesh even said in Parliament that the US was seeking regime change in Bangladesh.
  • The US government, on the other hand, had conveyed its concern over democratic erosion, and also about the two previous elections in Bangladesh.

Implication of these Developments on India:

  • The US position on the Bangladesh elections could complicate India’s diplomacy in Bangladesh.
  • New Delhi, wants Sheikh Hasina - a leader who has acted on its security concerns swiftly, back in power in Dhaka
  • She is seen as having given away too much - land transit rights to the Northeastern states, a favourable coal power deal to an Adani company, etc., while Bangladesh itself has been awaiting Teesta waters for many years.
  • Over the last few years, the US and India were seen as acting in tandem in Bangladesh, especially as their security objectives converged.
  • The visa policy is a sign that this may be changing. A post-Afghanistan US seems more open than India to political change in Dhaka.
  • For now, India may prefer to keep silent on the linking of the US visa policy in Bangladesh to free and fair elections in the country.
International Relations

May 27, 2023

Mains Article
27 May 2023

The New Parliament: A Fountainhead of The People’s Hopes and Aspirations


  • In its 75th year of Independence, India is set to witness a historic moment with the inauguration of the new Parliament House on May 28, 2023.
  • After using a Parliament building that is nearly a century old and symbolised a colonial era, India finally has a new structure in independent India.

History of Old Parliament House

  • The building, with a diameter of 560 ft and circumference of one-third of a mile, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker, who along with Sir Edwin Lutyens was chosen to design the new imperial capital in Delhi.
  • Britain's Duke of Connaught had laid the foundation stone of Parliament House on February 12, 1921, and said it would stand "as the symbol of India's rebirth to yet higher destinies".
  • According to archival documents and rare old images, a grand ceremony was held on January 18, 1927 to mark the opening of the majestic building, then called as the CouncilHouse.

The Need of a New Parliament

  • Narrow Space
    • Two more floors were added to this building in 1956 to accommodate more staff and other offices.
    • The need for yet more office space led to the construction of the Parliament Annexe in 1975.
    • In 2002, the Parliament Library was added to the complex. For similar reasons, an extension of the Parliament Annexe was constructed in 2016.
  • Lack of State-of-Art Utilities
    • Despite these new constructions in the Parliament, the need for modern facilities in the main Parliament House remained unfulfilled.
    • In the present Parliament House, the communications infrastructure and technology are antiquated. The acoustics of all the halls need major improvement.
  • Distressed Infrastructure
    • It had to be retrofitted multiple times, which left little space for further improvements.
    • A web of wires is squeezed under covers. The inner ceilings of both the Chambers and the Central Hall were provided with safety nettings to prevent any tiles and plaster from falling.
    • The multiple wirings for computers, air conditioners and security gadgets gave the complex a highly shabby look.
    • In 2012, the Rajya Sabha proceedings had to be adjourned due to a peculiar smell coming out from AC ducts.

Planning of New Parliament

  • In 2012, the Speaker, Meira Kumar, stated that the Parliament building was “weeping,” and approved a high-powered committee to look for an alternative complex.
  • In 2015, the Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, wrote to the Minister for Urban Affairs to have a new Parliament building with modern facilities.
  • This issue was taken up on priority under the current dispensation led by PM Modi.
  • A detailed plan to build a start-of-the-art Parliament was set in motion, and its foundation was laid in December 2020.
  • The new parliament building is a part of a larger plan;Redevelopment of Central Vista.

The Central Vista Project

  • The Central Vista is a 3 km stretch in the heart of New Delhi that runs from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
  • It is flanked by large green spaces and significant structures such as Parliament, the Secretariat buildings, and the National Archives.
  • The Central government is redeveloping the three-km-long Central Vista and Parliament.
  • A common Central secretariat will be constructed for all ministries that are currently spread over many buildings across Delhi.
  • The Parliament House and North and South Blocks will not be demolished, but their usage may change.
  • The rest of the buildings that came up post-1947, including Shastri Bhavan and Krishi Bhavan, are likely to be demolished.

 Features of New Parliament Building

  • Spacious Legislative Chambers
    • The new building will have a larger Lok Sabha Hall with a capacity of up to 888 seats and a larger Rajya Sabha hall with a capacity of 384 seats.
    • For joint sessions the Lok Sabha Hall may accommodate up to 1272 seats.
  • Optimum Space Utilisation
    • The new Parliament building is designed in a triangular shape since it sits on a triangular plot and has three main spaces -- Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and a Central Lounge.
    • The shape ensures optimum space utilisation for the new building.
    • State-of-the-Art Constitutional Hall: The hall has been given a grad look keeping in mind that it symbolically and physically puts the Indian citizens at the Heart of our democracy.
  • Sophisticated Audio-Visual Systems
    • The new building will have large Committee rooms, equipped with the latest audio-visual systems.
    • It will house functional, purpose-designed spaces to facilitate and deliver higher efficiency.
  • Superior Library Experiences: The new building library will efficiently serve the members for gathering information from archived material.
  • Energy-efficient Parliament: A platinum-rated green building, the new Sansad Bhavan will be symbol of India’s commitment towards environmental sustainability.
  • An Embodiment of Indian Heritage: The new building will reflect the vibrance and diversity of modern India, incorporating our cultural and regional arts and crafts.

 Significance of New Parliament House

  • Symbol of Vision and Aspirations of India: The new building reflects the aspiration of a country that has evolved significantly since 1947.
  • Spirit of Change and Continuity
    • The new building will be another extension of the existing Parliament complex and it will signify the spirit of change and continuity;
    • It will reflect the journey of Indian Parliament from what it was yesterday to what it would be in the future.
  • Making of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’: The old building gave direction to independent India, while the new one will witness the making of India as ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Expectations from the New Parliament

  • Introspect on Indian Parliamentary Conduct
    • The inauguration of a new Parliament building presents an opportunity for us to seriously introspect on parliamentary conduct to make Parliament more efficient and productive.
    • The trend of increasing disruptions and long periods of deadlock is antithetical to the demand for politics to respond to the complex governance challenges of the time.
  • Need to enable a serious environment for Debates and Discussions
    • One hopes that adequate functional space and modern facilities for the members will contribute to reducing friction and enabling serious discussions.
    • In the coming years, as this complex expands, each member will have their own dedicated space for interacting with people from their constituencies.
    • A modern legislature is required to work in tune with the challenges of time. The country has already paid huge costs — social and economic — due to the absence of laws when needed the most.


As a fountainhead of the people’s hopes and aspirations, particularly those of the younger generations, the New Parliament would work as a lighthouse to guide us in our ambitious journey to build ‘Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat.’

Editorial Analysis

Mains Article
27 May 2023

Angel Tax -Investment from 21 nations exempted

Why in news?

  • The Finance Ministry has exempted investors from 21 countries from the levy of angel tax for non-resident investment in unlisted Indian startups.
  • Countries like Singapore, Netherlands and Mauritius have not been included in the exemption list.
    • These countries constitute the major chunk of foreign direct investment in India.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Angel Tax
  • News Summary

Angel Tax

  • It is a term basically used to refer to the income tax payable on the capital raised by unlisted companies via the issue of shares through off-market transactions.
  • This tax is levied on the capital raised via the issue of shares by unlisted companies from an investor if the share price of issued shares is seen in excess of the fair market value of the company.
  • The excess realization is considered as income and therefore, taxed accordingly.
    • E.g., If the fair market value of a start-up share is Rs 10 apiece, and in a subsequent funding round they offer it to an investor for Rs 20, then the difference of Rs 10 would be taxed as income.
  • Angel tax gets its name from the wealthy individuals (“angels”) who invest heavily in risky, unproven business ventures and start-ups, in the initial stages when they are yet to be recognised widely.

Rationale behind introducing Angel Tax

  • Rule related to Angel Taxis described in Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • This clause was inserted into the act in 2012 to prevent laundering of black money, roundtripping via investments with a large premium into unlisted companies.

Budget 2023-23 and Angel Tax

  • Investments that used to fall under the ambit of Angel Tax before the introduction of Budget 2023-24
    • Before budget 2023-24, angel tax was imposed only on investments made by a resident investor.
    • i.e., it was not applicable in case the investments are made by any non-resident or venture capital funds.
    • Allaying the concerns of the startup community, the govt had also exempted investments made by the domestic investors in companies approved by an inter-ministerial panel from Angel Tax.
      • i.e., Government recognised startups, upon meeting certain criteria, were exempted from this tax.
  • Changes introduced in Budget 2023-24 with respect to angel tax
    • The Finance Bill, 2023 has proposed to amend Section 56(2) VII B of the Income Tax Act.
    • With this, the government has proposed to include foreign investors in the ambit.
    • That means when a start-up raises funding from a foreign investor, that too will now be counted as income and be taxable.
    • However, these foreign investors will not need to pay any angel tax while investing in a government-recognised startup in India — similar to the provision for domestic investors.
    • Either of domestic or overseas investors investing in a DPIIT-registered startup will not attract the so-called angel tax

News Summary: Angel Tax - Investment from 21 nations exempted

  • The Finance Ministry has notified 21 countries, from where non-resident investment in unlisted Indian startups will not attract angel tax.

Notified categories of exempted investors from angel tax

  • Excluded entities as notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)
    • Those registered with Sebi as Category-I FPI,
      • Category-I FPI (Foreign Portfolio Investor) refers to a classification of foreign investors in India's financial markets.
      • It includes entities such as sovereign wealth funds, central banks, government agencies etc.
      • These entities are considered to have a relatively low-risk profile.
    • Endowment Funds,
    • Pension Funds and
    • Broad-based pooled investment vehicles where the number of investors in such vehicle or fund is more than 50, and
    • the residents of 21 specified nations
      • These nations are- US, UK, Australia, Germany, Spain, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Italy, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Russia, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden.

Concerns regarding the exemptions

  • Can impact fundraising by startups
    • Experts believe the exclusions of countries from exemption list impacts fundraising by startups as these form a major chunk of investment source for them.
    • E.g., Singapore, Mauritius and UAE - these three countries together constitute over 50% FDI in India.
  • Welcome move to plug loopholes
    • The exclusion of Mauritius, Singapore and Netherlands is being seen as a move to plug loopholes from investments arising from such tax havens.
  • Aims to attract more FDI into India from exempted countries
    • By explicitly mentioning this list of countries, the government aims to attract more FDI into India from countries that have robust regulatory
    • This move aligns with the Government’s initial intention of bringing FDI under the purview of angel tax to prevent the circulation of unaccounted money.
    • Therefore, exempting investments from regulated entities, resident in countries with stringent and effective regulatory frameworks serves a logical purpose.

Mains Article
27 May 2023

The process of merger in India: NCLAT gives relief to Zee on Sony merger, sets aside tribunal order

Why in News?

  • Providing major relief to Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), the NCLAT set aside the NCLT order that had directed the NSE and BSE to reconsider their approval for the Zee-Sony merger.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • The Process of Merger in India
  • Reasons behind Mergers
  • The Merger Proposal
  • The NCLT and the NCLAT
  • News Summary Regarding Zee-Sony Merger

The Process of Merger in India:

  • A ‘Merger’ essentially means an arrangement whereby one or more existing companies merge their identity into another to form a new and different entity.
  • It is a corporate strategy to enhance the financial and operational strengths of both organisations and has been carried out in accordance with the Companies Act 2013.

 Reasons behind Mergers:


The Merger Proposal:

  • It must be approved by the boards of directors of both companies and they must pass a special resolution authorising their Key Management Personnel to carry out the process.
  • Then, an application is filed with the respective jurisdiction’s High Court.
  • Under the Companies Act 2013, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is entrusted with the powers of merger, de-merger.
  • The merger plan approved by the NCLT can be challenged in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) by the dissenting parties (if any).

The NCLT and the NCLAT:

  • NCLT is a quasi-judicial body established (2016) under the Companies Act 2013 to adjudicate issues relating to Indian companies.
    • It is based on the recommendation of the V. Balakrishna Eradi committee on law relating to the insolvency and the winding up of companies.
    • Its bench is chaired by a Judicial member who is supposed to be a retired or a serving HC Judge and a Technical member who must be from the Indian Corporate Law Service.
    • It is the adjudicating authority for the insolvency resolution process of companies and limited liability partnerships under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • NCLAT is a tribunal formed under the Companies Act 2013 as a body with an appellate jurisdiction on the decisions made by the NCLT.
  • No criminal court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which the Tribunal or the Appellate Tribunal is empowered to determine by or under this Act.

News Summary Regarding Zee-Sony Merger:

  • Background:
    • In 2021, Sony Pictures Networks India and ZEEL entered into a non-binding term sheet to bring together their linear networks, digital assets, production operations, etc.
    • As per the scheme of the arrangement, Sony will indirectly hold 50.86% of the combined company.
    • The founder of Zee will own around 4% and the rest will be with the other shareholders of ZEEL.
    • Apart from the BSE and NSE approval and the Competition Commission of India’s nod, the shareholders of Zee had already given their assent to the merger.
  • The NCLT order and challenge:
    • The NCLT had directed NSE and BSE to reconsider their prior approvals for the merger of ZEEL and Culver Max Entertainment.
    • The NCLT order was challenged by ZEEL before the appellate tribunal, contending that it was not granted adequate opportunity by the NCLT to present its side.
      • It also contended that the NCLT doesn’t have jurisdiction over non-compete issues.
    • The NCLAT order came on hearing the appeal filed by ZEEL against the order passed by the Mumbai bench of the NCLT.

Mains Article
27 May 2023

NITI Aayog’s ‘State Health Index’: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana top states in Covid year, Delhi worst UT

Why in News?

  • According to the NITI Aayog’s annual ‘State Health Index’ (5th edition) for the Covid year of 2020-21, the three southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana emerged as the top performers among the ‘larger states’.
  • The NITI Aayog is learnt to have shared the report - Healthy States Progressive India Report on the Ranks of States and Union Territories - with the Health Ministry.

What’s in Today’s Article?

  • The State Health Index
  • Domains and Indicators of the Index
  • Highlights of the 5th Edition of the State Health Index

The State Health Index:

  • It was launched by the NITI Aayog in 2017 to measure the performance of states and UTs on a weighted composite score incorporating 24 health performance indicators clubbed under three domains.
  • The Aayog brings out the index (annually) in collaboration with the Union Health Ministry and World Bank.
  • The objective of this index is to not just look at the states’ historical performance but also their incremental performance.
  • The index encourages healthy competition and cross-learning among States and UTs and nudges states/UTs towards building robust health systems and improving service delivery through their policymaking and resource allocation.
  • As a result, the MoHFW had linked the index to incentives under the National Health Mission.
    • This has been instrumental in shifting the focus from budget spending and inputs to outputs and outcomes.
  • This index is an example of both competitive and cooperative federalism.

Domains and Indicators of the Index:

  • The ‘Health outcomes’ include indicators like neonatal mortality rate, total fertility rate, sex ratio at birth, immunisation coverage, proportion of institutional deliveries, etc.
  • The ‘Key inputs/processes’ is a measure of health infrastructure available, including proportion of functional 24X7 primary healthcare centres, etc.
  • The ‘Governance and Information’ domain includes average occupancy of three key posts at state level, average occupancy of the chief medical officer, days taken for fund transfer, etc.

Highlights of the 5th Edition of the State Health Index:

  • Overall performance among the 19 larger states:
    • Top performers: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana have secured the top three positions in terms.
    • Worst performer: Bihar, UP and MP occupy the bottom three positions, ranking 19th, 18th, and 17th, respectively.
    • Incremental performance from 2019-20 to 2020-21: Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Odisha have emerged as the top three performers among the larger states.
  • In the category of smaller states: Tripura has demonstrated the best overall performance, followed by Sikkim and Goa. On the other hand, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur occupy the bottom three positions.
  • Among the UTs: Lakshadweep has secured the top position in terms of overall performance, while Delhi has been placed at the bottom.
Social Issues

Mains Article
27 May 2023

Model Prisons Act announced by the MHA

Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that it has finalised the preparation of the Model Prisons Act, 2023.
  • The act will replace the current 130-year-old law i.e., Prisons Act, 1894.

What’s in today’s article?

  • News Summary

News Summary

Prisons Act 1894

  • It defines prison and demarcated prisoners into three different categories according to the nature of their crimes.
    • These categories were - “criminal prisoner”, “convicted criminal prisoner” and “civil prisoner”.
  • It dealt with provisions for accommodation, food, clothing, bedding segregation, and the discipline of prisoners, including solitary confinement.
  • It also laid down provisions for the prisoners’ employment, health, and visits.
  • However, the act had no provisions for reformation or rehabilitation.
  • The act permitted whipping, provided that the number of stripes shall not exceed thirty, albeit for only male prisoners.

Rationale behind bringing a new model act

  • Attempt to shift the focus
    • The focus of the existing 130-year-old colonial law was retributive deterrence.
      • It used punishment or the threat of punishment as a means to deter individuals from committing crimes.
      • It focused on keeping criminals in custody and enforcing discipline and order in prisons, leaving no provision for reform and rehabilitation of prisoners.
    • The new act aims to shift the focus of incarceration from “retributive deterrence” to “reform and rehabilitation”.
  • Killings and gang violence within prisons
    • The Model Prisons Act, 2023, is being introduced following the spate of killings and gang violence within prisons.
    • One such incident was the killing of 33-year-old TilluTajpuriya, who was allegedly stabbed to death by members of a rival gang inside Tihar jail.
  • The presence of a criminal nexus operating from inside prisons
    • In November 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) asked the Union Home Ministry to shift several dreaded gangsters lodged in north India’s prisons to those in the southern states.
    • The NIA’s request to move nearly 25 gangsters was driven by the presence of a criminal nexus operating from inside prisons in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan.

Key highlights of the new provisions being proposed

  • Aims to encourage good conduct
    • The Model Act seeks to create provisions for the grant of parole, furlough, and remission to prisoners to encourage good conduct.
  • Intends to bring about attitudinal change towards prisoners
    • The new Act also intends to bring about attitudinal change towards prisoners and initiate vocational training and skill development for prisoners for their reintegration into society.
  • Seeks to bring about transparency in prison management
    • The new Act also seeks to bring about “transparency in prison management” and includes provisions for security assessment and segregation of prisoners.
  • Additionally, it aims to provide separate accommodation for women and transgender inmates, ensure the physical and mental well-being of prisoners.
  • Other provisions
    • Individual sentence planning;
    • Grievance-redressal;
    • Prison development board and use of technology in prison administration;
    • Protecting society from criminal activities of hardened criminals and habitual offenders.
    • Establishing high-security jails and open, semi-open jails.
    • New measures for prisoners to video conference with courts have also been introduced.
      • However, if a prisoner is using prohibited items like mobile phones in jail, they will be punished for it.

Is the Model Prisons Act, 2023, binding on states?

  • Constitutional Provision
    • As per the provisions of the Constitution, ‘prisons’ and ‘persons detained therein’ fall under the State List.
    • Hence, the responsibility of prison management and administration solely vests with the state government, which alone is competent to make appropriate legislative provisions in this regard.
  • Supporting role played by the Centre
    • Owing to the critical role played by ‘efficient prison management’ in the criminal justice system, the Centre finds it crucial to support the States and UTs in this regard.
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs had clarified while announcing the 2023 Act that it may serve as a guiding document for the States so that they may benefit from its adoption in their jurisdictions.
Polity & Governance
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