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12th May 2023

Governor Can't Enter Political Arena: SC


In relation to the Maharashtra political crisis, the Supreme Court held that decision taken by the Governor to call for a floor test based on the rebellion of Eknath Shinde-led faction and to direct then CM Uddhav Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House, was wrong.

  • The former Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyati had sought a floor test following a rebellion by a section of Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde in June 2022.

Key-points made by the Supreme Court

  • No solution to resolve disputes: In its judgement, the Supreme Court said the “floor test cannot be used as a medium to resolve internal party disputes or intra party disputes”.
    • The court noted that “dissent and disagreement within a political party must be resolved in accordance with the remedies prescribed under the party constitution, or through any other methods that the party chooses to opt for”.
  • The Supreme Court has now ruled that the Governor's decision was incorrect as it was based on the rebellion of a faction led by Eknath Shinde and not on any material suggesting that Uddhav Thackeray had lost the majority in the assembly.

What is a floor test?

  • A floor test or a “No Confidence Motion” is a legislative measure conducted on the floor of the House to check whether the executive has the majority support in the legislature with the confidence of at least 51% of the members of the House.
  • It is called for when an incumbent government is suspected to have lost the majority in the house.
  • Although the constitution does not demarcate any provision for a political party to be in absolute majority to form the government, the executive i.e., the ministers it is composed of must exercise the legislatures majority.
  • Under the Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, “the council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State.”  
  • If the majority is questioned and the incumbent government fails to qualify the trust vote, the executive falls and the concerned ministers are required to resign from their respective positions.
  • A no-confidence motion can be only be passed in the Lower Houses at both state and central hierarchies in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas of states.

Role of Governor

  • Governor can summon members of the Assembly and ask the Government to prove its majority by conducting a floor Test.
  • Article 174 confers on the Governor the power to summon, dissolve or prorogue any House of Legislative Assembly.
  • Article 175 gives the Governor the power to address any House of Legislative Assembly. 

What are the implications of the development?

  • The ruling by the Supreme Court is a significant development in the Maharashtra political crisis, which had led to uncertainty and instability in the state's governance.
  • It is expected to have far-reaching implications for the functioning of democratic institutions in the country.
  • Overall, the decision by the Supreme Court serves as a reminder that constitutional principles and democratic norms must be upheld at all times, even in the midst of political crises and upheavals.
  • It is hoped that the ruling will help to restore public confidence in the functioning of the political system and strengthen the rule of law in the country.

50% of Indian villages are ODF Plus


India has achieved another major sanitation milestone, as 50% of villages are now ODF Plus under Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen Phase-II.


  • Till date, more than 2.96 lakh villages have declared themselves ODF Plus, which is a significant step towards achieving the SBM-G Phase-II goals by 2024-25.
    • Telangana (100%), Karnataka (99.5%), Tamil Nadu (97.8%), and Uttar Pradesh (95.2%) among the big states, and Goa (95.3%) and Sikkim (69.2%) among the small states, are the best performers in terms of the proportion of ODF Plus villages.
    • Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Daman & Diu, and Lakshadweep are UTs with 100% ODF Plus Model villages.
    • These States and UTs have made outstanding progress towards obtaining ODF Plus designation, and this accomplishment would not have been possible without their efforts.
  • Out of the 296,928 ODF Plus villages,
    • 56,285 are ODF Plus Model villages
    • 208,613 are ODF Plus Aspiring villages with arrangements for either solid waste management or liquid waste management
    • 32,030 are ODF Plus Rising villages with arrangements for both solid waste management and liquid waste management
    • the remaining 208,613 are ODF Plus Aspiring villages with arrangements for only solid waste management
  • ODF Plus village: An ODF Plus village is one that has implemented solid or liquid waste management systems in addition to maintaining its ODF designation.
  • ODF Plus Model Villages: ODF Plus Model Villages are those that are maintaining their ODF status and have plans for both solid waste management and liquid waste management, observe visual cleanliness, that is, have little to no litter, little to no stagnant wastewater, and don't dump plastic waste in public areas, and display ODF Plus Information, Education & Communication (IEC) messages.

What is Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen Phase-II?

  • SBM (G) Phase-II was launched in February, 2020 with the focus to sustain the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
  • Eligibility: This scheme is for any rural household that does not have access to an individual household toilet.
  • Major Components: The major components of the Phase-II of SBM (G) are:
    • Sustaining Open Defecation Free Status (ODF-S)
    • Solid (Bio-degradable) Waste Management
    • Plastic Waste Management (PWM)
    • Liquid Waste Management (LWM)
    • Faecal Sludge Management (FSM)
    • GOBARdhan
    • Information Education and Communication/Behaviour Change Communication (IEC/BCC)
    • Capacity Building

Deep Ocean Mission


India has identified 11 potential sites for exploration of hydrogen sulfide and a dedicated multi-purpose vessel was being acquired to carry out detailed surveys as part of the Deep Ocean Mission

What is Deep Ocean Mission?

  • Launched in: June 2021
  • The Deep Ocean Mission is a high-level multi-ministerial, multi-disciplinary programme for better understanding of the deep sea living and non-living resources of the Indian Ocean.
  • It aims to aid in India's efforts to attain the Blue Economy status.
  • Nodal ministry: Ministry of Earth Science 
  • The Mission Steering Committee (MSC) is the highest Policy making body constituted under the Deep Ocean Mission (DOM).
  • Themes: The Deep Ocean Mission consists of 6 themes:
    • Development of Technology for deep sea mining, manned submersible and underwater robotics
    • Development of Ocean and climate change Advisory services
    • Technology innovations for exploration and conservation of deep sea biodiversity
    • Deep Ocean survey and exploration
    • Energy and Freshwater from the Ocean
    • Advanced marine station for Ocean Biology

Government initiatives to maintain Blue Economy Status

The Indian government has been taking several steps to maintain its Blue Economy status, including:

  • National Maritime Development Programme: The programme aims to promote sustainable development of India's maritime sector. The programme aims to enhance port infrastructure, modernize the shipping sector, and promote coastal shipping and inland water transport.
  • Sagarmala Programme: It aims to promote port-led development in the country. The programme aims to develop new ports and modernize existing ones, improve connectivity between ports and the hinterland, and promote coastal shipping.
  • Blue Economy Vision Document: In November 2021, the government released the Blue Economy Vision Document, which outlines a roadmap for sustainable development of India's Blue Economy.

Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT): A Step Towards Preventing Inherited Diseases


A groundbreaking IVF procedure has been successfully performed in the United Kingdom, resulting in the birth of the first baby with genetic material from three persons, with the help of Mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT).

What is Mitochondrial Donation Treatment (MDT)?

Mitochondrial diseases affect 1 in 5,000 people globally and can cause severe health problems, including muscle weakness, organ failure, and neurological disorders.

  • Mitochondrial donation treatment (MDT) is a medical procedure aimed at preventing inherited diseases caused by mutations in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).
  • The treatment involves replacing the faulty mitochondria in a woman's egg or embryo with healthy mitochondria from a donor.
  • Inherited mutations in mtDNA can cause mitochondrial disease, which is incurable and can lead to severe health problems.

Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell and are responsible for producing energy. They have their own DNA, separate from the nuclear DNA that determines an individual's physical traits.

How Does MDT Work?

  • MDT involves the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create an embryo with genetic material from three people: the mother, the father, and the mitochondrial donor. The process can be done in two ways:

The genetic material from the donated egg comprises less than 1 per cent of the child’s genetics

  • Pronuclear transfer: This involves transferring the nucleus of the mother's fertilized egg or embryo into the cytoplasm of a donor egg or embryo with healthy mitochondria. The resulting embryo has nuclear DNA from the mother and father and healthy mtDNA from the donor.
  • Maternal spindle transfer: This involves transferring the nucleus of the mother's egg into a donor egg with healthy mitochondria before fertilization. The resulting embryo has nuclear DNA from the mother and father and healthy mtDNA from the donor.

What is the legal Status of MDT?

  • The United Kingdom was the first country to legalize MDT in 2015.
    • The law allows the procedure to be used in cases where there is a high risk of transmitting a severe mitochondrial disease. The first baby born using MDT in the UK was in 2016.
  • Since then, a few other countries, including the United States, have also approved the use of MDT under strict regulations.

Status in India

  • In India, the MDT procedure is not currently allowed.
  • However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued draft guidelines for MDT and is seeking public comments.

What are the potential Benefits of MDT?

  • MDT could prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease to future generations and potentially eradicate it altogether.
  • It could also provide families with a much-needed option to have a healthy child without passing on a debilitating genetic condition.

Ethical Concerns with MDT

  • Questionable consequences of designer babies: One of the main ethical concerns with MDT is the creation of genetically modified babies. The procedure involves altering the genetic material of an embryo, which raises ethical questions about the creation of designer babies and the potential for unintended consequences.
  • Exploitation of vulnerable: Another concern is that MDT could lead to the exploitation of vulnerable women who donate their eggs. It is essential to ensure that MDT is regulated and used only for medical purposes.

Short News Article

Economy (GS-III)

Nano urea in field trials

Nano liquid urea’s promises of increasing farm yields have fallen short, with farmers reporting no effect of the fertiliser on the crops.


  • ‘Nano urea’, a product that uses organic polymers, is being touted as a substitute for granular urea used as a fertiliser.
  • The specialised fertiliser urea was developed in 2021 by Indian Farmers and Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO).
  • Urea is one of the most concentrated nitrogenous fertilisers and is vital for farming. 
    • Urea provides plants with the nitrogen they need to make protein.
    • Usually, plants get nitrogen from the bacteria that live in the plant’s roots and have the ability to break down atmospheric nitrogen.
    •  But to improve the yield of agricultural crops, the element is supplied through fertilisers like urea.

Science (GS-III)

mpox not a PHEIC: WHO

The WHO declared that mpox was no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).


  • It was first identified in monkeys in 1958.
  • Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus.
  • Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox.
  • Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal.
  • Mpox is not related to chickenpox.
  • In November last year, the disease’s name was changed by WHO from ‘monkeypox’ to ‘mpox’


The problem with India’s multi-alignment stand


China’s recent mediation efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis have once again spotlighted India’s approach to conflict resolution. 

Indian approach

  • Solidarity with Ukraine: In sharp contrast to the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first outreach, Mr. Modi has spoken to Mr. Zelenskyy many times. Mr. Modi had expressed India’s solidarity with Ukraine.
  • Not an Era of war: Mr. Modi had publicly told Mr. Putin that “today’s era is not of war” — a remark that seemed to be a reprimand to Moscow.
  • Interactions with Russia: despite western criticism of India’s continued energy imports from Russia and export of excess refined Russian fuel to the European market.

Issues with Indian approach

  • Dented image: Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister stated that the ‘Vishwa Guru’ image that the government seeks for the country will remain imperfect if India refuses to take a strong moral position on Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.
  • Lack of Hard power: India lacks hard power has been acknowledged by Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He had said that if India had been adequately powerful, it would have stopped the Ukraine war. 
  • No clear stand: While New Delhi has expressed its disapproval of the Ukraine war, it has avoided taking a clear position in many UN resolutions on the issue. 
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