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12th September 2023

Striking down Section 6A of DSPE Act is retrospective: SC


The Supreme Court ruled that its 2014 judgment in Subramanian Swamy vs Director CBI, which struck down Section 6A of the 1946 Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE Act), would have a retrospective effect. 

  • The clause in question- Section 6A of the DPSE Act prescribed that the CBI should obtain prior sanctions to investigate corruption cases against an officer of the rank of joint secretary and above.
  • This provision was struck down as ‘unconstitutional’ in the 2014 judgment in the case Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India.
  • The Court had held that there cannot be any distinction between public servants.
  • The 2014 ruling had, however, not clarified what would happen to existing cases being probed by the central agency.
  • A constitution bench was, therefore, constituted to examinewhether the 2014 decision would affect existing corruption cases.

Key-highlights of the present ruling

Retrospective effect

The retrospective law is a law that has backdated effect or is effective since before the time it is passed. The retrospective law is also referred to as ex post facto law.

  • The Constitution Benchhas now answered this question in the affirmative and held that the 2014 judgment would have retrospective effect.
  • Once a law is declared unconstitutional, violative of Part-III of the Constitution, then it would be held to be void ab initio, stillborn, unenforceable, and non est in view of Article 13(2) of the Constitution and its interpretation by authoritative pronouncements.
  • The Court clarified that Section 6A will be considered as never having been in force.

What does it mean?

  • This means that the CBI no longer needs to seek prior permission from the government to investigate or prosecute cases filed before 2014, the date when the provision was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
  • This verdict is likely to have a significant impact on corruption and other criminal cases initiated against government servants between 2003 and 2018 when the provision of Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act came into force.

Genetic engineering gives mosquito control an upgrade


The surge in mosquito-borne diseases due to urbanization and climate change calls for innovative mosquito control approaches. Sequencing and genetic manipulation of mosquito genomes offer promising tools for effective disease prevention. 

What is gene drive?

  • Scientists worldwide have developed various genetic modification approaches. A major one in this endeavour is gene-drive technology, whose end result is for mosquitoes to selectively inherit some genes, rather than the inheritance to follow the rules of Mendelian genetics.
  • A gene drive is a type of genetic engineering technique that modifies genes so that they don’t follow the typical rules of heredity.
  • Gene drives dramatically increase the likelihood that a particular suite of genes will be passed onto the next generation, allowing the genes to rapidly spread through a population and override natural selection. 
  • This technology was conceived by Austin Burt, professor at Imperial College London, in a 2003 paper published in Royal Society Proceedings.

How does it work?

  • Gene drives work by using directed repair gene editing.
  • This enables the insertion of a new gene, called the driven gene, at a particular cut site through the use of a donor template.



  • It would lead to prevention of diseases. 
  • It can help to address the challenges of invasive species.
  •  Drastic reduction in the mosquito population could alter food chains and ecosystems that involve mosquitoes.
  • Unintended consequences can occur such as unforeseen ecological disruptions
  • Potential for engineered genes to spread beyond target mosquito populations.

IISc develops new nanoparticle for cancer treatment


Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have made a significant breakthrough in cancer research by developing a new method to detect and kill cancer cells.


About the method

  • The team has created hybrid nanoparticles.
  • The hybrid nanoparticles are composed of gold and copper sulphide, which can destroy cancer cells through heat generation and enable their detection using sound waves.
  • The hybrid nanoparticles exhibit photothermal, oxidative stress, and photoacoustic properties.
  • Therapeutic potential:
    • When exposed to light, these particles absorb it and generate heat, effectively killing cancer cells.
    • Additionally, they produce toxic singlet oxygen atoms that further contribute to the destruction of cancer cells.
  • Diagnostic capabilities:
    • They can absorb light and generate ultrasound waves, enabling the detection of cancer cells with high contrast.
    • This property could enhance the accuracy of cancer diagnosis as sound waves scatter less than light when passing through tissues, providing clearer images and more precise measurements of oxygen saturation in tumors.
  • This innovative approach was detailed in a studypublished in ACS Applied Nano Materials.

About Cancer

  • Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue.
  • It can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die and new cells take their place.
  • When cancer develops, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and forms tumors, which can spread through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor.
  • Causes of Cancer:
    • Biological or internal factors, such as age, gender, inherited genetic defects and skin type.
    • Environmental exposure, for instance to radon and UV radiation, and fine particulate matter.
    • Occupational risk factors, like carcinogens such as chemicals, radioactive materials and asbestos.
    • Lifestyle-related factors.

Gresham’s law


In India's informal economy, Gresham's Law is relevant because fake money and low-quality coins often mix with real currency, affecting the overall value of money in circulation.


What is Gresham’s law?

  • Gresham’s law refers to the dictum that “bad money drives out good.”
  • The law comes into play when the exchange rate between two moneys or currencies is fixed by the government at a certain ratio that is different from the market exchange rate.
  • Such price fixing causes the undervalued currency — that is, the currency whose price is fixed at a level below the market rate — to go out of circulation.
  • The overvalued currency, on the other hand, remains in circulation but it does not find enough buyers.

Gresham’s law is named after English financier Thomas Gresham who advised the English monarchy on financial matters. 

  • It should be noted that the market exchange rate is essentially an equilibrium price at which the supply of a currency is equal to the demand for the currency.
  • Also, the supply of a currency in the market rises as its price rises and falls as its price falls; while, on the other hand, the demand for a currency falls as its price rises and rises as its price falls.
  • So, when the price of a currency is fixed by the government at a level below the market exchange rate, the currency’s supply drops while demand for the currency rises.
  • Thus a price cap can lead to a currency shortage with demand for the currency outpacing supply.

The law, named after English financier Thomas Gresham, came into play most recently during the economic crisis in Sri Lanka last year, during which the Central Bank of Sri Lanka fixed the exchange rate between the Sri Lankan rupee and the U.S. dollar. 


  • In India, there is one-rupee note and one-rupee coin.
  • Both are forms of legally good money. Yet, the public sometimes prefer one form of a particular denomination to ano­ther, e.g., they may prefer the paper note to the rupee note.
  • If there is such a preference for one form of money rather than another, it is an example of Gresham’s Law in operation.

India’s deep-sea submersible Matsya 6000


The government recently shared images of India’s Matsya 6000 submersible on social media.


What is Matsya 6000?

  • The Matsya 6000 is a three-person submersible that will be able to go 6,000 metres under the sea.
  • Meaning ‘fish’ in Hindi, the vessel is being developed by Chennai’s National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
  • Made of 80mm-thick titanium alloy, it will be able to withstand a pressure 600 times greater than that at sea level.
    • All research missions globally rely on titanium
  • The Matsya 6000 will be able to operate from 12 to 16 hours straight and will have an oxygen supply of 96 hours.
  • It will feature the ultra short baseline acoustic positioning system (USBL).
    • This will allow the mothership carrying the transponder to send information and the submersible to respond.
    • This will let the mothership know where the submersible is.
  • It will likely undergo trials in 2024 in the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is part of India’s Samudrayaan project to explore the deep sea. The Samudrayaan project is part of India’s Rs 4,077-crore Deep Ocean Mission.

Only five nations – France, the US, China, Russia and Japan – have thus far created man submersibles.

Short News Article

History (GS-I)

Banglar Mati BanglarJol

The West Bengal Assembly adopted a resolution declaring Banglar Mati, BanglarJol (Bengal’s soil, Bengal’s Water) song written by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as the state anthem.


  • Written in 1905 in the context of Viceroy Lord Curzon’s partition of Bengal, the song became an anthem for those fighting against Britain’s divide and rule policy. 
  • This song became an anthem of the movement against Bengal’s partition, sung during rapturous processions and demonstrations that sought to emphasise Bengali unity.

Partition of Bengal

  • George Nathanial Curzon (1859-1925) was appointed Viceroy of India in 1899. 
  • He designed and prepared a comprehensive, feasible plan for the partition of Bengal in 1905.
  • On 16th October 1905, the Partition of Bengal came into force and the proposal was legally implemented.
  • Following the partition, an anti-British movement formed that involved non-violent and violent protests, boycotts and even an assassination attempt against the Governor of the new province of West Bengal.
  • Due to these political protests, the two parts of Bengal were reunited in 1911.

Economy (GS-III)

Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) living in the UK are set to join a select group who can directly pay bills on behalf of their family in India through the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). 


  • Bharat Bill Payments System is an integrated bill payment system or a platform which acts as a connection between various billers and users.
  • It offers customers the convenience of payment by cataloguing various utility providers under one platform.
  • It acts as a central reference for a customer who wants to make different payments — whether utility bills, loan repayments, FasTag recharge, and so on.
  • BBPS was conceptualised by the Reserve Bank of India in 2013 and is a product of the National Payments Council of India (NPCI).
  • It was piloted in 2016 and went live a year later. By 2019, BBPS onboarded all recurring payments.
  • There are two key components in the BBPS system —
    • Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU): The BBPCU is NPCI, which lays downs the operating procedures and standards for BBPS.
    • Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs): BBPOUs adhere to the rules set by BBPCU.

Economy (GS-III)

Govt relaxes import duty

The fruit growers in Kashmir are concerned after the Centre lifted additional duties (imposed in 2019) on apples, walnuts and almonds imported from the United States. 

About Import duty

  • Import dutyis a type of tax levied on the import and specific exports of a nation's customs authorities.
  • The valueof goods will generally decide the amount of import duty that will be imposed.
  • Sometimes, import duty is also referred to as customs duty, import tax, import tariff, or tariff.
  • The import duties have two different purposes:
    • Increasing incometo the local government
    • Encouraging the individuals to purchase the local products which don't attract any import duties.
  • Kashmir is India’s largest apple grower, fetching revenue over ?8,000 to ?10,000 crore to the UT, and contributing around 8-10% of its gross domestic product.
  • The UT produces around 20 lakh metric tonnes of apples per year.
  • Approximately 35 lakh people are directly or indirectly associated with the horticulture sector.
  • Kashmir produces 80% of the country’s walnuts.

Economy (GS-III) 

Nifty 50 crosses historic 20,000 milestone

The National Stock Exchange's flagship index, Nifty 50, has made history by reaching the 20,000 milestone.

What is Nifty 50?

  • Nifty 50, or Nifty, is the flagship index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and consists of the top 50 companies listed on the exchange based on their market cap.
  • Also known as large-cap or blue-chip stocks, companies included on the index belong to diverse sectors like auto, metals, pharma, media, IT, FMCG, telco, and energy.
  • The index is reconstituted every six months.
  • The Nifty 50 today uses the float-adjusted and market capitalisation-weighted method. 

Market Capitalisation

  • It refers to the aggregate value of the shares held by the company and all its investors.
  • But free-float Market Capitalisation excludes the shares held by investors like the government, trusts, and other private parties like promoters.

Reason behind surge in performance:

  • improving global cues
  • a strong rally in heavyweight stocks 
  • healthy fund inflows
  • robust macroeconomic indicators
  • improved sentiment after the success of G20 


Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes for 2022

12 scientists have been named as the winners of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes for 2022.


  • The prize-winners list released by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) comes after an unexplained delay of nearly a year in the announcement always made on September 26 — the CSIR’s foundation day.
  • The CSIR had announced the Bhatnagar winners for 2021 nearly two years ago.

About the Award

  • Released by: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • The Bhatnagar prizes are named after S.S. Bhatnagar, who was the CSIR’s first director general from 1942 to 1954.
  • These awards are given every in seven scientific disciplines – physics, biology, engineering, mathematics, medicine, chemistry, and earth sciences.


After the Summit


The brief discusses India's G20 presidency, emphasizing the challenges and opportunities it presented, and highlights key outcomes and challenges in international cooperation and global governance.

G20 Presidency: A Challenge and Opportunity

  • Global Context: India's G20 presidency occurred during a turbulent time in the international arena, marked by shifting global dynamics, heightened geopolitical tensions, and economic challenges.
  • Diplomatic Success: India's diplomacy managed to overcome hurdles related to the Ukraine war, and the summit, heavily focused on developing world issues, proceeded without any country blocking the agenda.
  • Global Relevance: Despite the absence of China's Xi Jinping, India's growing influence and relationships helped shape the summit's outcomes.

Outcomes and Challenges of the G20 Summit

  • New Delhi Declaration: The New Delhi Declaration, comprising 83 paragraphs, covers a wide range of topics, including sustainable growth, the 2030 sustainable development agenda, international trade, climate change, and finance.
  • Implementation Challenges: The declaration's effectiveness depends on the implementation of commitments, which often faces difficulties due to differing opinions among G20 countries and a gap between promises and actions.
  • Examples of Challenges: There persists challenges in achieving targets related to sustainable development, climate finance, and debt relief for developing countries. This challenge highlights the need for greater global governance reforms.

Positive Aspects of India's G20 Presidency

  • Organizational Efforts: India's presidency involved significant organizational efforts, including numerous meetings in various cities and engagement with diverse sections of society.
  • Global South Focus: India elevated issues concerning the Global South through the Voice of Global South summit and inclusion of the African Union in G20 discussions.
  • Economic Corridor and Technology Focus: India unveiled a separate economic corridor and emphasized technological transformation and Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) during the summit, showcasing its achievements.
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Right Place & Time


India's G20 presidency came at a critical juncture when global geopolitics and economics were undergoing transformation. This period was characterized by the Russia-Ukraine war and the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diplomatic Timing and Global Dynamics

  • Geo-Political Churn: India's G20 presidency occurred during a time of significant geopolitical shifts, primarily influenced by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its consequences, as well as the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Voice of Global South Summit: India leveraged its presidency to convene the Voice of Global South summit, bringing together around 120 countries disproportionately affected by the war, reflecting their concerns on the G20 platform.
  • African Union's Inclusion: India's proposal to include the African Union (AU) as the 21st member of the G20, with support from key global players like the US, France, and China, aimed to enhance the representation of the Global South in the group.

Strategic Diplomacy and Outcome

  • Mutually Reinforcing Moves: The Voice of Global South summit and the AU's inclusion complemented each other and allowed India to craft a diplomatic approach addressing the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the New Delhi G20 Leaders' Declaration.
  • Global South's Key Role: The concerns of the Global South, represented by the AU and other nations, became pivotal in bridging differences between the G7-led western group and the Russia-China bloc, leading to a consensus in the joint communique.
  • Comprehensive Outcome: The joint communique not only addressed the economic impact but also delved into the political implications of a powerful nation invading a smaller neighbor, emphasizing the diplomatic success achieved during India's presidency.

Diplomatic Success and Global Impact

  • Long-term Significance: India's diplomatic initiatives during its G20 presidency, including the AU's inclusion and the Voice of Global South summit, have the potential to shape future global discussions and enhance the representation of emerging powers in international forums.
  • Enhanced Representation: The AU's inclusion and the Global South's role in the G20 summit highlighted the importance of representation and gave a voice to countries disproportionately affected by global events.
  • Diplomatic Nuance: India's diplomatic approach, strategically timed and articulated, not only reflected the concerns of the Global South but also played a key role in balancing the interests of major geopolitical players in shaping the joint communique on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
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Not being at home


In recent times, India has witnessed the emergence of a distinct brand of nationalism that centers on the concept of home and belonging.

Contemporary Nationalism and Notions of Home

  • Exclusivist Nationalism: Over the last decade, a distinctive form of nationalism has gained prominence in India, which shapes public discourse by categorizing individuals as either "genuinely" Indian or as "outsiders" and "anti-nationals."
  • Defining Home: This nationalist ideology revolves around rigid definitions of home and national identity, emphasizing a sense of belonging while excluding those deemed as "outsiders."
  • Shift from Anti-colonial Nationalism: Unlike the anti-colonial nationalism that embraced a more inclusive perspective, this contemporary nationalism emphasizes a narrow and exclusionary view of home and nation.

The Importance of Not Being Completely at Home

  • Transnational Thought in Anti-colonial Nationalism: Figures like BR Ambedkar, Mahadevi Verma, Captain Lakshmi Sahgal, and Jawaharlal Nehru within anti-colonial nationalism incorporated transnational thought, emphasizing that Indian identity should draw from both local and global influences.
  • Questioning Parochialism: These thinkers highlighted the importance of never feeling completely at home to avoid parochial nationalism and bigotry, as strict demarcations between insiders and outsiders can lead to intolerance.
  • A Different Vision of Dwelling: An alternative perspective on home and belonging is rooted in Indian history, where thinkers like Rahul Sankrityayan and Harivansh Rai Bachchan proposed the philosophy of "not-being-at-home" as a way of engaging with the world.

The Philosophy of "Not-Being-at-Home"

  • Ghummakkad-dharma by Rahul Sankrityayan: Sankrityayan advocated for a philosophy of "ghummakkad-dharma," which encourages individuals to explore the world beyond their immediate roots and provide assistance to strangers, regardless of language or origin.
  • Dwelling in the World: Sankrityayan's philosophy of not-being-at-home fosters a sense of dwelling in the world and challenges exclusive ideas of home and belonging.
  • Harivansh Rai Bachchan's Perspective: Bachchan's musings on attachment to an ancestral hukkah that changed over time reflect the dynamic nature of identity and the capacity to envision home and ancestry in multiple ways.
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Ridding India of food insecurity


Despite being the fastest growing large economy, India is facing the alarming issue of food-price inflation. Its impact can be seen on the affordability of a healthy diet for a significant portion of the population.

The Gravity of the Problem

  • Rising Food-Price Inflation: Food prices in India have been steadily increasing since 2019, with annual inflation exceeding 11% in July 2023, the highest in a decade.
  • Shocking Affordability Figures: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that in 2021, a staggering 74% of the Indian population cannot afford a healthy diet, equivalent to approximately one billion people.
  • Evidence of Impact: Studies reveal a significant decline in purchasing power, with food costs outpacing wage growth, leading to concerns about reduced food consumption and increasing instances of nutrient deficiency, particularly among women.

The Need for Intervention

  • Ineffectiveness of Macroeconomic Policy: Conventional macroeconomic policies have failed to control food inflation, and the Reserve Bank of India's "inflation targeting" approach does not address supply-side issues.
  • The Green Revolution's Success: India's historical success with the Green Revolution, which involved high-yield seeds, cheap credit, and assured prices for farmers, is highlighted.
  • Mistakes of the Past: While celebrating the Green Revolution, there is need to acknowledge the past mistakes such as over-reliance on chemical fertilizers and focusing on cereals over pulses, leading to soil degradation and inflation.

Recommendations for a Second Agricultural Revolution

  • A Comprehensive Approach: To tackle rising food prices, a multifaceted approach is needed, including measures to increase agricultural productivity and lower production costs.
  • Key Initiatives: Specific initiatives are proposed, such as increased public spending on irrigation, promoting land leasing, revitalizing agricultural research institutes, and re-establishing agricultural extension services.
  • State and Central Collaboration: Effective collaboration between states and the central government, resembling the cooperative federalism model, is essential to implement these initiatives successfully.
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