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13th January 2023

Voice of Global South Summit


Addressing the inaugurating event at the virtual meeting of Voice of Global south summit, Prime minister has mentioned that the countries of the Global South will drive the world economy in the 21st century.

Highlights of the event:

  • The goal of India in 2023 is to represent the Global South declaring “your voice is India’s voice. Your priorities are India’s priorities”.
  • The event aims to stress the formula of “Respond, Recognise, Respect and Reform” for the Global South.
  • The world should respond to the priorities of the Global South, recognise the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities for global challenges, respect the sovereignty of all nations, rule of law and reform international institutions like the United Nations. 

The North-South Divide:

  • In the 1980s, the Brandt Line was developed as a way of showing how the world was geographically split into relatively richer and poorer nations. According to this model:
    • Richer countries are almost all located in the Northern Hemisphere, except for Australia and New Zealand.
    • Poorer countries are mostly located in tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Global North refers loosely to countries like the US, Canada, Europe, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. Global South includes countries in Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • Some the South countries like China and China have emerged economically, in the last few decades.
  • The progress achieved by many Asian countries is also seen as challenging the idea that the North is the ideal.

Factors that position India as the “Voice of the global south”:

  • India harmonizes various interests that are ingrained deeply in India’s history and culture.
  • Countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America trust India to speak up for them.
  • India has been at the forefront of expressing its concerns about fuel, food, and fertilizers.
  • India acknowledges the fact, that sustainable development climate action and climate justice could be side-tracked due to more dominant issues.
  • Global order today is not truly reflective of the state of the world. India has to take the lead in pushing for collective action.
  • Institutions and practices created 75 years ago still dominate global decision-making.
  • India supports the idea of introducing changes, not just in the United Nations but in other international institutions as well.

How can India be the Voice of the Global South?

  • Championing the Global South today would demand more active Indian engagement with the messy regional politics within the developing world.
  • India must also come to terms with the fact that the Global South is not a coherent group and does not have a single shared agenda. There is much differentiation within the South today in terms of wealth and power, needs and capabilities.
  • This demands a tailored Indian policy for different regions and groups of the developing world.
  • India is eager to become a bridge between the North and the South by focusing on practical outcomes rather than returning to old ideological battles. If India can translate this ambition into effective policy, there will be no contradiction between the simultaneous pursuit of universal and particular goals.

Law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all


Against the Vice president’s criticism of the decision taken by National Judicial appointments commission (NJAC), the Supreme Court has held that its judicial pronouncements lay down the law. 

The Supreme Court as the ‘law of the land':

  • Article 141 of the Constitution mandates that law declared by the Supreme Court is binding on all courts including the Supreme Court itself.
  • Article 368 postulates only a ‘procedure’ for amendment of the Constitution and could not be treated as a ‘power’ vested in the Parliament to amend the Constitution so as to alter the ‘core’ of the Constitution, which has also been described as the ‘basic features/basic structure’ of the Constitution.

The argument was rejected by the SC which upheld judicial independence as a basic feature of the constitution.

The Apex Court and Government tussle:

  • The apex court has repeatedly been trying to convey to the government and high constitutional authorities in its oral observations and orders recently regarding its authority to decide on judicial appointments and commissions related to it.
  • The Parliament is free to bring a new law on judicial appointments, possibly through a constitutional amendment, but that too would be subject to judicial review.

What is the Constitutional backing for it?

  • The Kesavananda Bharativerdict had made it clear that judicial review is not a means to usurp parliamentary sovereignty, but only part of a “system of checks and balances” to ensure constitutional functionaries do not exceed their limits.
  • We are unable to see how the power of judicial review makes the judiciary supreme in any sense of the word. This power is of paramount importance in a federal Constitution.

Constitutional Supremacy vs. Parliamentary sovereignty:

  • The Supreme Court of India expressly affirmed constitutional supremacy in the Minerva Mills case, holding that "government, legislature, executive, and the judiciary are all bound by the Constitution, and none is above or beyond the Constitution."
  • Any law passed by the parliament is subject to interpretation by the Supreme Court in light of the constitution's principles and goals, and if it goes above or above those, it can be declared null and void.
  • Although the Indian Constitution does not expressly provide for the division of judicial and parliamentary supremacy, it is not entirely clear.
  • It is the prerogative of the parliament to amend the constitution and make the laws; it is the duty of the judiciary to decide if the basic structures of the constitution are transgressed by such laws.
  • Once the parliament has done its job, its Supreme Court decides its constitutionality through judicial review.
  • There have been conflicts between parliamentary supremacy and judicial supremacy. The best example is of National Judicial Appointment Commission hen Supreme Court pronounced its verdict on the 99th Constitution Amendment Act and the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), declaring them to be ultra vires the Constitution.

Who was Kesvananda Bharati and how was he associated with the ‘Basic Structure’ doctrine?


The recent statement by Vice President has slammed the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 judgement in the Kesavananda Bharati case in which it ruled that Parliament had the authority to amend the Constitution but not its basic structure.

What does the Basic Structure mean?

  • The Constitution of India defines its 'basic structure' in terms of federalism, secularism, fundamental rights and democracy.
  • The Constitution of India provides for 'judicial review' to safeguard the citizens' liberties and to preserve the ideals on which the Constitution is based.

Who was Kesvananda Bharti?

  • He was a monk from Adi Shankaracharya’s tradition born in 1940.
  • Kesavananda Bharati took sanyas at the age of 19 and headed to the Edneer Mutt, a Hindu monastery in Kasargod, Kerala.
  • In 1961, still only 21, he was appointed as the head of the Mutt, a position he held till his death in 2020.

The Edneer Mutt is believed to have been established by Totakacharya, one of four original disciples of Adi Shankaracharya (credited to have synthesised the non-dualistic philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.)

  • He fought against the Kerala government’s land reforms and aims when he took the Kerala government to court in February 1970.
  • Rather, he was challenging the 1969 Land Reforms enacted by the communist C. Achuta Menon government which had affected his Mutt. Under the reforms, Edneer Mutt lost a large chunk of its property, which contributed to its financial woes.
  • Filing a writ petition in the Supreme Court, Kesavananda Bharati argued, that this action violated his fundamental rights – in particular, his fundamental right to religion (Article 25), freedom of religious denomination (Article 26), and right to property (Article 31).

Evolution of Kesvananda Bharti case:

  • Parliament's authority to amend the Constitution, particularly the chapter on the fundamental rights of citizens, was challenged as early as 1951.
  • After independence, several laws were enacted in the states with the aim of reforming land ownership and tenancy structures.
  • This was in keeping with the implementation of the socialistic goals of the Constitution [contained in Article 39(b) and (c) of the Directive Principles of State Policy] that required equitable distribution of resources of production among all citizens and prevention of concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.
  • Parliament added the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution through the very first amendment in 1951 as a means of immunising certain laws against judicial review.
  • Under the provisions of Article 31, which themselves were amended several times later, laws placed in the Ninth Schedule -- pertaining to the acquisition of private property and compensation payable for such acquisition -- cannot be challenged in a court of law on the ground that they violated the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • The Ninth Schedule was created with the primary objective of preventing the judiciary - which upheld the citizens' right to property on several occasions - from derailing the Congress party-led government's agenda for a social revolution.

Article 13 (2) provides for the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizen.

  • Parliament and the state legislatures are clearly prohibited from making laws that may take away or abridge the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizen.
  • They argued that any amendment to the Constitution had the status of the law as understood by Article 13 (2).

What does the case exactly say?

  • Constituent power is superior to ordinary legislative power:
    • Unlike the British Parliament which is a sovereign body (in the absence of a written constitution), the powers and functions of the Indian Parliament and State legislatures are subject to limitations laid down in the Constitution.
    • The Constitution does not contain all the laws that govern the country. Parliament and the state legislatures make laws from time to time on various subjects, within their respective jurisdictions.
    • The general framework for making these laws is provided by the Constitution.
    • Parliament alone is given the power to make changes to this framework under Article 368.
    • Unlike ordinary laws, amendments to constitutional provisions require a special majority vote in Parliament.
  • The difference between Parliament's constituent power and law-making powers:
    • According to Article 21 of the Constitution, no person in the country may be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.
    • Parliament and the state legislatures make the necessary laws identifying offensive activities for which a person may be imprisoned or sentenced to death.
    • Changes to these laws may be incorporated by a simple majority vote in the concerned state legislature.
    • There is no need to amend the Constitution in order to incorporate changes to these laws.
    • However, if there is a demand to convert Article 21 into the fundamental right to life by abolishing the death penalty, the Constitution may have to be suitably amended by Parliament using its constituent power.
  • Declared that Parliament's constituent power was subject to inherent limitations:
    • The Parliament could not use its amending powers under Article 368 to 'damage', 'emasculate', 'destroy', 'abrogate', 'change' or 'alter' the 'basic structure' or framework of the Constitution.

India progress in LAC infrastructure development


The Indian Army Chief has recently talked about the Infrastructure development on the Indian side of Line of actual control (LAC), highlighting India’s concern for border security and management against China.


  • After China’s move for building and expanding its reach, connectivity and development projects near LAC, India has also started working in the development direction.
  • In the past five years, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed close to 6,000 km of roads pan-India; of this, 2,100 km has been along the northern borders. 
  • As for the upgradation of bridges, which are needed to carry guns, and tanks among others, as many as 7,450 metres of bridges were constructed.
  • For all-weather connectivity in both Ladakh and Kameng in Arunachal, there is the Zojila tunnel and the Z-Morh tunnel, which will link the valley to Ladakh and will be operationalised by the end of the year.
  • There is also a plan for alternate connectivity to the all-important Darbuk-Skyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) road through Saser la, so not only plan for all-weather connectivity but also alternate connectivity.

India’s Overland Connectivity near the LAC:

  • In Arunachal Pradesh:
    • China claims 90,000 square kilometres in India’s frontier region of the northeast, roughly including the whole of Arunachal Pradesh.
    • Among the projects currently being executed by the Indian government in the Border States is the construction of 73 roads of operational significance for better access to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
    • The government has informed Parliament that 2,094 kilometres of roads were constructed along the border at a cost of around $1.8 billion over the past five years.
  • In Leh and Ladakh:
    • Atal Tunnel at 10,000 feet in Rohtang was inaugurated by Prime Minister, not only shortening travel time between Manali in Himachal Pradesh and Leh, Ladakh but giving 12-month connectivity to people of Lahaul and Spiti in the hill state.
    • Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has proposed eight tunnels that will enhance connectivity to Ladakh; a couple of similar projects are also planned for Kashmir linking roads to the Line of Control.
  • In Sikkim:
    • BRO’s Project Swastik has constructed Samdong Bridge on Lachen- Kalep Road in Sikkim, also in the Eastern Sector of the LAC.
    • A 30 m-long PSC box girder bridge will provide vital connectivity to our troops and locals alike.
    • The bridge will be dedicated to the Nation along with other 27 infrastructure projects by the Raksha Mantri on 27 Dec 2022.

How political parties suppress free speech and minorities in India?


Recently, Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2023 highlighted the Indian authorities had “intensified and broadened” their crackdown on activist groups and the media through 2022 and used “abusive and discriminatory policies to repress Muslims and other minorities”. 


About the report:

  • It is the 33rd edition of the report which reviews human rights practices in close to 100 countries.
  • In the section on India, the authorities throughout India arrested activists, journalists, and other critics of the government on what it called “politically motivated” criminal charges, including that of terrorism. 

Key highlights of the report:

  • In a world in which power has shifted, it is no longer possible to rely on a small group of mostly Global North governments to defend human rights.
  • The world’s mobilization around Russia’s war in Ukraine reminds us of the extraordinary potential when governments realize their human rights obligations on a global scale.
  • The responsibility is on individual countries to apply a human rights framework to their policies, and then work together to protect and promote human rights.

India-specific data:

  • The Indian authorities misused laws forbidding forced religious conversion to target Christians, especially from Dalit and Adivasi communities. 
  • The decision to Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional autonomous status and split it into two federally governed territories, the government continued to restrict free expression, peaceful assembly, and other basic rights there.
  • The authorities invoked the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, as well as terrorism allegations under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, to conduct raids and arbitrarily detain journalists.
  • It widened the definition of family to include same-sex couples, single parents, and other households by not extending family benefits to them.
  • Crime against women has been forbidden through the lens of the minority community and the Hindu ideology of the present government, when the accused of raping a pregnant woman were released under the Bilkis Bano Case.

Why Human Rights must be secured by a Nation?

  • Human rights are based on dignity, equality and mutual respect – regardless of nationality, religion or beliefs.
  • Simply put, Human Rights are those minimal rights which every individual must have against the State or other public authority by virtue of his being a member of the human family, irrespective of any other consideration.
  • These basic human rights are:
    • Universal: They belong to all (everybody in the world)
    • Inalienable: They cannot be taken away from the people
    • Indivisible and interdependent: Governments should not be able to pick and choose which are respected.
    • Human Rights can be violated: Although they are inalienable, they are not invulnerable. Violations can stop people from enjoying their rights, but they do not stop the rights from existing.
    • Essential: They are essential for freedom, justice, and peace.

Universal Human Rights Declaration:

  • The UDHR consists of 30 articles detailing an individual’s “basic rights and fundamental freedoms”. It is universally applicable to all human beings of varying races, religions and nationalities.
  • It directly inspired the development of international human rights law and was the first step in the formulation of the International Bill of Human Rights, which was completed in 1966 and came into force in 1976.
  • Even though the Universal Human Rights Declaration is not legally binding, its contents have been elaborated and incorporated into subsequent international treaties, regional human rights and instruments and in the legal codes of various countries
  • At least one of the 9 binding treaties of the UDHR has been ratified by all 193 member states of the United Nations, with the majority ratifying four or more.

India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What are the provisions related to Human Rights in India?

  • According to the National Human Right Commission of India, Human Rights as the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
  • National Human Rights Commission:
    • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India was established in 1993.
    • The statute under which it is established is the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993.
    • The Act provides for the establishment of State Human Rights Commissions.
  • Human Rights as Incorporated in Indian Laws:
    • Indian Constitution incorporated several provisions of human rights in Indian Constitution.
    • Part III of Fundamental Rights from Article 14 to 32.
    • Articles 14 to 18 of the Constitution guarantee the right to equality for every citizen of India.
    • Article 19 deals with freedom of speech and expression and Article 21 provides the Right to life and liberty.

short News Article


FSSAI sets standards for basmati rice












In a bid to promote the business around basmati rice, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notified standards for basmati rice.

About the initiative:

  • It is going to be enforced from August 1, 2023
  • Aim: FSSAI hopes that the standards would protect consumer interest and ensure the basmati rice sold in the market has the characteristic fragrance identified with this variety and is free from artificial fragrances and colouring.
  • It also set standards on parameters such as average size of grains and their elongation ratio after cooking.
  • It has set the maximum limits for moisture, amylose content, uric acid, damaged grains and presence of non-basmati rice.
  • The standards are applicable to brown basmati rice, milled basmati rice, parboiled brown basmati rice and milled parboiled basmati rice.
  • Significance:   
  • Basmati rice is exported out of India and had an annual forex earning of Rs.25, 053 crore during 2021-22.
  • India accounts for two-thirds of the global supply of basmati rice, according to FSSAI.

The Basmati Rice variety:

  • Basmati rice is cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of the Indian subcontinent.
  • The specific agro-climatic conditions, processing techniques such as harvesting and ageing are said to make this rice unique.
  • In India, rice grown in specific parts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir can be labelled as basmati.
  • Do you know?
  • Basmati rice is just one of the thousands of rice varieties available in India. However, this fragrant rice has invited the most controversy.
  • In 2020, India’s application for a geographical indication tag recognised in the European Union market was put on hold after Pakistan opposed the move.


Why Hockey is played on blue turf?




The distinctive blue turf was introduced in Hockey in 2012 Olympics held at London.

What is the significance of blue turf?

  • The blue turf has since become the standard playing surface at the highest levels of hockey after introduced in London Olympics.
  • Notably, the sport has a long history of experimenting with playing surfaces, with the surfaces having an enduring impact on the game itself.
  • The purpose was to stir up fan interest by providing field hockey with one of the most unique playing surfaces in sports.
  • It was inspired by the iconic Boise State Football field in Idaho, USA.
  • As hockey is played with a small ball, the blue surface provides outstanding contrast against the yellow ball.
  • This not only helps players spot and control the ball better, but is also a boon for broadcasters.
  • Along with its blue colour, another defining feature of modern hockey turfs is their soaking-wet nature.
  • There can be different kinds of astroturf pitches, with sand-topped and water-topped being two popular options. 

Polity and Governance

Ganga Vilas sails as Varanasi-Dibrugarh cruise 













The Prime Minister is set to flag off the Ganga river cruise from Varanasi.


  • Named as: The Ganga Vilas.
  • The cruise will cover 3,200 km, crossing 27 river systems from Varanasi to Dibrugarh in Assam.
  • The 51-day cruise, being pitched as the world’s longest river cruise, is expected to reach its final destination — Dibrugarh in Assam, on March 1.
  • The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is the coordinator of this ship tourism project.

Key Features:

  • The voyage is packed with visits to 50 tourist spots, including World Heritage spots, national parks, river ghats, and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam.
  • The famous sites will include; the famous Ganga Arti in Varanasi, the Buddhist site of Sarnath; and even Majuli, the largest river island in Assam.
  • The travellers will also visit the Bihar School of Yoga and Vikramshila University.
  • The cruise will traverse through the Sunderbans in the Bay of Bengal delta, as well as the Kaziranga National Park.
  • The vessel has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the luxury amenities.
  • It will cost approximately Rs.25, 000 per person per day.


  • It will develop river cruise tourism in the country, generate employment opportunities and river tourism circuits will be developed and integrated with the existing tourism circuits for maximum exposure and rapid development of this sector in the country.


Wages of Distress


  • With India declares to become World’s fastest growing economy, as estimates shows 6.3% growth in the last quarter of the year 2022. But the wages in various sectors shows the contradictory data for growth.

The data shown vs. the reality:

  • Recent statistics: The latest estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) suggest that the Indian economy grew by 6.3 per cent compared to last year.
  • Flexibility of choosing Base year: The annual growth rates are deceptive as given the choice of base year to the government and hide the reality of an impending economic crisis.
  • Average Income as indicator of growth: The same national accounts data shows that average income in India is lower in 2021-22 compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2018-19 with per-capita income declining at 0.25 per cent per annum.

Data related to working groups in India:

  • The farmers Income: Against the aim of the government to increase the farmer’s income, it declined by 1.5 per cent per year between 2016-17 and 2020-21.
  • The Casual workers: Real wages in non-agricultural occupations between September 2017-2022 declined by 0.9 per cent per annum.
  • Organised sector workers: Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) suggest that real earnings of regular workers have declined across categories, male and female, rural and urban.
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