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13th September 2023

Plan to revive maritime heritage


Recently, central government has planned to sail a 21-meter "stitched ship" made using ancient techniques, to a journey from Odisha to Indonesia's Bali, reviving maritime heritage in November 2025.

About the initiative:
  • The project, an initiative of the Central government, along with the Navy, the Culture Ministry, and Goa-based shipbuilding company Hodi Innovations.
  • It is expected to take 22 months to complete.
  • The ship has been planned to reach its destination during the Bali Jatra festival on Kartik Purnima to the island.

Bali Yatra, a festival that commemorates the rich maritime history of Odisha is celebrated throughout the state.

In the historic city of Cuttack, a week-long event is organised starting from the day of Kartika Purnima (full moon day in the month of Kartik i.e October-November).

Historical Linkage:

  • The Kalinga Empire (present-day Odisha) is known for its glorious maritime history.
  • Due to the geographical location of Kalinga, this area saw the growth of ports as early as the 4th and the 5th century BC.
  • The Kalingas constructed large boats called the ‘Boitas’ and with the help of these, they traded with the Indonesian islands.
  • As a result of these influences, the Balinese also celebrate Hindu Festivals such as Shivaratri, Durga Pooja and Saraswati Pooja.
  • Some of the famous ports, Tamralipti, Manikpatna, Chelitalo, Palur, Pithunda allowed India to connect with other countries via the sea.
  • Indian women perform ‘Boita Bandana’; they make boats of paper or banana leaf (sholapith) with lighted lamps inside and float them down the Mahanadi as a part of the celebrations.

Stitched Shipbuilding Method (Tankai method):

  • It is a 2000-year-old technique of shipbuilding, where ships are constructed by stitching wooden planks together rather than using nails, offering flexibility and durability, making them less susceptible to damage from shoals and sandbars.
  • Although the arrival of European ships led to a shift in shipbuilding techniques, the art of stitching ships has survived in a few coastal regions of India, primarily for small local fishing boats.


  • These ships are more durable as nails are not used.
  • Also these ships caused less damage due to shoals and sandbars.
  • For thousands of years they contributed to trade, cultural exchange, and exploration.

Significance of Project:

  • Reviving and Rejuvenation of Art: Project will ensure the preservation of cultural heritage for future generations.
  • Promote Craftsmanship: Project aims to leverage the expertise of the remaining traditional shipwrights in India and showcase their exceptional craftsmanship.
  • Revive Ancient Trade Links with Indian Ocean littoral countries: The project seeks to gain insights into the historical interactions across the Indian Ocean, which facilitated the flow of Indian culture, knowledge systems, traditions, technologies, and ideas, by sailing along ancient maritime routes using traditional navigational techniques.
  • Cultural Pride: Project will instill a sense of pride in India’s rich maritime heritage among its citizens.

SC refers challenge to sedition law to Constitution Bench


As pet the recent update, the Supreme Court (SC) has sent petitions against Section 124A (sedition law) to a Five-judge panel for review.

  • In a historic move aimed at overhauling colonial-era criminal laws, the Central government had introduced three bills in the Lok Sabha on August 11, 2023.
  • The Bills aims to replace the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and the Indian Evidence Act by the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, the Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita and Bharatiya Sakshya Bill, respectively.
  • The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita has been proposed to repeal sedition law and to introduce a new provision with a wider definition of the offence.

Supreme Court’s stand:

  • The Supreme Court rejected the government's request to delay and referred petitions challenging the colonial-era sedition law (Section 124-A) to a five-judge Constitution Bench.
  • The recent Bench led by CJI, mentioned that the five-judge Constitution Bench would consider in view of the fact that, Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar (1962) upheld the validity of Section 124-A of the IPC.

Kedar Nath Singh versus State of Bihar (1962):

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 124A but with certain important clarifications:

  • The Court ruled that sedition laws could only be invoked if there was incitement to violence or public disorder.
  • Mere criticism of the government or strong words against it did not amount to sedition unless there was a direct incitement to violence.
  • The Court emphasized that the right to free speech and expression was not absolute and must be balanced with the need to maintain public order and security.
  • It clarified that the aim of the sedition law was to prevent actions that could lead to public disorder or violence against the State.
  • The apex court observed that the Kedar Nath Singh case was based on a limited view of fundamental rights, mainly Article 19. Later, it evolved as Articles 14, 19, and 21 were seen as working together.
  • The court emphasized that Section 124A still exists, and any new law would apply only in the future, so the challenge to its validity needs examination.
  • The court directed the matter to be placed before the Chief Justice for the formation of a bench with at least five judges.

What is Section 124 A?

  • Section 124A says “a person commits the crime of sedition, if he/she brings or attempts to bring in hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the government established by law in India. “
  • It can be by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise.
  • It prescribes the maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Historical prospect of Sedition law:

  • The law on sedition was not there in the original IPC, which came into force in 1862.
  • It was added to the Code in 1870 and its ambit was expanded in 1898 with a view to crush the freedom movement.
  • While upholding the validity of Section 124A of IPC, a five-judge Constitution Bench had in Kedarnath Singh’s case (1962) restricted the scope of sedition law by prescribing certain safeguards.
  • Sedition was made a cognizable offence in 1973.                                                                                                          

What are the issues raised against the Bill?

  • Criminalizing community service: The new Bill includes community service as a punishment, which can be a fair option for minor offenses where a fine isn't enough, but jail time is too harsh.
  • However, the Bill doesn't specify what qualifies as community service, potentially leading to disputes over sentencing.
  • Clear guidelines for community service would be helpful to avoid confusion and ensure a fair justice system.

‘Community services’ in India:

  • Courts in India have been imposing community service as conditions for bail. For example, ordering traffic management and working at de-addiction centres.
  • However, there have also been stray cases where peculiar kinds of community service were ordered. For example, direction to distribute copies of Quran, donation of money to gaushala or direction to serve at a temple.
  • Against Organised crime: The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill includes a section (Clause 109) addressing organized crime, covering offenses like kidnapping, robbery, cyber-crimes, and more.
    • While these offenses are similar to existing laws, the new bill's definition is broader and unclear. For example, it mentions land grabbing, but this term remains undefined.
    • Phrases like "cybercrimes" and "economic offenses" lack clear definitions in the bill, leading to ambiguity.
    • The term "cybercrimes having severe consequences" is also vague.
  • For Petty organised crime:
    • Clause 110 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita Bill addresses "petty organized crime" but raises concerns.
    • It uses the term "crime" instead of the standard "offence" without defining it.
    • The clause proposes higher punishment for acts causing "general feelings of insecurity" among citizens. This approach creates problems as it links punishment to citizens' perceptions rather than the nature of the act.
    • This approach lacks clarity and consistency, potentially leading to uneven application of punishment based on subjective factors, undermining the intended deterrence effect of the law.

Way forward:

  • Guidelines for Prosecution: Establish clear guidelines for the prosecution of sedition cases. Prosecutors should be required to demonstrate a clear link between the alleged seditious act or speech and the incitement of violence or public disorder.
  • Periodic Review: Periodically review and reassess the relevance and necessity of the sedition law in a modern democratic society. Laws should evolve to reflect changing societal norms and needs.
  • Legal Reforms: Consider broader legal reforms related to freedom of speech and expression. Evaluate whether existing laws adequately protect free speech and whether new legislation is needed to address contemporary challenges, such as hate speech and online harassment.

Ayushman Bhav Campaign


In an event set to redefine healthcare accessibility and inclusivity across the country, the President inaugurated the 'Ayushman Bhav' campaign on September 13, 2023.

About the initiative:
  • Aim: The 'Ayushman Bhav' campaign is a comprehensive nationwide healthcare initiative that aims to provide saturation coverage of healthcare services, reaching every village and town in the country.
  • This groundbreaking initiative builds upon the success of the Ayushman Bharat program and signifies a paradigm shift in healthcare services.
  • Initiated by: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The campaign, which will be implemented during the 'Seva Pakhwada' from September 17th to October 2nd, 2023, embodies a whole-of-nation and whole-of-society approach.
  • It unites government sectors, civil society organizations and communities under a common mission to ensure that every individual receives essential health services without any disparity or exclusion.
  • Implementation: The Ayushman Bhav campaign is a collaborative effort spearheaded by Gram Panchayats in coordination with the Department of Health, other government departments, and local elected bodies in the rural and urban areas.
  • Its core objective is to extend comprehensive healthcare coverage to every village and town, transcending geographical barriers and ensuring that no one is left behind.
  • This synergistic approach aims to saturate coverage of health services through its three components Ayushman - Apke Dwar 3.0, Ayushman Melas at Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Ayushman Sabhas in every village and panchayat.
    • Ayushman Apke Dwar 3.0: This initiative aims to provide Ayushman cards to remaining eligible beneficiaries enrolled under the PM-JAY scheme, ensuring that more individuals have access to essential health services.
    • Ayushman Melas at HWCs and CHCs: These Melas at Ayushman Bharat- HWCs and CHCs will facilitate the creation of ABHA IDs (Health IDs) and issuance of Ayushman Bharat Cards.
    • They will also offer early diagnosis, comprehensive primary health care services, teleconsultation with specialists, and appropriate referrals.
    • Ayushman Sabhas: These gatherings in every village and Panchayat will play a pivotal role in distributing Ayushman cards, generating ABHA IDs, and raising awareness about vital health schemes and disease conditions, such as non-communicable diseases, tuberculosis (Nikshay Mitra), sickle cell disease, as well as blood donation and organ donation drives.
  • Vision: The Ayushman Bhav campaign is aligned with the vision of creating 'Healthy Villages' and 'Healthy Gram Panchayats,' laying the foundation for achieving Universal Health Coverage in the country.
    • Panchayats that successfully saturate the health schemes will earn the prestigious title of 'Ayushman Gram Panchayat' or 'Ayushman Urban Ward,' symbolizing their dedication to equitable healthcare provision.

‘Fraternity’ as enshrined in the Constitution


Fraternity is one of the constitutional values that have received the maximum neglect both in the world of ideas and in the political field of action.

  • Fraternity, often overlooked, is a vital aspect of liberal political philosophy alongside liberty and equality.

What does Fraternity means?

  • Fraternity, in the context of constitutional provisions, refers to the idea of brotherhood and solidarity among citizens within a nation.
  • It implies a sense of unity, social harmony, and mutual respect among individuals, transcending differences such as caste, creed, religion, or gender.

It’s Origin and Significance:

  • Ancient Greek Philosophy: The concept of fraternity has ancient roots, with early ideas found in the works of philosophers like Plato and Aristotle.
    • Plato emphasized the sharing of knowledge and love in the pursuit of wisdom, hinting at the notion of sharing and cooperation as elements of fraternity.
  • Medieval Christianity: During the middle Ages, fraternity was often associated with religion, particularly within the context of Christian society in Europe.
    • It manifested as a sense of community and brotherhood among religious groups and organizations.
  • French Revolution: The concept of fraternity gained political significance during the French Revolution in 1789.
    • It became one of the three pillars of the revolutionary slogan "liberté, égalité, fraternité," highlighting its importance in the realm of politics and governance.
  • Evolution in Political Thought: Fraternity evolved from its origins in civic-political friendship in ancient Greece to religious contexts in medieval Europe, and finally to its revolutionary dimension in modern political thought.
  • Enduring Idea: Despite its evolution, fraternity remains an enduring idea that emphasizes unity, cooperation, and solidarity among individuals or groups, particularly within the political and social spheres.

Constitutional Provisions in India:

  • As a part of Preamble: The term "fraternity" is explicitly mentioned in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.
    • The Preamble underscores the significance of fraternity in promoting social cohesion, individual dignity, and national unity.
    • It emphasizes that along with justice, liberty, and equality, fraternity is a fundamental value that the Indian state is committed to ensuring.
  • Article 15: This article prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. It promotes fraternity by ensuring that the state does not discriminate against any citizen.
  • Article 17: Article 17 abolishes "untouchability" and forbids its practice in any form. It aims to eliminate a deeply rooted form of social discrimination and promote fraternity among all citizens.
  • Directive Principles of State Policy: Several directive principles in Part IV of the Constitution, such as promoting educational and economic opportunities for marginalized groups, aim to reduce inequalities and promote fraternity.
  • Fundamental Duties: The Constitution includes Fundamental Duties (Article 51A) that encourage citizens to promote harmony, the spirit of common brotherhood, and renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of individuals and communities.

What are the recent threats to the ‘idea of Fraternity’ in India?

  • Social Inequalities: True political fraternity cannot exist if it ignores social inequalities. If fraternity is based on hatred towards an imaginary enemy, it only maintains the existing social hierarchy, benefiting the privileged while oppressing the underprivileged.
  • Belligerent Nationalism: The call for fraternity is often replaced by aggressive nationalism that targets religious minorities as enemies. This kind of rhetoric has been used to oppress religious minorities in India.
  • Fundamentalism: Fundamentalism, which is rigid and extreme thinking, is incompatible with fraternity. Fanatics cannot exhibit true brotherhood or solidarity.
  • Caste and Fraternity: In India, the coexistence of caste and political fraternity is challenging. One must give way for the other to thrive, and the future of Indian politics will determine which one prevails.

Nipah Virus outbreak in Kerala


Nipah virus attacks returned to Kerala, with two deaths reported from Kozhikode district.

About Nipah Virus Infection:
  • It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
  • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
  • Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis that causes severe and often fatal disease in both infected horses and humans.
  • It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
  • Vectors: It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
  • Transmission:
    • The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
    • The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
  • Symptoms:
    • The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

Recent Update:

  • Recently, Scientists detected the presence of IgG antibodies against Nipah virus infection (NiV) in 51 bats that were captured from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

What is Antibody?

  • Antibody, also called immunoglobulin, is a protective protein produced by the immune system in response to the presence of a foreign substance, called an antigen.
  • A wide range of substances are regarded by the body as antigens, including disease-causing organisms and toxic materials.
  • Antibodies recognize and attack onto antigens in order to remove them from the body.
  • Types of Antibodies:
  • IgG: It is the main antibody in blood and it has a powerful ability to bind to bacteria and toxins, and thus it takes on an important role in the biological defense system.
    • It is the only isotype that can pass through the placenta, and IgG transferred from the mother's body protects a newborn.

Short News Article

Economy (GS-III)

Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH)

  • Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has launched a scheme to recognize Internet.


  • Service Providers (ISPs) for expanding FTTH broadband connections in rural areas.
  • FTTH is a technology that uses optical fibre to deliver high-speed broadband internet directly to individual buildings.
  • Compared to traditional broadband networks, Fibres can transmit data over long distances using light signals that are less prone to interference and signal loss as their copper counterparts.

Science and Technology (GS-III)

Cloud Seeding

Delhi government is planning to explore cloud seeding to check air pollution in winter.

What is Cloud seeding?

  • Clouds are made up of tiny water droplets or ice crystals that form when water vapor in the atmosphere cools and condenses around a tiny particle of dust or salt floating in the atmosphere.
  • Without these particles, known as condensation or ice nuclei, raindrops or snowflakes cannot form and precipitation will not occur.
  • Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique that improves a cloud’s ability to produce rain or snow by introducing tiny ice nuclei into certain types of subfreezing clouds.
  • These nuclei provide a base for snowflakes to form.
  • After cloud seeding takes place, the newly formed snowflakes quickly grow and fall from the clouds back to the surface of the Earth, increasing snowpack and streamflow. 

Location in News

Atlas Mountains

Recently, scientist studied the epicentre of Morocco’s devastating earthquake in the High Atlas Mountains, about 71km south-west of Marrakesh.

About Atlas Mountains:

  • The Atlas Mountains are a fascinating range in north-west Africa, spanning Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
  • They are situated south of the main Eurasia and Africa (Nubia) tectonic plate boundary.
  • The Atlas Mountains in north-western Africa are the prominent structure in the boundary zone between the converging African and Eurasian plates in the western Mediterranean.
  • The Atlas Mountains range extends over 500 kilometers from the south of Iberia to the bottom of the Sahara.
  • The stress along these fault lines can induce earthquakes as rocks abruptly shift to release accumulated stress, which is characteristic of a seismic fault.


The Maldives churn in the Indian Ocean


India's foreign policy faces challenges from South Asian democracies, but now it is important that India focus on strategy to deal with the Maldives, as its presence matters in the Indian Ocean region (IOR).

Maldives President's Electoral Challenge

  • Solih's Electoral Challenge: Solih's "India First" policy faces a challenge as he secures 05% in Maldives' election, with a runoff against Muizzu.
  • Nasheed's Political Shift: Nasheed's support shift to Muizzu alters political dynamics.
  • Impact on India's Regional Strategy: Election outcome impacts India's regional strategy, countering China's influence in the Indian Ocean.

Religious Extremism and Foreign Influence

  • Religious Extremism and ISIS Affiliation: Maldives has witnessed a surge in religious extremism, with a notable number of citizens reportedly joining ISIS. This trend raises security concerns.
  • Muizzu's Salafist Backing: Adding support to prominent Salafist NGO adds complexity to the political landscape, potentially influencing the nation's religious dynamics.
  • India-China Rivalry in the Maldives: Amidst India-China competition for influence in the Maldives, the political drama involving shift in support and Solih's electoral challenge could impact India's "Neighbourhood First" policy aimed at countering China's growing presence in South Asia.

Strategic Significance and India's Stance

  • Strategic Location as a "Toll Gate": The Maldives, situated in the Indian Ocean, serves as a crucial point for international sea routes. It holds significance due to its location between key sea lanes.
  • China’s Influence: Despite President Solih's attempts to balance relations with India, Beijing has maintained its influence in the Maldives, reflecting the complexities of regional diplomacy.
  • India's Proactive Diplomacy: India has pursued proactive diplomacy in the region through defense pacts and infrastructure development. These efforts aim to safeguard India's strategic interests and counter China's growing presence.
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As per the recent ruling by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court regarding the retrospective application of Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, has raised questions about the balance between accountability and protection in anti-corruption laws and its implications for past and future corruption cases.

Retrospective Effect of 2014 Verdict

  • Supreme Court Retroactive Ruling: Supreme Court's 2014 verdict on Section 6A made retrospective to 2003. Section 6A needed central approval for corruption probes against senior officials.
  • Constitution vs. Laws: Upholds the principle that post-Constitution laws can't contradict the Constitution, it must ensure alignment with legal and constitutional principles.
  • Impact on Corruption Cases: Affects past cases between 2003 and 2014 under Section 6A. Highlights the challenge of balancing accountability and effective anti-corruption measures.

Limited Applicability

  • Temporal Limitations of Ruling: Ruling applies solely to allegations between 2003 and 2014 under Section 6A. Excludes cases post-2014 with Section 17A's government approval mandate.
  • 2018 Amendments and Section 17A: 2018 amendments introduced Section 17A, necessitating government approval for investigations into public servants' decisions. Balancing safeguards with justice and transparency remains crucial.
  • Anti-Corruption Provisions: Striking a balance is essential between anti-corruption safeguards and ensuring efficient, transparent investigations. Ensuring fairness while preventing misuse is a complex challenge.

Balancing Accountability and Protection

  • For fair investigations: Balancing accountability and protection ensures effective, fair investigations.
  • Challenges of Fairness: The challenge is to maintain fairness without impeding genuine corruption probes.
  • Purpose of Anti-Corruption Laws: Laws should serve their intended purpose, exposing corruption and shielding unscrupulous individuals.
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Six years since Puttaswamy


As it has been six years since the Puttaswamy case got its pace, India is continually focusing on privacy Jurisprudence.

Expanding the Right to Privacy

  • Background and the Puttaswamy Judgment: It expanded the understanding of privacy, emphasizing autonomy, dignity, and identity as key principles.
  • Impact on Legal Landscape: The Supreme Court (SC) has used the right to privacy to decriminalize same-sex relations and adultery, promote interfaith and inter-caste marriages, and uphold the right to die with dignity.
  • Challenges: The SC's evolving privacy jurisprudence is shaping fundamental rights and freedoms in India.

Future of Privacy Jurisprudence in India

  • Implications and Ongoing Challenges: The SC will decide on the Pegasus spyware allegations, LGBTQIA+ marriage rights, and Digital Personal Data Protection Act
  • Pivotal Cases Ahead: These cases will shape the evolution of fundamental rights and freedoms.
  • Continued Expansion: The Court's role is to enable individuals to effectively exercise their rights and freedoms in India.

Way forward

  • Balancing Rights and Restrictions: While privacy rights have expanded, some restrictions have been imposed, such as on wearing hijabs in educational institutions.
  • Focus on individual Rights: The challenge is to strike a balance between individual rights and societal interests.
  • Right to Privacy as a Fundamental Right and must get a fair Constitutional recognition.
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Cautiously on AI


AI presents well-documented challenges in biased models, privacy issues, and opaque decision-making, impacting diverse sectors and solutions demand creativity and responsibility.

AI's Rapid Growth

  • Increasing Role of AI: AI is rapidly advancing, with significant private investment and company adoption.
  • Concerns: It also risks undermining public discourse integrity and raising concerns in defense frameworks.
  • The Fear of Artificial General Intelligence: The possibility of AI systems gaining too much autonomy is a significant concern.

International Cooperation and Standards

  • Worldwide Consensus on AI Risks: Establishing global consensus on AI risks is crucial to prevent vulnerabilities.
  • Setting Standards for AI Services: International standards promote inter-operability and cooperation across regions.
  • Promoting Equitable AI Development: Innovative public-private partnership models and regulatory sandbox zones can drive AI progress while addressing social challenges.

Embracing AI with Caution

  • Emphasize responsibility: AI's potential is undeniable, but it must be approached with caution and foresight.
  • Development and deployment: Ensuring control over AI's development and deployment is crucial for its responsible use.
  • Frame rules with global consensus: Efforts have been made globally to address these challenges, including regulatory frameworks and standards.
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