What's New :

14th March 2023

Laws for Antiquities in India


In an investigation by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and Finance has found that the catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, includes at least 77 items with links to Subhash Kapoor, who is serving a 10-year jail term in Tamil Nadu for smuggling antiquities.

  • Before Independence, an Antiquities (Export Control) Act had been passed in April 1947 to ensure that “no antiquity could be exported without license.” 
  • In 1958, The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act were enacted. 
  • Along with the UNESCO convention, prompted the government to enact The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972 (AATA), implemented from April 1, 1976.
  • After the AATA was implemented, the Centre asked traders in antiquities and art objects to declare their possessions of antiquities by June 5, 1976, and individual owners by July 5, 1976.

UNESCO Convention:

  • The UNESCO 1970 Convention is based on “the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property defined “cultural property” as the property designated by countries having “importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science.”
  • The Declaration further said that “the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property is one of the main causes of the impoverishment of the cultural heritage of the countries of origin of such property and that international co-operation constitutes one of the most efficient means of protecting each country’s cultural property.”

What is an antiquity?

  • The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, implemented on April 1, 1976, defined “antiquity” as “any coin, sculpture, painting, epigraph or other work of art or craftsmanship; any article, object or thing detached from a building or cave; any article, object or thing illustrative of science, art, crafts, literature, religion, customs, morals or politics in bygone ages; any article, object or thing of historical interest” that has been in existence for not less than ‘one hundred years’.

For manuscript, record or other document which is of scientific, historical, literary or aesthetic value, this duration is not less than ‘seventy-five years’.

What do Indian laws say?

  • In India, Item-67 of the Union List, Item-12 of the State List, and Item-40 of the Concurrent List of the Constitution deal with the country’s heritage.

Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972 (AATA):

  • The AATA states, “It shall not be lawful for any person, other than the Central Government or any authority or agency authorised by the Central Government in this behalf, to export any antiquity or art treasure.”
  • No person shall, himself or by any other person on his behalf, carry on the business of selling or offering to sell any antiquity except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence.
  • This licence is granted by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). 

What is ‘provenance’ of an antiquity?

“Provenance includes the list of all owners from the time the object left its maker’s possession to the time it was acquired by the current owner.”

How to check for fake antiquities?

  • Under section 14(3) of the AATA, “Every person who owns or controls or is in possession of any antiquity” shall register such antiquity before the registering officer “and obtain a certificate in token of such registration.”
  • So far, the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities, launched in March 2007, has registered 3.52 lakh antiquities among the 16.70 lakh it has documented, to help in “effective check” of illegal activities.
  • This is a very small portion of the total number of antiquities in the country, which the government estimates to be around 58 lakh.

Can India bring back antiquities?

  • There are three categories to take note of: 
    • Antiquities taken out of India pre-independence; 
    • Those which were taken out since independence until March 1976, i.e. before the implementation of AATA; and 
    • Antiquities taken out of the country since April 1976.
  • For items in the first two categories, requests have to be raised bilaterally or on international fora
    • For instance, the Maharashtra government on November 10, 2022 announced it was working to bring back the sword of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from London. 
    • This sword was given to Edward, the Prince of Wales (the later King Edward VII) by Shivaji IV in 1875-76. 
    • Several antiquities, from Vagdevi of Dhar (MP), to the Kohinoor diamond, to Amaravati marbles to the Sultanganj Buddha to antiquities related to Rani Laxmibai and Tipu Sultan, are currently abroad.
  • Antiquities in the second and third categories can be retrieved easily by raising an issue bilaterally with proof of ownership and with the help of the UNESCO convention

Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA)


The crafting of the country’s data governance must enable to ensure a secure, more egalitarian and trustworthy digital future for all.

  • India’s G-20 presidency has provided an opportunity for the country to showcase its advancements in the digital arena, particularly with regards to data infrastructures and data governance. 
  • As the world becomes increasingly digital, the G-20 has recognised the need for international cooperation and collaboration in addressing the challenges, opportunities and risks posed by the rapid growth of data and digital technologies.
  • Significant progress has been made in the use of digital technologies to provide access to bank accounts and in the promotion of digital transactions through the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and other options.
  • Thus recently India has taken steps like Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) and India Data Management Office (IDMO) to solve the problems.

What is Data sovereignty?

  • The term “data sovereignty” refers to the principle that a country has the right to control the collection, storage, and use of data within its borders and also to the informational self-determination of citizens over their data.

 Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA):

  • India’s Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) is a consent management tool launched for better data management.
  • DEPA has the potential to improve data protection and privacy for citizens by giving them greater control over the use and sharing of their personal information. 
  • By allowing individuals to easily manage and control their data consents, DEPA could help to build trust in digital technologies and data governance. 

India Data Management Office (IDMO):

  • India’s establishment of an India Data Management Office (IDMO) is a step forward in the country’s journey towards data sharing and data governance. 
  • The IDMO is expected to oversee and coordinate the implementation of India’s digital strategies and data governance framework, and to ensure that these efforts are aligned with the country’s values and priorities. 
  • It will also work to promote the development and implementation of open-source solutions, which will help to ensure that underlying data architectures are a social public good, and to promote digital technologies to become accessible and affordable for all.

Concerns associated: 

  • However, there are also risks associated with DEPA, particularly in terms of security and privacy. 
  • If the consent management tool is not properly implemented or managed, there is a risk that personal information could be ‘misused’ or ‘misappropriated’.
  • There are concerns that the implementation of DEPA may be inconsistent across different sectors and jurisdictions, which could undermine its effectiveness and create confusion among citizens.
  • There are also concerns around the potential misuse of data and information in these sectors. 
  • For example, in the health sector, there is a risk that sensitive medical information could be misused or exploited for commercial purposes, while in agriculture; there is a risk that market information could be manipulated for the benefit of certain actors.

Suggestive measures:

  • In order to realise the potential benefits of DEPA and minimise the risks, it is important that the tool is implemented in a transparent, consistent, and secure manner
  • This will require close collaboration between the government, the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders and the development of clear and effective regulations and standards.
  • The use of digital technologies can enhance access to health-care services, particularly in rural and remote areas, while in agriculture they can empower farmers and enhance their incomes.

India is world’s largest arms importer


According to the latest report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India remained the world’s largest arms importer from 2018 to 2022 followed by Saudi Arabia.

Key highlights of the report:

  • The data showed three largest arms exporter to India remains;
    • Russia was the largest arms supplier in the periods between 2013-17 and 2018-22.
    • France emerged as the second-largest arms supplier to India between 2018-22 at 29 per cent, and 
    • The United States (US) at 11 per cent.
  • However, the share of arms imports from Russia to India fell from 64 per cent to 45 per cent.
  • Reason for arms import: India’s tensions with Pakistan and China largely drive its demand for arms imports.
  • Other arms exporters to India remains;
    • India also imported arms during this five-year period from Israel, South Korea, and South Africa which are among the top arms exporters globally.
  • Imported Items of key importance to India:
    • India’s arms import from France included 62 combat aircraft and four submarines.
  • India as Arms exporter:
    • India was the third-largest arms supplier to Myanmar during this period after Russia and China and comprised 14 per cent of its imports. 
  • Imports for other Neighbours of India
    • The report stated that 77 per cent of Pakistan’s arms supply in 2018-22 came from China.
    • The report said imports of major arms by European states increased by 47 per cent between 2013-17 and 2018-22 in the backdrop of the war in Ukraine even as the global volume of international arms transfers fell by 5.1 per cent.
  • Russia remains at top exporter to other nations
    • Two-thirds of Russian arms exports went to India, China, and Egypt in 2018-22 — at 31 per cent, 23 per cent, and 9.3 per cent, respectively. 
    • While Russian arms exports went down by 37 per cent between the two periods, exports to China and Egypt increased by 39 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively.

About SIPRI:

  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international institute based in Stockholm. 
  • It was founded in 1966.
  • It provides data, analysis and recommendations for armed conflict, military expenditure and arms trade as well as disarmament and arms control. 
  • The research is based on open sources and is directed to decision-makers, researchers, media and the interested public.

India’s steps to reduce imports:

  • The Government has taken several policy initiatives in the past few years and brought in reforms to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment, thereby promoting self-reliance in defence manufacturing & technology in the country. 
  • These initiatives, inter-alia, include according priority to procurement of capital items of Buy Indian (IDDM) category from domestic sources under Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020.

The current legal framework and regulators to support defence policies in India include:

  • Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951
  • Defence procurement procedure, 2016
  • FDI policy and regulations under FEMA, 1999
  • Indian Army Act 1950, India Air Force Act 1950, Indian Navy Act 1957
  • Department of industrial policy and promotion(DIPP) (M/o commerce and industry)
  • Department of defence production (M/o defence)
  • Defence acquisition council (M/o defence)
  • Defence offsets management wing (M/o defence)

Indigenously developed defence equipment’s in India are:

  • State-of-the-art products including 155 mm Artillery Gun system ‘Dhanush’, 
  • Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, 
  • Surface to Air Missile system ‘Akash’, 
  • Main Battle Tank ‘Arjun’, T-90 Tank, T-72 Tank, 
  • Armoured Personnel Carrier ‘BMP-II/IIK’, Su-30 MK1, Cheetah Helicopter, 
  • Advanced Light Helicopter, Dornier Do-228, High Mobility Trucks, 
  • INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi, INS Chennai, Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette (ASWC), 
  • Arjun Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle, Bridge Laying Tank, 
  • Bi-Modular Charge System (BMCS) for 155 mm Ammunition, Medium Bullet Proof Vehicle (MBPV), Weapon Locating Radar (WLR), 
  • Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS), etc. have been produced in the country during the last few years.

Global hunger crisis and high Debt


According to the special report by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), at least 21 countries — including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, Lebanon, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbabwe were nearing catastrophic levels of both debt distress and rising hunger in 2022.

Key Points of the report:

  • Global public debt was at its highest levels in almost 60 years and countries had to choose between repaying debts and feeding people.
  • About 60 per cent of low-income countries and 30 per cent of middle-income countries were considered at high risk of (or already in) debt distress
  • The world’s poorest countries saw the costs of servicing their debt increase by 35 per cent in 2022.
  • Africa’s food import dependency has tripled in recent decades, leaving countries exposed to food price spikes like in 2022.
  • The report called for urgent action to provide debt relief and development finance on a scale to meet the needs of COVID-19 recovery, climate-resilient food systems and sustainable development goals.

India’s Hunger problem:

  • India has long been home to the largest number of malnourished children in the world.
  • The highest levels of stunted and underweight children are found in Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Some progress has been made in reducing the extent of malnutrition.
  • United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP) paints a picture of hunger and malnutrition amongst children in large pockets of India.
  • The report shows the poorest sections of society caught in a trap of poverty and malnutrition, which is being passed on from generation to generation.

Reasons for increasing global hunger and related debt:

  • Due disruptions in Global supply chains and Inflation
  • Lack of Job Opportunities
  • Poverty
  • Population Explosion
  • Lack of estimated targets for schemes including Children and Women.
  • Other reasons being reduced soil fertility, fragmented lands or fluctuating market price of farm produce etc.

Initiatives to Eradicate Hunger/Malnutrition:

  • POSHAN Abhiyan
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
  • Food Fortification
  • National Food Security Act, 2013
  • Mission Indradhanush
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
  • Eat Right India Movement

India’s increase in petroleum product exports to EU


India’s petroleum product exports to the European Union (EU) have grown notably over the past few months as the region is suffering from no supplies of refined products from Russia, due to the war in Ukraine.

  • India’s petroleum product exports to the EU rose 20.4 per cent year on year in April-January to 11.6 million tonnes.
  • The trend is significant as the global oil markets affected from Russia ban on supplies; countries like India are helping maintain a demand-supply balance, while preventing extreme price shocks. 
  • The EU does not want to buy crude as well as refined fuels and products from Russia. 
  • Countries like India, which is a major oil refiner, are playing their part in bridging the gap by buying Russian oil on one hand, and increasing the supply of refined products to the EU on the other.

What are petroleum products?

  • Petroleum product means products that are obtained from distilling and processing crude oil and that is capable of being used as a fuel for the propulsion of a motor vehicle or aircraft, including motor gasoline, gasohol, other alcohol-blended fuels, aviation gasoline, kerosene, distillate fuel oil and number 1 and number 2 diesels. 

The term does not include naphtha-type jet fuel, kerosene-type jet fuel, or a petroleum product destined for use in chemical manufacturing or feedstock of that manufacturing or fuel sold to vessels engaged in interstate or foreign commerce.

India Petroleum products industry:

  • India is a major refiner with an annual refining capacity of about 250 million tonnes. 
  • While it is also one of the top consumers of crude oil, India’s refining capacity is higher than its domestic demand, making the country a net exporter of petroleum products.
  • Indian refiners, particularly export-oriented private sector players Reliance Industries and Nayara Energy, stand to gain from the West’s punitive action against the Russian oil and gas sector. 

Short News Article

International Relations  

SCO Buddhist heritage meet


  • India is going to host the SCO Tourism Ministers’ meeting in Varanasi, designated as the first cultural capital of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).


  • Objective: The meeting is going to take place which will focus on “India’s civilizational connection with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) nations”.
    • More than 15 scholars and delegates will present research papers on various related topics as part of the first-of-its-kind international conference on ‘Shared Buddhist Heritage’.
    • The two-day event from March 17-19, 2023, is a part of India’s leadership of SCO, and will bring together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and West Asian countries on a common platform.
    • The conference aims is to re-establish trans-cultural links and seek out commonalities between Buddhist art of Central Asia, archaeological sites and antiquities in collections of various museums in SCO nations.
  • Organised by:
  • The Ministry of Culture, along with the Ministry of External Affairs and International Buddhist Confederation, a grantee body of the Culture Ministry. 
  • Participants: Several Indian scholars of Buddhism will also participate in the event.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

  • The SCO comprises China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as member-states.
  •  It has observer-states namely as Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia. 
  • Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia and Nepal are SCO dialogue partners.
  • Of these, Buddhism is among the dominant philosophies in countries such as China, Mongolia, Nepal and Cambodia.


First-ever synchronised Vulture survey

The two-day Synchronised vulture census by Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka Forest Departments which began on March 13, 2023 has recorded about 246 vultures.

Key points:

  • The estimation was carried out in the; 
    • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) and 
    • the adjoining landscape consisting of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) in Tamil Nadu, 
    • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) in Kerala, 
    • Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) and Nagerhole Tiger Reserve (NTR) in Karnataka. 
  • A total of 98 vultures were seen in MTR, two in STR, 52 in WWS, 73 in BTR, and 23 in NTR. 
  • During the survey, conducted in four sessions and six hours, during which the volunteers sighted;
    • White-rumped vultures (183), 
    • Long-billed vultures (30), 
    • Red-headed vultures (28), 
    • Egyptian vultures (3), 
    • Himalayan Griffon (1), and 
    • Cinereous vulture (1). 
  • Double counting was avoided based on the timing and direction of observation in the nearby vantage points.


IPCC Synthesis Report

A global meeting to approve the Synthesis Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has begun in Switzerland from March 13 and will end March 17, 2023.

About the report:

  • The Synthesis Report is the last of the Sixth Assessment reports and will summarise three special and three Working Groups’ papers
  • The IPCC is now in its sixth assessment cycle
  • The Fifth Assessment Report was completed in 2014.
  • The report provides an overview of the state of knowledge on the science of climate change.

The physical groups:

  • Working Group I deals with the physical science basis of climate change, and 
  • Working Group II includes impacts, adaptation and vulnerability and 
  • Working Group III talks about climate change mitigation.


Oscars 2023

Indian cinema witnessed one of its biggest moments of glory on a global stage of Oscar 2023 organised in LA.

Key highlights: 

  • The Elephant Whisperers won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short and; 
  • RRR’s song ‘Naatu Naatu’ won for Best Original Song.
  • Significance of the event: 
    • Never before has India had three productions nominated at the Academy Awards — besides an Indian celebrity presenter, actor ‘Deepika Padukone’ — in the same year

About the award:

  • The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit for the global film industry. 
  • The awards are regarded by many as the most prestigious, significant awards in the entertainment industry in the United States.
  • It was founded in 1927, but the presentation was first started in 1929, and winners since then receive a gold-plated statuette commonly called Oscar.


A fragile momentum


  • Recently there has been a hike of 5.2% in India’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of January which seems to be a good New Year metric for last two months of contraction in the previous five months.

Towards growing economic sectors:

  • Gross Value added for manufacturing slightly grows: With the Gross-Value Added (GVA) in the economy by the manufacturing sector shrinking 3.6% in the July to September 2022 and 1.1% in the October to December 2022 quarters, however has some chances to grow.  
  • Slow start for the first quarter: To that end, January’s factory output numbers offer moderate, although not necessarily adequate, encouragement. 
  • Past Concerns: As many as seven sectors have clocked output declines over the first 10 months of 2022-23, including electrical equipment, computers, pharma and the employment-intensive textiles, apparel and leather.

Indicators of IIP:

  • Electricity and goods production: Double-digit growth in electricity and capital goods lifted the IIP, and an 8%-odd rise in mining and infrastructure goods has been recorded.
  • Manufacturing sector: Manufacturing rose 3.7%, which is slightly better than December’s 3.1% increase, but 10 of 23 tracked sub-sectors recorded contractions in output.
  • Textiles factories & technology sector: They pared production by over 11%, wood products fell by 12.6%, wearing apparel units slashed output by 22.3%, while computers and electronics manufacturing fell 29.6%. 
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


QUIZ - 14th March 2023

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now