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18th March 2023

ICC issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over ‘war crimes’


In a latest development, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for ‘war crimes’ committed in Ukraine.

What are war crimes?

Crime of Aggression

The crime of aggression is broadly defined as the invasion of, or attempt to gain political and military control over, another sovereign state. While the ICC is the world's permanent war crimes court, it cannot prosecute aggression.

  • War crimes are crimes that come under the collective name of 'core international crimes'.
  • As per the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, when it comes to war crimes, the court has jurisdiction when the crime is committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes. 
  • For the purpose of this statute, 'war crimes' means grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949.
  • Violation as per the above statute includes:
    • wilful killing
    • torture or inhuman treatment (including biological experiments)
    • wilfully causing great suffering (or serious injury to body or health)
    • extensive destruction and appropriation of property
    • compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces
    • wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial
    • unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement, taking of hostages

About International Criminal Court (ICC)

  • ICC is the world’s first permanent international criminal court.
  • It is governed by an international treaty called 'The Rome Statute'.
  • ICC is not a UN organization but is has a cooperation agreement with the United Nations.
  • Headquarters: The Hague, the Netherlands.
  • Jurisdiction: The Rome Statute, grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes:
    • The crime of Genocide
    • Crimes against Humanity
    • War crimes
    • Crime of Aggression
  • Membership: Most countries on Earth – 123 of them – are parties to the treaty, but there are very large and notable exceptions, including Russia, India and the US. And, for that matter, Ukraine.
  • Ukraine also is not a member of the international court, but it has granted it jurisdiction over its territory 

Rajasthan gets 19 new districts


Rajasthan CM announced the formation of 19 new districts and 3 new divisions in the state. The state now has a total of 50 districts

What is the Procedure to form a new District?

  • The power to create new districts or alter or abolish existing districts rests with the State governments.
    • This can either be done through an executive order or by passing a law in the State Assembly.
  • The Centre has no role to play in the alteration of districts or the creation of new ones. States are free to decide on this matter.
  • Name change: If the state government wants to change the name of a district or a railway station, then the Home Ministry comes into the picture.
    • The State government will propose a new name to a district and forward the proposal to the Home ministry. The Home Ministry will forward the proposal to other departments.
    • After that, the departments such as the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Geographical Survey of India Sciences, and the Railway Ministry, provide their clearance to the proposal of the state government.
    • After examination of their replies, the state government receives a no-objection certificate. Then the name of the district stand changed.

Advantages of forming new districts

Associated challenges

  • Better administration
  • Smaller district ensures better governance
  • Serve a large population
  • Bring administration closer to the people
  • New districts attract more district-specific schemes
  • Increase employment
  • Increase in expenditure and resources
  • Substitute for genuine decentralization
  • Increases cost of living in new districts
  • A Political move
  • Underutilization of administration



PM MITRA: Seven states selected to develop Mega Textile Parks


The Centre has selected sites in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to set up new textile parks under the PM MITRA scheme.

Key-highlights of the development

  • Each park will come up in at least 1,000 acre land with ready nearby availability of raw material, fully-equipped infrastructure including port, road and rail connectivity, water and power availability etc.
  • Objective: The mega textile parks are expected to emerge as manufacturing hubs, create employment, create global champions and enable access to state of the art textile technology.
  • Centre’s assistance: The Centre’s assistance for these parks, categorised into Greenfield and Brownfield, would be 51 per cent and the balance would have to be borne by the respective State governments.
  • Cost: The Rs 4,445-crore centrally sponsored scheme will be in operation till 2027 under the Ministry of Textiles.
  • Implementation: A special purpose vehicle (SPV) owned by the Centre and state governments will be set up for each park, which will oversee the implementation of the project.
About PM MITRA scheme
  • PM MITRA parks is envisaged to help India in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9 — ‘Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation’.
  • The scheme aims to realise the vision of building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat and to position India strongly on the global textiles map.
  • ‘5F’ Formula: PM MITRA is inspired by the 5F Formula-
    • Farm to fibre
    • fibre to factory
    • factory to fashion
    • fashion to foreign
  • The scheme will develop integrated large scale and modern industrial infrastructure facility for total value-chain of the textile industry for example, spinning, weaving, processing, garmenting, textile manufacturing, processing & printing machinery industry.

India’s Textile Sector

  • The textile sector accounts for more than two per cent of the total GDP and more than 12 per cent of the manufacturing sector gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The sector is also the second largest provider of employment in India, after agriculture.
  • It provides employment to an estimated 45 million people directly and to another 60 million indirectly through allied activities. 
  • India is the sixth largest exporter of textile and apparel in the world, with four per cent share of the global trade in textiles and apparel.
  • Schemes launched by the Government in Textile sector:
    • Production Linked Incentive Scheme
    • Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SAMARTH)
    • Amended Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS)
    • National Technical Textile Mission
    • Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP)
    • Integrated Processing Development Scheme (IPDS)


  • Reduced Logistics Cost: It will reduce logistics cost and strengthen the value chain of the textile sector to make it globally competitive.
  • Employment Generation: Each park is expected to directly generate 1 lakh jobs and indirectly generate a further 2 lakh jobs.
  • Advancement in infrastructure and investment: Parks would provide state-of-the-art infrastructure for the textiles sector, attract investment of crores.

SC asks to file counter-affidavit to plea to protect Western Ghats


The Supreme Court directed the Environment Ministry to file its counter-affidavit to a petition filed by a minor, seeking judicial intervention to protect the Western Ghats from destruction.

About Western Ghats
  • The Western Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri mountain range, is a mountain range that covers an area of 160,000 km2
    • The entire range of hills from Tapi to Kanyakumari is known as the Western Ghats. 
  • It is parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • The three main rivers of South India viz. Krishna, Godavari and Kaveri originate from the Western Ghats. 
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the 36 biodiversity hotspots in the world.
  • It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India.
  • According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas.
  • Significance of Western Ghats:
    • Diversity of ecosystem:The Western Ghats include a diversity of ecosystems ranging from tropical wet evergreen forests to montane grasslands containing numerous medicinal plants and important genetic resources such as the wild relatives of grains, fruit and spices. They also include the unique shola ecosystem which consists of montane grasslands interspersed with evergreen forest patches.
    • A significant water source: Approximately 245 million people live in the peninsular Indian states that receive most of their water supply from rivers originating in the Western Ghats.
    • Sustaining the livelihood:The soil and water of this region sustain the livelihoods of millions of people.
    • Influencer of weather pattern:They influence the Indian monsoon weather patterns that mediate the warm tropical climate of the region, presenting one of the best examples of the tropical monsoon system on the planet.
    • Natural barrier:They act as a key barrier, intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer.
  • On the eastern side also there is another region called the Eastern Ghats. 



Almost Continuous hills

Discontinuous hills (because of River deltas)

Height: 1500 to 2000 m

lower: 500-700 m

Highest peak: Anai Mudi (Kerala)

Jindhagada peak (Andhra Pradesh)

The forest is Tropical and Semi Evergreen

Moist Deciduous or Monsoon forest


The natural ecosystems of this mountain range are subject to a number of threats:

  • Exploitative livestock grazing
  • Illegal hunting
  • Human-wildlife Conflict
  • Extraction of fuelwood, fodder and other forest products
  • Plantations of cash crops (destroying the natural forests)

Prudent Asset Liability management


Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das said that developments in the U.S. banking sector highlight the importance of ensuring prudent ‘asset liability management’.

  • The recent developments in the United States’ banking system have brought to the fore the criticality of banking sector regulation and supervision. 
  • The ripple effects of the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), the 16th largest bank in the US, may be seen globally.
  • SVB collapsed because of poor financial management.

What is Asset Liability Management?

  • ALM in banking means managing the cash flows of assets and liabilities to increase profitability, manage risk, and maintain safety and soundness. 
  • Simply put, it is the process whereby a bank’s total assets and liabilities are controlled and managed simultaneously in an integrated fashion. 
  • ALM is all about managing three central risks:
    • Interest Rate Risk
    • Liquidity Risk
    • Foreign currency risk
  • For banks with forex operations, it also includes managing
    • Currency risk

Issues with Banking sector in India

  • NPAs of public sector banks: Parliamentary committee noted that the problem of high loan write-offs and NPAs, combined with low asset growth, is more severe for public sector banks (PSBs) than private banks.
  • Lowering of Capital to Risk-weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) requirement: The RBI’s requirement of a minimum CRAR of 9%, to prevent banks from becoming highly leveraged, is 1% higher than the Basel III norms for internationally active banks.
  • Performance of the National Company Law Tribunals (NCLT): Larger NPAs under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) have been taking much longer than the stipulated time period of 270 days.
  • Powers of the RBI in case of PSBs: RBI had stated that some powers available to the RBI under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 are not available in the case of PSBs.  These include: (i) removing and appointing Chairman and Managing Directors of banks, (ii) superseding the Board of Directors etc.

Way forward

  • Reducing CRAR: high CRAR requirement is impractical for these banks, and a relaxation would release capital and increase credit in the market.
  • Strengthening NCLT: NCLTs’ resources be increased to enable them to dispose of such cases swiftly.
  • Strengthening RBI: Government should constitute a high powered committee to evaluate the powers of the RBI with respect to PSBs as provided under various statutes.

Short News Article


Horseshoe crabs disappearing off Odisha


Horseshoe crabs appear to be disappearing from their familiar spawning grounds along Chandipur and Balaramgadi coast in Odisha’s Balasore district.


  • Horseshoe crabs (Limulidae) are marine and brackish water arthropods.
  • Despite their name, they are not crabs at all but are related to scorpionsspiders, and extinct trilobites.
  • Conservation:
    • IUCN: endangered category
    • They are listed under Schedule IV of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • They are currently represented by four species including
    • Limulus Polyphemus
    • Tachypleus gigas
    • Tachypleus tridentatus
    • Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda
  • Of the four species, two species are known to occur in India mangrove horseshoe crab (C. rotundicauda) and Tachypleus gigas.



Tiger helps uncover timber ‘depots’ in Arunachal Pradesh

A tiger spotted after an eight-year gap helped uncover timber ‘depots’ deep inside India’s easternmost tiger reserve.

About Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve

  • Namdapha Tiger Reserve was declared in the year 1983 as the 15th Tiger Project of the country
  • Namdapha is the name of a river which originates from Daphabum and meets Noa-Dehing river.
  • It is located at the junction of the Indian Sub-Continent Biogeograhic region and the Indo-China Biogeographic Region.
  • Biomass: evergreen Forests, Moist deciduous forests, sub-tropical forests, Temperate Forests and Alpine


Olive Ridley turtles

Carcasses of Olive Ridley turtles were seen washed up on the shore at several places and in some islands in Krishna district.


  • The Olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) is the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles, growing up to 70 cm and weighing 45 kg, on average. 
  • Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea; also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle.
  • Globally distribution: tropical regions of the South Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
  • Major nesting sites: Rushikulya rookery coast (Odisha), Gahirmatha beach (Bhitarkanika National park) and mouth of the Debi River.
  • Features:
    • Known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs. 
    • These are carnivores and feed mainly on jellyfish, shrimp
    • The eggs hatch in 45 to 60 days, depending on the temperature of the sand and atmosphere during the incubation period.
  • Olive ridley turtles use three different strategies to nest:
    • Arribadas
    • solitary nests
    • mixed strategy

Science & Technology

IIA researchers develop low-cost star sensor

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have developed a low-cost star sensor for astronomy and small CubeSat class satellite missions.


  • The star sensor is named Starberry-Sense.
  • It can help small CubeSat class satellite missions find their orientation in space.
  • The Starberry-Sense is ready for launch on the PS4-Orbital Platform by ISRO and can be used for CubeSats and other small satellite missions in the future.
  • Based on commercial/off-the-shelf components, this star sensor costs less than 10% of those available in the market.
  • The brain of the instrument is a single-board Linux computer called Raspberry Pi, which is widely used among electronics hobby enthusiasts.


The forecast after a fake news campaign in Tamil Nadu


A malicious online disinformation campaign led to law-and-order issues in Tamil Nadu and made media headlines across the country. 


  • Lack of fact Checking: After the Tamil Nadu disinformation story, some media outlets such as Dainik Bhaskar, a large media group, projected these stories as news, without attempting to verify the authenticity of these clips. 
  • Knee-jerk measures: No proper efforts are taken to prevent the spread of fake News. The government only employs knee-jerk measures such as Internet shutdowns across jurisdictions without due regard to the doctrine of proportionality. 
  • Lack of regulation: Self-regulation by mainstream media has largely been ineffective. Any direct effort by the government to control fake news is prone to be seen as an assault on the freedom of media which functions as the fourth pillar of democracy.

Steps taken by Government

  • IT Rules, 2021: The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 or IT Rules, 2021, aims to regulate content by online publishers of news and social media intermediaries.
  • Amendments to the IT Rules: The recent draft amendments to the IT Rules, 2021, empower the Press Information Bureau to ‘flag inaccurate and fake news related to government bodies on social media platforms’ amounts to disinformation. 
  • Section 69A of IT act:  The Union Government can block access to any information online that it considers necessary in the interest of the sovereignty and the integrity of India, the security of the state or public order.
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