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18th November 2022

Review Petition by Centre on the Supreme Court’s Judgement

Context

The Government moved to Supreme Court (SC) seeking. A review of the court’s order granting remission to the convicts of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. They said that the judgment was passed without seeking the Centre’s suggestions.

About

What was the Centre’s argument against the Supreme Court’s Orders?

  • Union of India as a primary party to the issue: The government mentioned that the convicts who sought remission did not make the Union of India. A respondent in their plea ‘despite it being a necessary and proper party to the issue.
  • Conflict of Powers between the Centre and Supreme Court: The majority of the appellants were foreign nationals and the government’s role was a must. According to the Centre, granting remission to terrorists of foreign nations, who had been duly convicted in accordance with the law of the land for the gruesome offense of assassinating the former Prime Minister of the country. It is a matter with international ramifications and therefore falls squarely within the sovereign powers of the Union of India.
  • Leading to a patent error in the Orders by SC: Also, non-presentation of such crucial facts, going into the root of the matter has resulted in a ‘patent and manifest error’ apparent on the face of record creeping into the final judgment passed and is a miscarriage of justice.
  • The Foreign National Act of 1946:

    • Power to make orders against Foreign nationals: According to the Foreign National Act of 1946, the Central Government may by order make provisions, either generally or with respect to all foreigners or with respect to any particular foreigner or any prescribed class or description of a foreigner, for prohibiting, regulating or restricting the entry of foreigners into [India] or, their departure therefrom or their presence or continued presence therein.
    • Protection to persons acting under this Act: No suit prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done under this Act.

Criteria for review petition:

The court has the power to review its rulings to correct a ‘patent error’ — but not ‘minor mistakes of inconsequential import.

Can the Supreme Court’s Order/Judgement be reverted?

  • According to the Constitution, any ruling by the Supreme Court is in normal course. Final and binding, and it becomes the law of the land. It is considered final because it provides certainty for deciding future cases.
  • However, under article 137, the Supreme Court has the power to review its judgments or orders. This provision forms the legal basis for the filing of a “review petition”.

What is the procedure for filing a review petition?

  • A review petition must be filed within 30 days of the pronouncement of the judgment.
  • Except in cases of the death penalty, review petitions are heard through circulation by judges in their chambers. They are usually not heard in open court.
  • Lawyers in review petitions usually make their case through written submissions, and not oral arguments.
  • The same judges who passed the original verdict usually also hear the review petition.

SC’s interpretation of the review petition:

  • In a 1975 ruling, Justice Krishna Iyer said a review can be accepted. Only where a glaring omission, patent mistake, and grave error has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility.
  • In a 2013 ruling, the Supreme Court laid down three grounds for seeking a review of a verdict it has delivered:
    • The discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, after the exercise of due diligence. Was not within the knowledge of the petitioner or could not be produced by him;
    • A mistake or error apparent on the face of the record; or
    • Any other sufficient reason. In subsequent rulings, the court specified that “any sufficient reason” means a reason that is analogous to the other two grounds.
  • It is the sole decision of the Supreme Court itself to hear its judgment.

 

To review Collegium system and revive NJAC

Context

In a petition filed arguing the revival of the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), the Chief Justice of India agreed to reconsider the collegium system of judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

About

What is the Collegium system?

  • A collegium is a group consisting of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court that decides the appointment of judges to the apex court.

How does it work?

  • The Judges of the higher judiciary are appointed only through the collegium system, and the government has a role only after names have been decided by the collegium.
  • It comprises of:

Appointment of Supreme Court Judge

Appointment of High Court Judge

Transfer of High Court Judge

4 senior-most judges of the Supreme court

2 senior-most judges of the Supreme court

4 senior-most judges of the Supreme court along with the judges of the two High Courts in concern.

  • Names recommended for appointment by a High Court collegiumreach the government only after approval by the CJI and the Supreme Court collegium.
  • Sometimes the government delays making the appointments, especially in cases where the government is perceived to be unhappy with one or more judges recommended for appointment by the collegium.

Evolution of the System:

  • The collegium system evolved out of a series of judgments of the Supreme Court that are called the “Judges Cases”.
    • The collegium came into being through the interpretations of the relevant provisions of the Constitution that the Supreme Court made in these Judge's Cases.
  • First Judges Case (1981): It declared that the “primacy” of the CJI’s (Chief Justice of India) recommendation on judicial appointments and transfers can be refused for “cogent reasons.”
    • The ruling gave the Executive primacy over the Judiciary in judicial appointments for the next 12 years.
  • Second Judges Case (1993): SC introduced the Collegium system, holding that “consultation” really meant “concurrence”.
    • It added that it was not the CJI’s individual opinion, but an institutional opinion formed in consultation with the two senior-most judges in the SC.
  • Third Judges Case (1998): SC on the President's reference (Article 143) expanded the Collegium to a five-member body, comprising the CJI and four of his senior-most colleagues.

Reforms introduced:

The attempt made to modify the appointment procedure to make it more transparent and consensus-based was done by a national Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) which was provided under Article 124A in the constitution.

However, through Ninety-ninth Amendment Act, 2014NJAC was struck down by the court in 2015 on the ground that it posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary.

Need to reconsider the Collegium system:

  • Issues of Transparency: The system is non-transparent since it does not involve any official mechanism or secretariat.
  • No definite Eligibility: it is seen as a closed-door affair with any prescribed norms regarding eligibility criteria, or even the selection procedure.
  • Lack of Consensus and Consultation: There is no public knowledge of how and when a collegium meets, and how it takes its decisions. There are no official minutes of collegium proceedings.

 The National Judicial Appointment Commission:

  • Appointment of CJI: It provided for the CJI's appointment along with those of the judges for the Supreme Court and HC's Chief Justice judges.
  • The commission shall comprise the following members;
    • The Chief Justice of India (ex-officio, Chairperson of the NJAC)
    • Two senior Supreme Court judges (ex-officio)
    • The Union Minister of Law and Justice (ex-officio)
    • Two eminent persons who are to be nominated by a committee comprising of the CJI, the Prime Minister of India, and the Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then, the Leader of the single largest Opposition Party in Lok Sabha).
    • One person to be from the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/OBC/Minority/Woman.
  • Term of the service: No re-nomination after having served a term of 3 years.

What are the arguments in support of NJAC?

  • NJAC Act ends the opaque mechanism and ensures transparency and accountability within the collegium system.
  • NJAC Act brings integrity between the judiciary and executive and makes it all-inclusive.
  • Involvement of the Government and people from other backgrounds can make the appointment more diverse and with a real perspective.
  • Issues of Minorities, SCs, STs, and Women will also be given preference. It can also lead to more Women Judges in the higher decision-making system.

Centre taking proactive measures for critical mineral security

Context

In a bid to strengthen the critical mineral supply chain for emerging technologies, the government is taking several proactive measures.

About

What are Critical Minerals?

  • Critical minerals are elements that are the building blocks of essential modern-day technologies and are at risk of supply chain disruptions.
    • Risk: Any supply shock can severely imperil the economy and strategic autonomy of a country over-dependent on others to procure critical minerals.
  • These minerals are now used everywhere from making mobile phones, and computers to batteries, electric vehicles, and green technologies like solar panels and wind turbines.

Major Critical Minerals:

  • Graphite, Lithium, and Cobalt are used for making EV batteries.
  • Cobalt, Nickel, and Lithium are required for batteries used in electric vehicles,
  • Rare earth minerals are critical, in trace amounts, in semiconductors and high-end electronics manufacturing.

Extraction and Processing:

  • Many of these critical minerals are mined in Australia, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South America, and much of the processing of these minerals takes place in China.

Why these Minerals are considered Critical?

  • Building blocks of essential modern-day technologies: They are used everywhere from making mobile phones, and computers to batteries, electric vehicles, and green technologies like solar panels and wind turbines.
  • For green ecosystem: As countries around the world scale up their transition towards clean energy and a digital economy, these critical resources are key to the ecosystem that fuels this change. 

Challenges

  • Threat to economic security: An over-reliance on “foreign sources and adversarial nations for critical minerals and materials posed national and economic security threats”
  • Risk of disruption: Due to individual needs and strategic considerations, they are at risk of supply chain disruptions.
  • Low availability and increasing demand

The looming threat

  • China is the world’s largest producer of 16 critical minerals.
  • China is responsible for some 70% and 60% of the global production of cobalt and rare earth elements, respectively (2019).
  • It also controls cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where 70% of this mineral is sourced.

How government is actively engaged?

  • Commissioning of consultants: The government has commissioned consultants to identify assets and companies in the critical mineral sector in countries such as Australia.
  • Evaluation of Lithium varieties: The government is planning to send a team of geologists to Argentina to evaluate lithium varieties.
  • Identifying companies: The government of India and Australia are both working together to identify companies in the critical mineral space.

Steps were taken by India regarding Critical Minerals:

  • Lithium Agreement:
    • In mid-2020, India signed an agreement with an Argentinian firm to jointly prospect lithium in the South American country that has the third largest reserves of the metal in the world.
  • India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership:
    • India and Australia decided to strengthen their partnership in the field of projects and supply chains for critical minerals.
    • Australia has the resources to help India fulfill its ambitions to lower emissions and meet the growing demand for critical minerals to help India’s space and defense industries, and the manufacture of solar panels, batteries, and electric vehicles.
  • KhanijBidesh India Ltd. (KABIL): A joint venture of three Central Public Sector Enterprises, KhanijBidesh India Ltd. (KABIL), is taking charge of ensuring mineral security through facilitating supply chains, and mine asset acquisitions.
    • A notable achievement of KABIL was the signing of an MoU between the Indian and Australian governments for cooperation in the field of mining and processing of critical minerals.

Minerals Security Partnership (2022):

  • Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) is a US-led partnership initiative that aims to bolster critical mineral supply chains.
  • The new grouping is aimed at catalyzing investment from governments and the private sector to develop strategic opportunities.
  • India has shown interest in joining the USA-led Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) but has not found a place in the grouping because the country does not bring much expertise to the table.
  • It would be desirable to participate in such multi-country dialogues.

PM Modi’s gifts to G20 leaders showcase India’s rich cultural diversity

Context

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s gifts to the world leaders the G20 Summit reflected India’s rich culture and diversity comprising of traditional crafts manifested in the ubiquitous household products crafted with ingenuity from local areas.

About

The List

Item

Description

Kangra miniature paintings to US President Joe Biden

  • Kangra miniature paintings portray ‘Shringar Rasa’ and depict love on a natural backdrop.
  • The art originated in a small hill state ‘Guler’ in the first half of the 18th century when a family of Kashmiri painters trained in the Mughal Style of painting sought shelter at the court of Raja Dalip Singh of Guler.
  • The Kangra paintings are made by painters from Himachal Pradesh using natural colours.

Handmade textile from Gujarat to UK counterpart, Rishi Sunak

  • The handmade textile of Gujarat meant to be an offering in the temple shrines called Mata niPachedi.
  • Mata Ni Pachedi was crafted by the nomadic community of Waghris.
  • The craft pays homage to the various incarnations of Mata, the divine singular form of the goddess and displays narrative depictions of epics of Mata or Devi or Shakti.

‘Pithora’ to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

  • A Pithora is a ritualistic tribal folk art by the Rathwa artisans from Chhota Udaipur in Gujarat.
  • These paintings are depictions of the cave paintings that tribals used to make reflecting the social, cultural and mythological life and beliefs of those tribals.
  • A Pithora as a mural has a special significance in the annals of cultural anthropology.
  • The paintings bear a striking resemblance to the Aboriginal dot painting from the indigenous communities of Australia.

 

PatanPatola Dupatta (scarf) [Patan] was gifted to Italy

  • The (Double Ikat) PatanPatola textile was woven by the Salvi family in the Patan area of Northern Gujarat.
  • Patole is a term derived from the Sanskrit word “Pattu” meaning silk fabric that can be traced back to ancient times.
  • The complex motifs placed in this exquisite Dupatta (scarf) are inspired by the ‘Rani kiVav’, a stepwell in Patan, built in the 11th century AD
  • The PatanPatola Dupatta is packed in a ‘Sadeli’ box, which in itself is a decorative piece.
  • Sadeli is a highly skilled woodcraft, native to the Surat area of Gujarat.

Agate Bowl (Kutch) was presented to France, Germany, and Singapore

 

  • Gujarat is known for its agate craft.
  • The semi-precious stone formed of chalcedonic-silica, is found in underground mines of Rajpipla and Ratanpur in riverbeds and extracted to produce a variety of ornamental objects.·         The Agate bowl gifted to French President Emmanuel Macron, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz from Kutch, Gujarat can be seen in various contemporary designs as home decor objects and fashion jewellery.
  • The healing powers attributed to agate stones have sustained the use of agate over centuries.

 

Silver Bowl and Kinnauri Shawl gifted to Indonesia

  • The unique and finely crafted bowl is made of pure silver whereas the Kinnauri shawl, as the name suggests, is the speciality of the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The designs of the shawls show influence from Central Asia and Tibet.
  • The silver bowl is a centuries-old craft perfected by the traditional and highly skilled metalsmiths of the Surat region in Gujarat

Kanal Brass Set gifted to Spain

  • Kanal, which is gifted to Spain by India is a large, straight brass trumpet, over a metre long, played in parts of Himalayan India.
  • It is used on ceremonial occasions, such as the processions of village deities. It is also used to welcome the leaders of Himachal Pradesh.
  • These traditional musical instruments are now increasingly used as decor objects and are manufactured in the Mandi and Kullu districts of Himachal Pradesh by skilled metal craftspersons.

SC might reconsider judgment protecting MPs/MLAs who take cash for votes

Context

According to a statement,a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is going to review its decision in 'JMM bribery scandal’, 1998 in which the lawmakers claim immunity from criminal prosecution for taking bribes in connection with a speech or vote in Parliament or a state assembly.

Background
  • In 1998, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that parliamentarians were afforded immunityfrom criminal prosecution for taking bribes in connection with a speech or vote in Parliament or a state assemblyunder Article 105 of the Constitution.
  • In a 3:2 ruling, the Constitution Bench held that Article 105 ‘protects a member of Parliament against proceedings in court that relate to, or concern, or have a connection or nexus with anything said, or a vote given, by him in Parliament’.

Article 105 of the Constitution provides for the powers and privileges of the Houses of Parliament, their members and committees. It states that; ‘No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof’

What are the Parliamentary Privileges?

  • Parliamentary privileges are special rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by the two Houses of Parliament, their committees and their members.
  • Under these privileges, the members of Parliament are exempted from any civil liability (but not criminal liability)for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties.
    • The privileges are claimed only when the person is a member of the house.?
    • As soon as s/he ends to be a member, the privileges are said to be called off.
  • Parliament has not made any special lawto exhaustively codify all the privileges. They are rather based on five sources:
    • Constitutional provisions
    • Various laws made by Parliament
    • Rules of both the Houses
    • Parliamentary conventions
    • Judicial interpretations

Privileges mentioned are:

  • Freedom of Speech in Parliament:
    • The freedom of speech and expression guaranteed to a citizen under Article 19(2)is different from the freedom of speech and expression provided to a member of the parliament.?
    • It has been guaranteed under Article 105(1) of the Indian constitution. But the freedom is subject to rules and orders which regulate the proceedings of the parliament.
    • Limitations:
      • Freedom of speech should be in accordance with the constitutional provisions and subject to rules and procedures of the parliament, as stated under Article 118 of the Constitution.
      • Under Article 121 of the Constitution,the members of the parliament are restricted from discussing the conduct of the judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court.?
    • Freedom from Arrest:
      • The members enjoy freedom from arrest in any civil case 40 days before and after the adjournment of the house and also when the house is in session.?
      • No member can be arrested from the limits of the parliament without the permission of the houseto which s/he belongs so that there is no hindrance in performing their duties.
      • If the detention of any members of the parliament is made,the chairman or the speaker should be informed by the concerned authority, of the reason for the arrest.
        • But a member can be arrested outside the limits of the house on criminal charges against him under the Preventive Detention actthe Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), the National Security Act (NSA), or any such act.
      • Right to Prohibit the Publication of Proceedings:
        • Article 105(2)of the Constitution, no person shall be held liable for publishing any reports, discussions etc. of the house under the authority of the member of the house.?
          • For paramount and national importance, it is essential that the proceedings should be communicated to the public to aware them of what is going on in the parliament.
        • Right to Exclude Strangers:
        • The members of the house have thepower and right to exclude strangers who are not members of the house from the proceedings. This right is very essential for securing free and fair discussion in the house.

Laws governing act of Corruption in India:

The call of action against the act of bribery or corruption can be taken under:

  • Crime Branch of India (CBI)
  • The Prevention of Corruption Act and
  • Section 120B (Criminal Conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. 

From UAVs to refuellers: How Israel is helping India keep an eye on LAC

Context

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is working closely with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force to tailor solutions for their defense needs.

About

India and Israel Relations:

  • Though India officially recognized Israel in 1950, the two countries established full diplomatic ties only on 29th January 1992.
  • As of December 2020, India was among 164 United Nations (UN) member states to have diplomatic ties with Israel.

India-Israel defense Cooperation

  • The strategic cooperation between the two countries began during the Sino-India War of 1962.
  • In 1965, Israel supplied M-58 160-mm mortar ammunition to India in the war against Pakistan.
  • The defense cooperation & relationship between India & Israel has evolved over time – from being an importer of Israeli tech and equipment, Indian companies are now collaborating with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) on a variety of ventures.
  • India is the largest buyer of military equipment from Israel, which, in turn, is the second-largest defense supplier to India, after Russia.
  • At the 15th Joint Working Group (JWG 2021) meeting on Bilateral Defence Cooperation, countries agreed to form a Task Force to formulate a comprehensive Ten-Year Roadmap to identify new areas of cooperation.
    • The JWG is the apex body of the defense ministries of both countries meant to “comprehensively review and guide all aspects of Bilateral Defence Cooperation.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs):

  • Heron MK II:
    • Induction of Heron MK II, a state-of-the-art UAV that can fly at a height of 35,000 feet, covers a radius of 1000 km, see through dense clouds, work in bad weather and fly for 45 hours.
    • It’s learned that MK IIs are being deployed in Leh.
    • MK II can also be used for search and rescue operations.
  • Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Heron TPs:
    • Last year, the Indian Army had also taken on lease Heron TPs, a Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for all-weather missions, from IAI.
    • Heron TP drones are one of the two drones made in Israel that can be armed if needed.

Aircraft:

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has signed a memorandum of understanding with IAI to convert civil passenger aircraft into a multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) for air refueling with cargo and transport capabilities.
    • The MoU also covers the conversion of passenger planes into freighter aircraft.
  • Upgradation of MiG 21s: Israel has been upgrading India’s aircraft systems such as MiG 21s;
  • LCA & ALH: Israel is also cooperating with developing Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) with Indian aeronautic giants.

Missiles & ammunition:

  • New Delhi is also sourcing Firefly loitering ammunition, Spike anti-tank guided missiles, and Spice guidance kits from Tel Aviv.
  • BARAK 8:
    • Israel Aerospace Industries and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have codeveloped a medium-range surface-to-air-missile (MRSAM), named as BARAK 8 Air defense system.

UAVs manufacturing in India:

  • After Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel in 2017, the IAI signed an agreement with Elcom Systems and Dynamatic Technologies for the manufacture of UAVs in India.
  • The IAI and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have signed a joint venture whereby IAI will not only offer UAVs to India but also help HAL in manufacturing them in India.

Significance of India-Israel Defence Cooperation:

  • Patrolling and Surveillance: The Israeli imports ease the operational ability of armed forces in wartime.
    • For instance, the missile defense systems, and ammunition played a crucial role in controlling the escalation between India and Pakistan post-Balakot air strikes.
  • Make in India: The export-oriented Israeli defense industry and its openness to establishing joint ventures complement both ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make with India’ in defense.
  • Trusted Supplier: Israel has always been a ‘no-questions-asked supplier’, i.e., it transfers even its most advanced technology without placing limits on its use. Its credibility was reinforced during the Kargil War of 1999.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) engagement:

  • IAI is accompanying Indian troops on their battle readiness exercises.
  • Since the Galwan incident of 2020, IAI keeping a close watch on the Sino-Indian boundary.
  • IAI is working closely with the Indian Army and Indian Air Force to tailor solutions for their defense needs.

China's Border Disputes:

  • China has a 22,100-kilometer land border with 14 countries.
  • It has resolved the boundary disputes with 12 neighbors.
    • India and Bhutan are the two countries with which China is yet to finalize the border agreements.
  • China and Bhutan signed an MOU firming up a three-step roadmap for expediting the boundary negotiations.
  • India-China border disputes cover 3,488km along the Line of Actual Control, China-Bhutan dispute covers about 400 km.

 

Weighing on PM-GKAY Scheme

Context

The Central government had announced an extension of the Pradhan MantriGaribKalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) for another three months until December 2022.

 

About

The PMGK Anna Yojana:

  • The Pradhan MantriGaribKalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is a free food grain scheme introduced in March 2020.
  • Objective: To alleviate Covid distress.
  • The scheme as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat to supply free food grains to migrants and poor
  • Different Phases:
    • Phase-I and Phase-II of this scheme was operational from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively.
    • Phase-III of the scheme was operational from May to June, 2021.
    • Phase-IV of the scheme during July-November, 2021 and
    • Phase V from December 2021 till March, 2022.
    • Phase VI from April-September, 2022.
  • Financial implication for the Central government has been about Rs.3.45 Lakh Crore up to Phase-VI of PMGKAY.
    • The PMGKAY scheme for Phase VII from September to December 2022 would entail an estimated additional food subsidy of 44,762 Crore.
  • The total outgo in terms of food grains for PMGKAY Phase VII is likely to be about 122 LMT.
  • Benefits allocated:
    • PMGKAY beneficiaries get 5kg free ration per person per month in addition to their normal quota of food grains under the National Food Security Act.
    • Under NFSA, highly subsidised food grains are provided to about 75% rural and 50% urban population of the country.
  • Eligibility:
    • Families belonging to the Below Poverty Line - Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme.
    • AAY families are to be identified by States/UTs as per the criteria prescribed by the Central Government.
    • Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
    • All primitive tribal
    • Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector are included under the scheme.

Is it required to further extend the scheme?

According to the Studies, there is no such need to extend the scheme due to following reasons:

  • Overlap with other poverty alleviation schemes like;
    • The Public Distribution System (PDS): Under the PDS, presently the commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar and keroseneare being allocated to the States/UTs for distribution.
    • Some States/UTs also distribute additional items of mass consumption through the PDS outlets such as pulses, edible oils, iodized salt, spices, etc.
    • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY):Provide them grains at a highly subsidised rate of Rs.2 per kg for wheat and 3 per kg for rice and Re. 1 for coarse grains.
    • The chosen households are entitled to 35kg of food grains per month.
  • Can lead to Corruption:As already there are many schemes going in States and by Centre, the fund allocated for PM-GKAY may be misused and lead to corruption
  • Inadequate data representation:Due to lack of proper survey after implementation of schemes, the outdated data can lead to misguide governments’ revenue and sources.

Regulatory Bodies involved:

  • Public Food Distribution System in States
  • Ministry of health and Family welfare
  • Ministry of finance

Baliyatra: Celebrating Odisha’s ancient links with Indonesia and Southeast Asia

Context

Bali Yatra, one of the biggest trade fairs in Odisha, has been held.

About

Historical significance:

  • Bali Jatra (also known as Bali Yatra and BoitaBanda?a) literally means ‘A Voyage to Bali’.
  • This festival is held in Odisha, in the city of Cuttack at GadagadiaGhata of the Mahanadi River.
  • It is organized every year to commemorate the 2,000-year-old maritime and cultural links between ancient Kalinga (today’s Odisha) and Bali and other South and Southeast Asian regions like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Burma (Myanmar), and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
  • The festival is celebrated from the day of Kartika Purnima (full moon night in the month of Kartik) can according to the Odia Calendar, which comes around the end of October and November.
  • People of Odisha gather near the banks of Mahanadi, Brahmani River, other river banks, and ponds to float miniature toy boats, made of colored paper as a symbolic gesture of their ancestors' voyage.

The festival is similar to the ‘MasakapanKeTukad’ festival of Bali, the ‘LoiKrathong’ festival of Thailand (ritualistic floating of model boats), the ‘Bon Om Touk’ Water Festival of Cambodia, and the ‘That Luang’ Festival of Laos all of which involve around the same time of the year.

Origins of the festival:

  • It begins on Kartik Purnima (full moon night in the month of Kartik) and can be traced back more than 1,000 years.
  • According to historians, popular items of trade between Kalinga and Southeast Asia included pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, silk, camphor, gold, and jewellery.
  • The Bay of Bengal region had several ports, and sadhavas (traders) traditionally began their voyage across the sea on this auspicious day, when the winds were favourable for the boats, known as boita, to sail.
  • Even today, people across Odisha sail decorative miniature boats made of banana stems, paper, or thermocol to celebrate boita bandana, or the worshipping of the boats.

Commercial Significance:

  • It is a time when people purchase everything from automobiles and electronic devices to local artisanal products at prices that are comparatively low.
  • Numerous communities of weavers and dyers became active throughout the state, perfecting techniques like the weaving of fine muslin, Ikat, Sambalpuri, and bomkai silks and cotton, applique, and embroidery.
  • The district administration allots stalls to traders through an auction, and the fair is estimated to see business worth more than Rs 100 crore over its nine days.

Odisha province:

  • It is known as Kalinga in ancient timesand was commanded by a very high position in the maritime activities of India in the past.
  • The heroic and ever-agile merchants of the ancient Kalinga kingdom were making daring voyages to different far-off lands of the world.
  • Odisha’s glorious maritime past has been proven from the excavated materials like Roman coins, Kushan coins, and Chinese ceramic sherds found in different parts of Odisha.

Odisha and Bali connection:

  • Odisha played a significant role in the evolution of Hindu culture in Bali.
  • A section of Brahmanas in the Karangasem district of Bali styled themselves as Brahmana - Bouddha – Kalinga.
  • It seems very likely that their ancestors were immigrants from Kalinga.
    • Some words and usages concerning vocabulary, crafts, religious practices, forms of worship, food habits, and manners prevalent in Bali areOdia in origin.
  • There are linguistic parallels between Odisha and the island of Bali.
  • Both the Balinese and the Odias' food habits seem to have some common likes and dislikes.

     

    SHORT ARTICLES

    History

    Death anniversary of Uda Devi

    • November 16 marks the death anniversary of Uda Devi, the Dalit freedom fighter
    • Uda Devi was a freedom fighter from the Pasi community.
    • She managed to mobilise people — specially Dalit women — to take up arms against the British.
    • Born in Ujirao, Lucknow, she was part of the royal guard of Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh.
    • Her husband, MakkaPasi, worked as a foot soldier in the army of Awadh’sNawab, Wajid Ali Shah.
      • Amid the revolt of 1857, on June 10, at Chinhat near Ismailganj, a battle was fought between the army of Lucknow and the British troops led by Henry Lawrence, in which MakkaPasi lost his life.
      • The death of her husband spurred Uda Devi on to take up a more active role in the mutiny.
    • On November 16, 1857, Uda Devi was among the soldiers who clashed with the British regiment stationed near the Gomti River. 

    Important dalit freedom fighter (women):Kuyili  (Commander-in-Chief to VeluNachiyar), Jhalkaribai, Helen Lepcha alias Sabitri Devi, Rani Gaidinliu (Rani of the Nagas), Putalimaya Devi Poddar.

    International Relations

    The Moscow format

    • India joined the latest meeting of the ‘Moscow format consultations on Afghanistan’ held in the Russian capital.
    • The Moscow format is one of the several dialogue platforms on Afghanistan.
    • It began before the Taliban takeover of Kabul, consists of Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and India.

    Science & Technology

    Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme

    • Apollo Hospitals announced the launch of an Antimicrobial Stewardship Programme (ASP) at a national level.
    • The programme will sensitise care providers on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
      • o   AMR is an issue leading to a public health problem that is one of humanity’s top ten global public health threats today.
      • o   AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites mutate over time and are no longer affected by medicine against them.

    Environment

    Smugglers trafficking rhino horns with impunity: report

    • The seizure of rhino horns by weight has increased.
      • Lucrative: In the black market, rhino horn prices can fetch up to $400,000 per kg for Asian rhino horns and $20,000 per kg for African rhino horns.
    • There are five species and 11 subspecies of rhino. 
      • White, Black, Indian, Javan, and Sumatranmake up the five species of rhino in the world. 
    • The Indian rhino is the largest of the rhino species.
    • It is identified by a single black horn and a grey-brown hide with skin folds.
    • Protection Status
      • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
      • CITES: Appendix I
      • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • White and black rhinoceros are native to Africa.
    • Indian, Javan and Sumatran can be found in India and Asia.

    Conservation status of the four species 

    • Javan Rhinos (Rhinoceros sondaicus): Critically Endangered 
    • Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinussumatrensis): Critically Endangered 
    • Black rhinos (Dicerosbicornis): Critically Endangered 
    • White rhinos (Ceratotheriumsimum): Near Threatened 

    International Relations

    Indo-US Military Exercise “YudhAbhyas 2022”

    • India and the US began the 18th edition of their joint training exercise “YudhAbhyas 2022” on in Uttarakhand’sAuli.
    • Exercise YudhAbhyas is conducted annually between India and USA.
    • Aim: To exchange best practices, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures between the Armies of the two nations.

Editorial

Opaque political financing could cost democracy dear

Context:

The design of electoral bonds leans to the advantage of the ruling party. It makes important that independent institutions check the shortcomings of electoral bonds.

Role of Political Financing:

  • Institutional: Lack of transparency in electoral bonds renders the power of the Election Commission of India (ECI) irrelevant in terms of ensuring a level-playing field.
  • Organizational:It determines whether the power is drawn from organizational structures or exercised in a personalistic manner.
  • Ideological:The ideological basis of political competition tends to become severely corroded when there is a narrow concentration of economic capital.
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ThinkQ

Mains Question:

Q. India and Israel have developed an all-round defence and security partnership, with increasing focus on joint development and production. Comment

Approach:

 The question is analytical in nature.

  • Introduce the status of India- Israel relations with historical background.
  • Discuss the various dimensions of relations
    • Diplomatic Ties, Economic and Commercial Relations
    • Cooperation in Agriculture, Science & Technology, Trade
    • Defence
  • Describe the impact of atmanirbharbharat on the relations between two.
  • Point out certain issues in the India-Israel relationship.
  • Way forward

Question Mapping

  • Subject: International Relations (GS-II)
    • Sub-topic: Bilateral Relations
  • P2P contact
  • Bigger trade volumes
  • Striking balance
  • Conclude with an optimistic note on the India-Israel relationship.
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