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24th May 2023

The Telangana- Andhra Pradesh water dispute

  • Even nine years after the bifurcation of the combined State, the lingering disagreement over the Krishna River’s water distribution between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana remains unsolved.

Key Highlights:

Origin of the Krishna water dispute:

  • The dispute dates back to the formation of Andhra Pradesh in November, 1956.
  • Four senior leaders from different regions of Andhra, including the Rayalaseema Region and the Telangana region, signed a Gentlemen’s Agreement on February 20, 1956.
  • However, the focus of the combined dispensation with respect to irrigation facilities was on Andhra, which already had systems developed by the British at the cost of in-basin drought-prone areas in Telangana.
  • KWDT-I: In 1969, the Bachawat Tribunal (KWDT-I) was constituted to settle the dispute around water share among the riparian States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
    • The Tribunal allocated 811 tmcft dependable water to Andhra Pradesh and the Andhra Pradesh government later apportioned it in the 512:299 tmcft ratio between Andhra and Telangana.
  • However, this was not followed through, leading to discontent among the people.
  • Telangana had repeatedly reiterated how it had been meted out with injustice in Andhra Pradesh when it came to the matter of distributing water resources.

Water sharing after the bifurcation:

  • The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 had no mention of water shares.
  • At a meeting convened by the then Ministry of Water Resources in 2015, the two States agreed to share water in the 34:66 (Telangana:A.P.) ratio.
  • However, the KRMB continued the same ratio year after year in spite of Telangana's opposition.
  • In October 2020, Telangana raised its voice for an equal share and refused to continue the existing arrangement. The river Board has referred the matter to the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS).

States claim:

  • Telangana has been asking the Centre to finalise water shares, citing treaties and agreements.
  • It is entitled for at least a 70% share in the allocation of 811 tmcft, while Andhra Pradesh has been diverting 300 tmcft water to areas outside the basin.
  • Andhra Pradesh is also claiming a higher share of water to protect command areas.

Stand of the Centre

  • The Centre has convened two meetings of the Apex Council of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in 2016 and 2020 without making any attempt to resolve the issue.
  • Telangana has withdrawn its petition in the Supreme Court, but the Centre has been sitting over the issue for over two years.

Govt’s power to promulgate, repromulgate Ordinances — why and how

  • Recently, the central government promulgated an Ordinance that Aam Aadmi Party government of Delhi has control over the transfer and posting of officials in the National Capital Territory (NCT), except with regard to public order, police, and land.

Key highlights:

  • The Ordinance promulgated by the President of India gave the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi power over services and established a "National Capital Civil Service Authority" consisting of the Chief Minister and two senior IAS officials.

Ordinance in Constitution

  • Article 123: Under Article 123 of the Constitution (“Power of President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament”), “if at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require.”
  • Ordinance: An Ordinance “shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament”. But the government is required to bring an Ordinance before Parliament for ratification - and failure to do so will lead to its lapsing “at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of Parliament”.
    • The Ordinance may lapse earlier if the President withdraws it - or if both Houses pass resolutions disapproving it.
      • Lost majority: Rejection of an Ordinance would, however, imply the government has lost majority.
      • Also, if an Ordinance makes a law that Parliament is not competent to enact under the Constitution, it shall be considered void.
  • Power of President: Since the President acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers, it is in effect the government that decides to bring the Ordinance.
    • The President may return the recommendation of the Cabinet once if she feels it warrants reconsideration; if it is sent back (with or without reconsideration), she has to promulgate it.
  • Powers of the Governor: Article 213 deals with the broadly analogous powers of the Governor to promulgate/ withdraw an Ordinance when the state legislature is not in session.
  • Validity: An Ordinance is valid for six weeks, or 42 days, from the date on which the next session starts.
    • If the two Houses start their sessions on different dates, the later date will be considered, say the explanations in Articles 123 and 213.

Supreme Court: Re-promulgation of Ordinance

  • Krishna Kumar Singh and Another v. State of Bihar: If, for whatever reason, an Ordinance lapses, the only option for the government is to reissue or repromulgate it.
    • In 2017, the Supreme Court examined a case where the state of Bihar re-promulgated an Ordinance several times without placing it before the legislature.
  • The Supreme Court held that the Governor's power to issue an Ordinance is an emergency power, and that repeated re-promulgations without bringing the Ordinance to the legislature would usurp the legislatures function and be unconstitutional.
  • This was in violation of the SC judgment in Dr D C Wadhwa and Ors v. State of Bihar and Ors (1986).
  • A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court headed by then CJI P N Bhagwati held that an Ordinance promulgated by the Governor to meet an emergent situation shall cease to be in operation at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of the Legislature.
  • If the government wishes for the Ordinance to continue in force beyond the six-week period, it “has to go before the Legislature”, which is the constitutional authority entrusted with law-making functions.

The US debt ceiling: The history, crisis, and potential fallout

  • Recently, the White House and Republicans in Congress are in a standoff over US government borrowings.

Key highlights:

  • The US government made the decision following Treasury Secretary Warnings of an "unprecedented economic and financial storm" and yet another meeting with Republican counterparts to reach an agreement on the US debt ceiling.
  • Without lifting the debt ceiling, the US government will default on its obligations, a historic first with potentially disastrous implications.
  • Furloughs would be issued to federal employees, worldwide stock markets would plummet, and the US economy would very certainly enter a recession.

What is the debt ceiling?

  • The debt ceiling is the limit on the amount of money the US government can borrow to pay for services, such as social security, Medicare and the military.
  • The deficit left at the end of the year is tacked on to the country’s total debt.
  • Congress is in charge of setting the debt limit, which currently stands at $31.4tn.
  • The ceiling has been raised 78 times since 1960, under both Democrat and Republican presidents.
  • At times, the ceiling was briefly suspended and then reinstated at a higher limit, a retroactive raising of the debt ceiling.

What happens if the US defaults?

  • The US has never defaulted on its payments before, so what will happen is unclear.
  • Investors would lose faith in the US dollar, job cuts would be imminent, and the US federal government would not have the means to continue all its services.
  • Mortgage rates would likely soar, tanking the housing market.

Why is the US debt so high?

  • The US debt grows when the government is spending more money or when its revenue is lower.

  • The US has had a debt problem since the 80s, when Ronald Reagan's tax cuts caused it to grow.
  • In the early 2000s, the dotcom bubble burst, George W Bush cut taxes, and in the 2008 Great Recession, the government had to bail out banks and increase social services.
  • In 2017, Donald Trump passed a major tax cut, raising the debt by $7.8tn.
  • And then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The US government passed a series of stimulus bills to offset the worst of the pandemic’s impacts that ultimately totaled $5tn.

What are the main contributors to federal government spending?

  • US government spending is dominated by mandatory programs such as social security, Medicaid and Medicare, with military spending taking up 12% of the budget.
  • Other big-ticket items include education, employment training and benefits for veterans.

Why isn’t Congress raising the debt ceiling?

  • Republicans passed a bill in April that would raise the debt ceiling by $1.5tn and mandate $4.8tn in spending cuts over a decade.
  • Democrats have refused to negotiate spending cuts over the debt ceiling, but Republicans are using the high-stakes timeline towards default to pressure Democrats into agreeing to spending cuts. This stalemate could bring the US economy closer to disaster.

EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism

  • Recently, the co-legislators at the European Commission signed the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).

Key Highlights:

  • The regulation will put a fair price on carbon emitted during the production of carbon intensive goods entering the EU and encourage cleaner industrial production in non-EU countries.
  • Importers will start paying the financial levy from 2026.

About: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM)

  • The European Green Deal is a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 55% by 2030 and become a climate neutral continent by 2050.
  • It aims to avert 'carbon leakage', where EU manufacturers move carbon-intensive production to countries outside the region with less stringent climate policies.
  • Importers in the EU would have to buy carbon certificates corresponding to the payable carbon price of the import had the product been produced in the continent.
  • The Commission would be responsible for reviewing and verifying declarations and managing the central platform for the sale of CBAM certificates.
  • Importers would have to annually declare the quantity and embedded emissions in the goods imported into the region in the preceding year.


  • The CBAM would be introduced in parallel with the phasing out of the allocation of free allowances given out under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).
  • The ETS had set a cap on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that can be released from industrial installations in certain sectors, but some allowances were given out for free to prevent carbon leakage.
  • The EU concluded that this dampened the incentive to invest in greener production, so an import-based tariff was proposed.

Why are countries worried?

  • CBAM would initially apply to imports of certain goods and precursors whose production is carbon-intensive and at risk of 'leakage'.
  • Eventually, it would capture more than half of the emissions in ETS covered sectors.
  • India, Brazil and South Africa would be most affected, while Mozambique would be the least-developing country.
  • India's exports in the five segments represented less than 2% of the total exports to the EU between 2019 and 2021, but its long-term effects can be severe due to the EU being India's third largest trade partner and its projected growth trajectories.
  • The two sides have agreed to intensify their engagement on carbon border measures.

Short News Article

Environment: Biodiversity

Jwala: A cheetah’s cub


The latest fatality took the toll of cheetahs in Kuno National Park to four in the last two months, including three felines translocated from African countries.

Key highlights:

  • One more cheetahs, this time a cub, has died at the Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The two-month-old cub was one of four born to the cheetah, Jwala, who was among the set of eight animals imported from Namibia.
  • The likely cause of death was from weakness.
  • Survival Rate of Cheetah: Literature and experience from Africa suggests that cheetah cubs, in the wild, have a survival rate of 10%, and roughly the same fraction make it to adulthood, the government’s press release noted.
  • This is the fourth cheetah to have died in India since 20 of the animals were relocated from Namibia and South Africa respectively to KNP, in an experiment at establishing a community of cheetahs, the only large cat to have gone extinct from India.

Environment: Pollution

Recycled Plastic

Recently, Greenpeace has warned that recycling plastic might make it more harmful and should not be considered a solution to the pollution challenge ahead of the latest round of international plastics treaty discussions.

Key highlights of the Greenpeace Report:

  • The global environmental network has warned that recycled plastics are more toxic than virgin constituents and that breaking down plastics for recycling scatters microplastic pollution into the environment.
  • Representatives from 173 countries have agreed to develop a legally binding treaty covering the "full lifecycle" of plastics from production to disposal.
  • Greenpeace USA's global plastics campaign suggests that the only solution to ending plastic pollution is to reduce plastic production.
  • Greenpeace's report shows that only a tiny proportion (9%) of plastics are recycled, and those that are contain higher concentrations of toxic chemicals.\
  • Waste plastics earmarked for recycling are typically exported from high-income countries to poorer parts of the world.
  • Dr Therese Karlsson, a science adviser with the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), warns that plastic recycling is a toxic endeavour with threats to health and the environment.
  • Plastic production is forecast to triple by 2060, and any global plastics treaty must achieve significant reductions in production.

Economy: Health Insurance

Bima Sugam


The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) is pushing to implement two high tech projects - Health Claims Exchange and Bima Sugam, to deepen insurance penetration and simplify the claim procedures.

Key highlights:

  • IRDAI is setting up the Health Exchange platform, which will digitize and simplify the process of filing health insurance claims.
  • It will reduce the cost per claim to the insurer and enable automatic fund transfer of the claim amount.
  • The proposed exchange will help insurers to have a unified platform for claims and policyholders’ medical history, reducing the number of insurance frauds.
  • NHA has invited contributors and developers from the open community to test, contribute and become a participant in the Health Claims Exchange ecosystem.
  • Bima Sugam is a revolutionary step with ambitions of becoming the largest online market for insurance products and services.
  • The overall budget for Bima Sugam has been hiked to Rs 200 crore.


Justice that also makes space for the animal world


There are rising debates around the Jallikattu issue since the long time.

The Jallikattu Case

  • Animal Welfare Board of India vs Union of India: In this case, the validity of a Tamil Nadu law permitting the practice of jallikattu was put to challenge. However, the judgement falls short on delivering a robust jurisprudence for the future.
  • Nagaraja Case: Court stated that bulls could never be performing animals, that they were anatomically ill-suited for competition, and were effectively being forced into participating in a practice that caused them unnecessary pain and suffering. 
  • Amendments: To overcome the judgment, the Government of Tamil Nadu, in 2017, introduced a series of amendments to the 1960 Union law. Through these changes, the State ensured that jallikattu was altogether exempted from the protections that the statute offered.

A dissatisfactory and contradictory response

  • Judicial adventurism: It would, Court says, be an act of judicial adventurism to confer rights on animals that have otherwise been bestowed on human beings. 
  • Anvil of reasonableness: the Court then claims that the amending law can still be tested on an anvil of reasonableness that is contained in Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • Fundamental right: On a reading of the Constitution, the view that animals are not persons and therefore do not enjoy fundamental rights is not implausible. Thus it should be extended to the animals

Make it Intrinsic

  • Animal welfare: what we can do is to see how best to mend our conception of rights to partake basic requirements of animal welfare as intrinsic to our constitutional arrangement.
  • Respecting animal rights: Our own right to lead a meaningful life includes within it a right to live in a society that respects and treats animals with equal concern, to live in a world free of animal cruelty.
  • Collective obligation: we must see it as our collective obligation to extend our commitment to justice not only to human beings but to animals too.
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