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25th April 2023

India launches Operation Kaveri to evacuate citizens stranded in Sudan


India launched 'Operation Kaveri' to return its people from Sudan, which has been witnessing fierce fighting as a result of a power struggle between the regular army and a paramilitary team. 

The name game

  • This mission is named on the same lines as that the PM chose to name the operation in Ukraine Operation Ganga.
  • Rivers reach their destination irrespective of barriers. It's like a mother who will ensure she will bring her children back to safety.

Kaveri river

  • The Kaveri is one of the major Indian rivers flowing through the southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • The river is sacred to the people of the region and is worshipped as the Goddess Kaveriamma (mother Kaveri).

Major evacuation operations

  • Operation Ganga: In a mission to evacuate stranded Indians from war-torn Ukraine, the Indian government kicked off Operation Ganga in February 2022
  • Operation Devi Shakti: An evacuation operation by the Indian Armed Forces (IAF) was kicked off in August 2021 to safely bring back Indian nationals from Afghanistan after the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul, the capital city of the Taliban.
  • Vande Bharat Mission: Special flights were operated across to globe in this mission to bring back the nationals who were left stranded in foreign countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Wuhan Airlift: In one of the most difficult evacuation flights, India airlifted its citizens safe from China’s coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in January 2020.
  • Operation Maitri: The government of India carried out this mission to safely bring the nationals from Nepal after the deadly earthquake in 2015.
  • Operation Raahat: Hundreds of Indians and other nationals were rescued under this operation during the unrest at Yemen's capital Sana’a after the complete takeover by Houthi rebel fighters in January 2015
  • Operation Amnesty Airlift: The mission was carried out in September 1996 to bring back the Indian nationals who did not have valid permits from the United Arab Emirates. 
  • Kuwait Airlift: In one of the most massive operations in Indian history, the Indian Air Force joined hands with Air India in airlifting stranded Indian nationals in Kuwait in August 1990. 

Bangladesh spells out Indo-Pacific priorities


Bangladesh has decided to work with all stakeholders for peacekeeping, peace-building and counter-terrorism initiatives in the region.


  • The announcement on Dhaka’s Indo-Pacific priorities was made for the first time in a document titled “Bangladesher Indo-Pacific Ruprekha” (Indo-Pacific outlook).
  • Bangladesh will aim for “inclusive development by strengthening free, transparent and rules-based international order.
  • Along with the stakeholders concerned with the Indo-Pacific region, Bangladesh plans to make meaningful contributions to international disarmament, peacekeeping, peacebuilding and counter-terror programmes and uphold international values.
  • This announcement is the first time that Bangladesh has spelt out its clear goals on the Indo-Pacific region and has adopted several conceptual parameters that are part of the thinking championed by India, the U.S., Japan and Australia. 
  • The document also announced that Bangladesh will uphold the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which establishes the rights and responsibilities of the UN member states while using the oceans of the world.

Why does Bangladesh assume significance?

  • Bangladesh’s geographic location in the centre of the Indo-Pacific as well as its close proximity to the Bay of Bengal’s important maritime corridor gives it a distinct competitive edge.
  • As Bangladesh is a significant player in the Indo-Pacific region since its participation both in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), geostrategic location, regional integration, social and economic Development has made it important to Indo-Pacific region.

What is the message behind it?

  • The use of terms like “Indo-Pacific” as opposed to “Asia-Pacific” which are favoured by Beijing and Moscow indicates Bangladesh is trying to send a message to the leading Western powers in the Indo-Pacific region.

What is Indo-Pacific Strategy?

  • Indo-Pacific Strategy is a geographical approach; that seeks to strengthen regional stability as well as economic development and security (both traditional and non-traditional) and partnerships through participation and cooperation within the Indo-Pacific region. 
  • The United States first took the initiative; introduced in November 2017, after which other countries including Japan, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and ASEAN have followed the same suit.

How do different countries map the region?

  • South Korea: It starts from the African coast of the Indian Ocean and stretches all the way to South America.
  • Japan: For Japan, starts from the eastern coast of Africa and expands to North America.
  • US: For the US, it stretches from its Pacific coastline to South Asia. Australia's strategic emphasis is from the northeastern side of the Indian Ocean to the Southwest Pacific.
  • France: France's focus is on its overseas territories in this region.

Major policy frameworks

  • The US introduced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
  • Japan has its Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt initiative (BIG-B).

Governors should clear bills as soon as possible: SC


The Supreme Court observed that bills sent to the governor for assent must be returned "as soon as possible" and not sit over them, making state Legislative Assemblies wait indefinitely.


  • Citing proviso 1 of Article 200 of the Constitution, the bench said the expression ‘as soon as possible’ has significant constitutional intent and must be borne in mind by constitutional authorities.
  • According to Article 200, "Assent to Bills when a Bill has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of a State or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, has been passed by both Houses of the Legislature of the State, it shall be presented to the Governor and the Governor shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he withholds assent therefrom or that he reserves the Bill for the consideration of the President."
  • The governor is an important constitutional figure in India, serving as the representative of the President of India in each state and union territory.

Article 200 of the Constitution of India

  • Article 200 of the Constitution provides that after a Bill has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of a state, the same shall be presented to the governor for his assent.
  • The governor may either declare that he assents to the Bill or may withhold his assent or reserve it for consideration by the President.

‘Vibrant Villages Programme’ launched


Centre’s ambitious Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) which aims to develop infrastructure and open up villages to tourists along the China border will be integrated with the Prime Minister Gati Shakti mega project.

What is the ‘Vibrant Villages Programme’? 

  • The Vibrant Village Program aims to-
    • raise the standard of living of the residents in the border communities
    • encouraging them residents to remain there, reversing migration from villages
    • enhancing border security
  • Focus area: As per the programme, the focus areas would be improving road connectivity, providing drinking water, electricity, mobile and internet connectivity, building tourist centres, multi-purpose centres, healthcare infrastructure, and wellness centres.
  • Coverage: The programme aims to cover 2,967 villages in 46 border blocks of 19 districts in four States and one Union Territory - Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Ladakh along the China border.
    • Out of these, 662 villages will be prioritised for coverage.
  • Fund allocation: The scheme has been allocated Rs 4,800 crores for the financial years 2023-24, 2024-25 and 2025-26. The amount allocated for road construction is Rs 2,500 crore.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs

PM Gati Shakti:

  • The Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti National Master Plan is a central government project, aimed to revolutionise infrastructure in India. 
  • The digital platform of Gati Shakti brings 16 Ministries including Railways and Roadways together for integrated planning and coordinated implementation of infrastructure connectivity projects and allows government departments to break operational silos.

Why Kibithu is significant?

  • Kibithoo, located in Arunachal Pradesh, is the first village to be part of the Centre’s Vibrant Villages programme.
  • Kibithu in Anjaw districts in the easternmost administrative circle in India.
  • Housing dozens of villages within the 10 km range of the McMohan line, the villagers are fluent in Hindi because of their regular interaction with the security forces but do not have proper connectivity with the mainland.
  • Concerns:
    • Depopulation is a case of concern in the border villages in all areas of India.
    • Backwardness, illiteracy, and lack of basic facilities and infrastructure are also concerning.

India’s Response to China

  • The VVP is India’s response to the 628 models ‘xiaokang’ (moderately well-off) villages built by China along the LAC in China-occupied Tibet (CoT).
  • China started building these villages, which have a dual civilian-military use, in 2017 and completed them in 2021 at a whopping cost of Rs 3.76 lakh crore.
  • These villages are close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), opposite Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Claim game

  • Beijing claims about 90,000 sq km of areas in Arunachal Pradesh of India to be a part of the territory of China.
  • The Chinese call Arunachal Pradesh “Zangnan” or south Tibet. 
  • While China may stake claim to the entire state, one area is of particular significance to Beijing — Tawang.
    • Tawang houses Tawang Ganden Namgyal Lhatse or Tawang Monastery – the second-largest monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. China cites historical ties between the Tawang monastery and Tibet’s Lhasa monastery to bolster its claims over Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Arunachal Pradesh shares international borders with Tibet to the north, and northwest, Bhutan towards the west and Myanmar to the east. 


Supreme Court celebrates 50 years of ‘basic structure doctrine’


April 24th marks the 50th anniversary of the Kesavananda Bharati judgment which expounded the basic structure doctrine. It is the most celebrated constitutional case of the country.

Who was Kesvananda Bharti?

  • He was a monk from Adi Shankaracharya’s tradition born in 1940.
  • Kesavananda Bharati took sanyas at the age of 19and headed to the Edneer Mutt, a Hindu monastery in Kasargod, Kerala.
  • In 1961, still only 21, he was appointed as the head of the Mutt, a position he held till his death in 2020.

The Edneer Mutt is believed to have been established by Totakacharya, one of four original disciples of Adi Shankaracharya (credited to have synthesised the non-dualistic philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.)

  • He fought against the Kerala government’s land reformsand aims when he took the Kerala government to court in February 1970.
  • Rather, he was challenging the 1969 Land Reforms enacted by the communist C. Achuta Menon government which had affected his Mutt. Under the reforms, Edneer Mutt lost a large chunk of its property, which contributed to its financial woes.
  • Filing a writ petition in the Supreme Court, Kesavananda Bharati argued, that this action violated his fundamental rights – in particular, his fundamental right to religion (Article 25), freedom of religious denomination (Article 26), and right to property (Article 31).

What does the Basic Structure mean?

  • The Constitution of India defines its 'basic structure' in terms of federalism, secularism, fundamental rights and democracy.
  • The Constitution of India provides for 'judicial review' to safeguard the citizens' liberties and to preserve the ideals on which the Constitution is based.

Evolution of Kesvananda Bharti case:

  • Parliament's authority to amend the Constitution, particularly the chapter on the fundamental rights of citizens, was challenged as early as 1951.
  • After independence, several laws were enacted in the states with the aim of reforming land ownership and tenancy structures.
  • This was in keeping with the implementation of the socialistic goals of the Constitution [contained in Article 39(b) and (c) of the Directive Principles of State Policy] that required equitable distribution of resources of production among all citizens and prevention of concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.
  • Parliament added the Ninth Scheduleto the Constitution through the very first amendment in 1951 as a means of immunising certain laws against judicial review.
  • Under the provisions of Article 31, which themselves were amended several times later, laws placed in the Ninth Schedule -- pertaining to the acquisition of private property and compensation payable for such acquisition -- cannot be challenged in a court of law on the ground that they violated the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • The Ninth Schedule was created with the primary objective of preventing the judiciary- which upheld the citizens' right to property on several occasions - from derailing the Congress party-led government's agenda for a social revolution.

Article 13 (2) provides for the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizen.

  • Parliament and the state legislatures are clearly prohibited from making laws that may take away or abridge the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizen.
  • They argued that any amendment to the Constitution had the status of the law as understood by Article 13 (2).

What does the case exactly say?

  • Constituent power is superior to ordinary legislative power:
    • Unlike the British Parliament which is a sovereign body(in the absence of a written constitution), the powers and functions of the Indian Parliament and State legislatures are subject to limitations laid down in the Constitution.
    • The Constitution does not contain all the laws that govern the country. Parliament and the state legislatures make laws from time to time on various subjects, within their respective jurisdictions.
    • The general framework for making these laws is provided by the Constitution.
    • Parliament alone is given the power to make changesto this framework under Article 368.
    • Unlike ordinary laws, amendments to constitutional provisions require a special majority vote in Parliament.
  • The difference betweenParliament's constituent power and law-making powers:
    • According to Article 21 ofthe Constitution, no person in the country may be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.
    • Parliament and the state legislatures make the necessary laws identifying offensive activities for which a person may be imprisoned or sentenced to death.
    • Changes to these laws may be incorporated by a simple majority vote in the concerned state legislature.
    • There is no need to amend the Constitution in order to incorporate changes to these laws.
    • However, if there is a demand to convert Article 21into the fundamental right to life by abolishing the death penalty, the Constitution may have to be suitably amended by Parliament using its constituent power.
  • Declared that Parliament's constituent power was subject to inherent limitations:
    • The Parliament could not use its amending powers under Article 368to 'damage', 'emasculate', 'destroy', 'abrogate', 'change' or 'alter' the 'basic structure' or framework of the Constitution.

Short News Article

Polity & Governance

Malaria is all set to become a notifiable disease

Malaria is all set to become a notifiable disease across India, with Bihar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Meghalaya too in the process of putting this vector-borne disease in the category. 

  • Currently malaria is a notifiable disease in 33 States and Union Territories in India.
  • Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by parasites (plasmodium vivax, plasmodium falciparum, plasmodium malariae and plasmodium ovale) that are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • This is part of India's vision to be malaria-free by 2027 and to eliminate the disease by 2030.

“India was the only high-burden, high-impact country in the South- East Asia region to report a decline in malaria cases in 2020 as compared to 2019. India witnessed 85.1% decline in malaria cases and 83.36% decline in deaths during 2015-2022.”

Polity & Governance

India's First Water Metro

India's first water metro has been unveiled in Kochi, Kerala.

  • It connects 10 islands around Kochi through battery-operated electric hybrid boats for seamless connectivity with the city.
  • The train will cover 11 districts namely Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod.

Science & Technology

UAE’s Hope probe uncovers secrets of Deimos

The UAE’s Hope probe has revealed striking details of Mars’s tiny moon Deimos, helping to indicate that the celestial body may not actually be a captured asteroid as previously thought.

Key-highlights of the finding

  • The spacecraft flew as close as 100km to the moon’s surface, capturing data of its composition that challenges a long-standing theory that Mars’ moons are captured asteroids — space rocks trapped in a planet’s orbit.
  • Findings point to a planetary origin, meaning that the rock may have come from Mars itself.

What is Hope?

  • The Hope Mars Mission, also called the Emirates Mars Mission, is the first uncrewed, interplanetary satellite spearheaded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • In fact, the Hope satellite is the first planetary science mission led by an Arab-Islamic country.
  • The Hope spacecraft was launched to space in July 2020 and entered the orbit of Mars in February 2021.
  • Since then, it has been sending back crucial data on the planet's upper atmospheric conditions and space weather.


The many benefits of marriage equality


Last week, the Supreme Court started hearing petitions from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) petitioners seeking same-sex marriage equality.

Why same sex marriages should be recognised

  • Denying benefits: Excluding LGBTQ+ persons from marriage excludes us from full benefits of participating in family and community life.
  • Denial of Dignified life: It excludes us from acceptance in society. This denies them dignified life to life. Thus, they are compelled to live under the degraded life.
  • Denied policies: policies specific for LGBTQ have been challenging to implement with insurance companies as same-sex partners are not legally recognised as spouses.

Benefits of recognizing same sex marriage

  • Tangible benefits: Tangible benefits include the ability to open joint bank accounts, jointly buy or rent a property, jointly own and share financial assets, be recognised as a relative under the Indian Income Tax Act, and inherit a spouse’s assets if one partner dies.
  • Intangible benefits: It includes gaining legitimacy, respect and affection from society and being able to participate fully in all family events. 
  • Acceptance to society: Being allowed to marry will enable sense of belonging and will help to gain the acceptance that they are seeking in society.
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