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25th May 2023

Historic ‘Sengol’ to be installed in new Parliament building


The current Indian Prime Minister plans to install the 'Sengol,' a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu, in the new Parliament building.

Key Highlights:

  • The ‘Sengol’ was received by Independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, from Lord Mountbatten to symbolically represent the transfer of power from the British and was later kept in a museum in Allahabad.

When C. Rajagopalachari suggested a Chola-era ceremony

  • Symbolise the transfer of power from British to Indian hands: Nehru then consulted C. Rajagopalachari, also known as Rajaji, who went on to become India's final Viceroy.
  • Rajaji identified the Chola paradigm, in which power was transferred from one monarch to another after it was sanctified and blessed by a high ruler.
  • The'sengol' or sceptre was passed from one monarch to his successor as a symbol.
  • Vummidi Bangaru Chetty, a well-known goldsmith in the Madras Presidency, created a golden sceptre.
  • Vummidi Ethirajulu (96) and Vummidi Sudhakar (88), the sengol's creators, live in Chennai.

The ‘handing over’ ceremony that happened on Independence Day eve

  • On August 14, 1947, Jawaharlal Nehru received the Sengol from the Adheenams of the Thiruvaduthurai Adheenam (Mutt) in Tamil Nadu.
  • The ceremony was conducted as per Tamil traditions and the sengol was handed over to Nehru at his house.
  • The incident was recently recalled in a policy note prepared by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Board, Government of Tamil Nadu.
  • The transfer of power is not merely a handshake or signing of a document, but must remain connected with local traditions.
  • All 20 Adheenams invited for new Parliament building inauguration: The historic plan has been prepared in consultation with the presidents of Adheenam, with all 20 presidents present.
    • Vummidi Bangaru Chetty ji, associated with its creation, will also participate in the ceremony.
    • Sri La Sri Ambalavana Desika Paramacharya Swamigal will hand over the sceptre to Mr. PM on the day of the inauguration of the new Parliament building.

Independence of district judiciary


According to the Supreme Court, the judiciary must have a vote in financial affairs because it is independent of the executive and the legislative.

Key Highlights:

  • District Judiciary: The Supreme Court has held that the independence of district judiciary is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and judicial independence from the executive and the legislature requires the judiciary to have a say in matters of finances.
  • Supreme Court judgment: The independence of the district judiciary must be a part of the Constitution, as it is the most accessible court to litigants.
    • The judgment gave directions to amend service rules and pay arrears of pension, additional pension, gratuity and other retiral benefits, based on the recommendations of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission headed by Justice P.V. Reddi and senior advocate R. Basant.

Crucial role of District judiciary

  • The judgment recorded the importance of the district judiciary in the justice administration system, noting that it handled nearly 11.3 lakh cases on a single day.
  • Justice Narasimha held that the district judiciary was a vital part of the independent judicial system, which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • Inherent power: He highlighted the doctrine that the judiciary must possess the inherent power to compel payment of those sums of money necessary to carry out its mandated responsibilities and its powers and duties to administer justice.
  • Separation of powers: This doctrine is the logical conclusion of separation of powers and ensures that the independence of the judiciary is secured.

RBI: GDP growth may cross 7% in 2022-23


According to the Reserve Bank of India, India's GDP growth in 2022-23 could easily exceed the 7% target.

Key Highlights:

  • India's GDP growth in 2022-23 may exceed the 7% estimate, with retail inflation likely to go below 4.7% and gross non-performing assets likely to dip further.
  • The RBI's growth expectation of 6.5% is based on agriculture, monsoon, and services sector, but geopolitical risks remain a risk.

Investment revival

  • The governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said at the annual session of the Confederation of Indian Industry about a private investment revival in steel and cement sectors.
  • Capacity utilization: The capacity utilisation in manufacturing is higher than the 75% level last estimated by the RBI, and credit offtake from banks is growing at 15.5%.
  • Inflation has moderated to 4.7% in the last print, but there is no room for complacency.
  • The Ukraine war had a major impact on prices across the board.

Evolving situation

  • The monetary policy review could see another pause in rate hikes, depending on the situation on the ground.
  • The Bank of New Zealand and Canada have both raised interest rates, and the fourth quarter results suggest that gross non-performing assets are even lower than December 31, 2022.

Why making agri commodity value chains sustainable is a tough task


India has been a hub for the global spice, tea, and coffee trade for centuries, and its scale and diversity has grown significantly over the last three decades, increasing the share of high-value agricultural commodities in the agricultural sector.

Key highlights:

  • The rise of sustainability initiatives in commodity value chains has acknowledged the environmental degradation caused by carbon emissions and injudicious use of water and chemicals.
  • There are now reliable estimates of emissions per unit of production for several commodities.

What is an agri commodity of global significance?

  • Agriculture commodities are often defined based on their orientation towards international demand and supply in the form of exports.
  • India, as a major consumer and producer, needs to expand this understanding to include commodities that are actively imported, produce for domestic and international markets, and get significant attention within the policy and action spaces.
  • Interventions in the production, trade and consumption of these commodities are likely to drive transformational impacts on environmental sustainability across the sector.

What are the challenges to sustainability?

  • Organic coffee beans being processed at Naandi Foundation in Araku, Visakhapatnam, November 19, 2018.
  • Against this background, ensuring that an agricultural commodity value chain is environmentally sustainable is a multi-dimensional challenge.
  • Four dimensions in particular vex efforts to mitigate its environmental impact while benefiting farmers, processors, retailers, etc.

Nature of production:

  • Firstly, Market and producer characteristics determine where responsible and effective practices can be implemented to have the greatest impact. For export-oriented commodities, export policies or consumer preferences can determine emissions.
    • For smallholders, effective and low-cost certification can improve practices throughout the value chain, mitigating environmental impact and delivering price premiums.
    • Coordinated policy action is needed to raise the floor to a minimum set of production, sourcing, and retailing standards.
  • Secondly, the nature of production determines the type of intervention. Regional efforts have led to climate, biodiversity, and livelihood benefits while helping preserve our ecological heritage.
    • For example, the introduction of biodiversity-friendly coffee in Karnataka has mitigated human-animal conflicts and the public attention on millets has helped widen demand across Indian and international consumers.
  • Third, Strong governance mechanisms and policies can help transform commodity value chains by providing subsidies, market access, and infrastructural support to improve production, sourcing, and consumption.
  • Fourth, the success of any environmental sustainability initiative hinges on getting actors like those who are most marginalised on board and providing them with adequate safety nets.
    • These safety nets could take the form of rewarding compliance, committing to support farm-level flexibility, and evolving robust insurance mechanisms.
    • These four dimensions make mitigating environmental impacts in agricultural commodity value chains difficult to achieve in practice, but they also present opportunities.
    • If concerted and coordinated action is combined with the right kind of support systems while keeping equity and justice in mind, agricultural commodity value chains can deliver for India’s people and its environment.

Copyright infringement and AI


Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Andy Warhol versus Goldsmith et al. has added uncertainty to the process of exempting from copyright infringement liabilities, which could have implications for artificial intelligence regulation.

Key Highlights:

  • Rights for Artists: Copyright law protects the work of diverse artists and provides exclusive rights for artists.
  • However, these rights are balanced with the rights of users of the work, such as other artists.
  • Different jurisdictions follow different approaches to exceptions, with the U.S. following an open-ended approach and India following a hybrid model.

To what extent does copyright law protect artists?

  • Copyright law protects the work of artists, including photographers, and provides exclusive rights over their creative output.
  • However, these rights are balanced with the rights of users, such as other artists, through various exceptions.

What is exempt from infringement liability?

  • The U.S. courts primarily consider four factors when determining whether a particular use can be considered to be an instance of fair use: the purpose and character of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion taken by the defendant, and the effect of the use on the potential market of the plaintiff’s work.
  • This open-ended approach provides S. copyright law with flexibility and strength, but has a major limitation: it is hard to predict ex ante whether an activity will be exempted from liabilities.

What is the AWF case?

  • Lynn Goldsmith's 1981 photo of Prince was licensed to Vanity Fair magazine for use as an artist reference in 1984.
  • Andy Warhol created a silkscreen portrait of Prince using Goldsmith's photo and 13 screen prints and two pencil sketches.
  • Condé Nast published an orange silkscreen portrait instead, paying $10,000 to the Andy Warhol Foundation and nothing to Ms. Goldsmith.

How does this affect generative AI?

  • The court's ruling could have implications for generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT4, MidJourney, and Stable Diffusion, which use text, photos, and videos strewn around the internet.
  • The majority's reliance on the commercial nature of the use may result in deviation from the established view of fair use.

What about the implications on Indian copyright law?

  • The U.S. Supreme Court's decision could have a persuasive effect on Indian copyright law, as it exempts fair dealing with copyrighted work for specific purposes.
  • India also has a long list of enumerated exceptions, but only time will tell which one will be more persuasive.

India set to triple speed of its fastest supercomputers


According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), India is set to dramatically scale up its super-computing prowess and install an 18-petaflop system over the course of this year.

Key highlights:

  • The most important details are that India's most powerful supercomputers, Pratyush and Mihir, with a combined capacity of 8 petaflops, are housed at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
  • These supercomputers were made operational in 2018 at an investment of 438 crore and will be housed at the IITM and NCMRWF.

Imported from France

  • The Government of India has signed a deal with France to procure high-performance computers worth 4,500 crore by 2025.
  • The new earth-sciences Ministry computers are likely to cost 900 crore and will improve resolution to 6*6 km, meaning four times as many pixels can be used to represent a given area.
  • The fastest high-performance computing system in the world is currently the Frontier-Cray system at Oakridge National Laboratory, with a peak speed of 1 exa-flop.
  • The top 10 other systems range from 400 petaflops to 60 petaflops.

Short News Article

Polity & Governance (GS-II)

Changathi Project:


Recently, Migrant workers write the Changathi literacy examination in Malayalam conducted by the Literacy Mission in Thrissur district.


  • The Changathi project was introduced by the Kerala Literacy Mission to teach migrant labourers to read and write Malayalam and Hindi.
  • Kolazhy panchayat was selected for the project and classes were arranged at the shelters of workers after their working time.
  • Instructors were proficient in Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam.
  • There were no women among the 92 migrant labourers who attended the examination.
  • The examination was conducted based on ‘Hamari Malayalam’, a textbook specially prepared by the literacy mission for the purpose.
  • The study material was prepared keeping in mind the working conditions of migrant workers.
  • The pattern of the questions included filling the gaps, choosing the right words, and reading Malayalam words.

Science & Technology

Open Radio Access Network (ORAN)

Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) test bed project was recently launched for conformance, certification and interoperability testing of O-RAN based solutions in New Delhi.


  • An Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) is a nonproprietary version of the Radio Access Network (RAN) system that allows interoperation between cellular network equipment provided by different vendors.
  • In the traditional set-up, Radio Access Network is provided as an integrated platform of both hardware and software.
  • Therefore, it is difficult to mix vendors for the radio and baseband unit, and in most cases, they come from the same supplier.
  • The idea of Open RAN is to change this, and enable operators to mix and match components. 
  • It goes a step further by opening the interfaces inside the base station. The Open RAN architecture allows for the separation - or disaggregation - between hardware and software with open interfaces.


Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve (ONPTR)

A full grown rhino died in Orang National Park and Tiger Reserve (ONPTR).


  • Orang National park is the oldest game reserve of the State just on the northern bank of river Brahmaputra with an area of 78.80 sq. kms and it is an important breeding ground for varieties of Fishes.
  • It is located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River in the Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam, India. It was established as a sanctuary in 1985 and declared a National Park on 13 April 1999. It is also known as the mini Kaziranga National Park (IUCN site) since the two parks have a similar landscape made up of marshes, streams and grasslands and are inhabited by the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros. The park has a rich flora and fauna, including Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros, pigmy hog, elephants, wild buffalo and tigers. It is the only stronghold of rhinoceros on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river.


Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary


The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and the Assam government to respond to a plea seeking directions to declare the area around Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary an eco-sensitive zone and remove all encroachments.


  • Located in the sub-urbs of the capital city of Guwahati, it is considered a success story in terms of conservation and protection of the land of the Rhino.
  • Pobitora is mainly famous for its great Indian One-horned rhinoceros.
  • Besides rhinoceros, the other animals are leopard, wild boar, Barking deer, wild buffalo etc. Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to more than 2000 migratory birds and various reptiles.
  • It is also an Important Bird Area. 


A middle kingdom dawns on India’s west


The 32nd Arab League Summit held in Jeddah was unique in multiple ways. The summit readmitted Syria and heard the Ukrainian President, a special invitee.

The Saudi Angle

  • Normalized relations with Iran: Saudi has normalized relations with the Iran and ended the 45 year old hostility and geo-religious rivalry. This has reduced the friction among their respective proxies like Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
  • Arab World Leadership: Saudi prince has carved out the central path to give leadership to the Arab world, which is facing the leadership vacuum. The main contender of Arab leadership, i.e. Egypt, is facing economic crisis.
  • Diplomatic autonomy: Saudi has normalized the relations with the Iran through the Chinese mediation. Such action was carried out without the U.S.A. consent. Thus, the Saudi has asserted the diplomatic autonomy.

Riyadh’s Challenges

  • Foreign Policy: Foreign pOlicy of the Saudi Arabia has seen several unsteady movements since the Jamal Khashoggi episode in 2018 . Thus greater maturity and consistency is required by the Saudi Arabia.
  • Irreversible actions: Various initiatives towards regional reconciliation have not yet become irreversible and could still unravel.
  • Ties with other players: Saudi Arabia ties with UAE and Qatar are friction prone and could exacerbate.

India’s stakes

  • Aligning strategy: India should realign her strategy with the changing geo-political shift and carefully watch the developments carefully.
  • Improve relations: India enjoy cordial relations with the Saudi but they are still below par. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be re-invited for the India visit postponed last year
  • Synergize relationship: At many levels, India should coordinate the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council, take advantage of complementary energy sources, and cooperate more closely to secure the region.
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