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2nd March 2023

Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar


Recently, Aurangabad has rechristened Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar in view to break the Mughal Legacy and promote the Kings from India highlighting their brave deeds.

History of Aurangabad:

  • The city, originally known as Khadki, was founded by Malik Ambar (Anbar) in 1610.
  • After the fall of the Nizam Shahi dynasty in 1633, the city came under the Mughal rule.
  • It was later renamed Aurangabad after it became the headquarters of Aurangzeb during his viceroyalty over the Deccan.
  • Aurangabad remained the headquarters of the independent Nizams (rulers), but it declined when the capital was moved to Hyderabad in Hyderabad princely state.
  • With the dissolution of the princely state in 1948, Aurangabad was included in Hyderabad state in the newly independent India.
  • It later became part of Bombay state (1956–60) before that state was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The Location:

  • Aurangabad lies in the state of Maharashtra.
  • Aurangabad District is located mainly in the Godavari Basin and its some part towards North West of Tapi River Basin.
  • This District's general down level is towards the South and East and North West part comes in the Purna-Godavari river basin.

Highlights of the City:

  • Aurangabad is known for its artistic silk fabrics, particularly shawls.
  • The seat of Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University (1958), is a prominent educational centre, and several branch colleges are located there.
  • The city is also a popular tourist destination, mainly the result of its proximity to the Ellora and Ajanta cave temples, both of which were designated UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1983.

Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj:

  • Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj is a Maratha warrior king who was the son of the iconic ruler Shivaji Maharaj
  • The Maratha kingdom had been raised from scratch, built brick by brick by the sons of the Indian soil who wished to overthrow the powers that swore allegiance to descendants of Turkish, Persian and Mongol aggressors.
  • Sambhaji Maharaj ruled for a short span of 9-10 years before his death at the hands of Aurangzeb but the Maratha subjects never forgot his sacrifice.
  • Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj was the eldest son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj - the great Maratha warrior king.
  • Shivaji Maharaj belonged to the Bhonsle clan and was born on 19th February 1627.
  • Shivaji Maharaj built the Hindawi Swaraj - the Self-rule of Indians as against that of the Mughals who identified themselves as descendants from Tamerlane of Mongolia and also of Turcik - Central Asian (Chagtai) bloodline.

Aurangzeb and links to the city:

  • Aurangzeb was the third son of the emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
  • He grew up as a serious-minded and devout youth, wedded to the Muslim orthodoxy of the day and free from the royal Mughal traits of sensuality and drunkenness.
  • From 1636 Aurangzeb held a number of important appointments, in all of which he distinguished himself.
  • He commanded troops against the Uzbeks and the Persians with distinction (1646–47) and, as viceroy of the Deccan provinces in two terms (1636–44, 1654–58), reduced the two Muslim Deccan kingdoms to near-subjection.
  • Aurangzeb’s reign falls into two almost equal parts. In the first, which lasted until about 1680, he was a capable Muslim monarch of a mixed Hindu-Muslim empire and as such was generally disliked for his ruthlessness but feared and respected for his vigour and skill.
  • During this period he was much occupied with safeguarding the northwest from Persians and Central Asian Turks and less so with the Maratha chief Shivaji, who twice plundered the great port of Surat (1664, 1670).
  • Aurangzeb applied his great-grandfather Akbar’s recipe for conquest: defeat one’s enemies, reconcile them, and place them in imperial service.
  • Thus, Shivaji was defeated, called to Agra for reconciliation (1666), and given an imperial rank.
  • The plan broke down, however; Shivaji fled to the Deccan and died, in 1680, as the ruler of an independent Maratha kingdom.
  • After about 1680, Aurangzeb’s reign underwent a change in both attitude and policy.
  • The pious ruler of an Islamic state replaced the seasoned statesman of a mixed kingdom; Hindus became subordinates, not colleagues, and the Marathas, like the southern Muslim kingdoms, were marked for annexation rather than containment.
  • The first overt sign of change was the reimposition of the jizya, or poll tax, on non-Muslims in 1679 (a tax that had been abolished by Akbar).
  • This in turn was followed by a Rajput revolt in 1680–81, supported by Aurangzeb’s third son, Akbar. Hindus still served the empire, but no longer with enthusiasm.
  • The Deccan kingdoms of Bijapur and Golconda were conquered in 1686–87, but the insecurity that followed precipitated a long-incipient economic crisis, which in turn was deepened by warfare with the Marathas.

Bibi ka maqbara:

  • The Bibi Ka Maqbara is a tomb located in Aurangabad.
  • It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's grandson and Aurangzeb’s son Muhammad Azam Shah in memory of his beloved mother 'Rabia-ul-Daurani' alias 'Dilras Bano Begum’.
  • Situated about 3 km from the city is Bibi Ka Maqbara, the burial place of Aurangzeb's wife.
  • It is an imitation of the Taj at Agra, and, due to its similar design, it is popularly known as the Mini Taj of the Deccan.

Whip in Parliament


Members of a house are bound by the ‘whip’ and must follow the whip as observed by the Supreme Court.

What is a Whip?

  • In parliamentary jargon, a whip is a written directive requiring party members to be present for crucial votes or to vote a certain way only.
  • The phrase comes from the traditional British method of "whipping in" legislators to toe the party line.
  • To issue whips, parties designate a senior member from among their Parliamentary delegations. This member is called a chief whip, and he/ she is assisted by additional whips.
  • In India, all parties can issue whips to their members.

Role of a whip:

  • They try to ensure that their fellow political party legislators attend voting sessions and vote according to their party’s official policy.

Limitations of the whip:

  • There are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to vote in a particular fashion.

Violations of whips:

  • The consequence for ignoring a whip differs depending on the nation. In the UK, an MP who disobeys the whip can be expelled from the party but still retain their House seat as an Independent.
  • In the case of India, The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/ Chairperson to disqualify such a member who has gone against the whip.
    • The sole exception is when a directive is opposed by more than a third of lawmakers, essentially dividing the party.

Fugitive economic offenders


India has called upon G20 countries to adopt multilateral action for faster extradition of ‘fugitive economic offenders’.

  • India has urged for action against fugitive offenders during the first Anti-corruption working group meeting held in Gurugram.
  • Economic offences have been a problem faced by many, especially when the offenders flee from the jurisdiction of the country.
  • India has put in place specialised legislation in this regard, in the form of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, of 2018.

Who are ‘fugitive economic offenders’ (FEO)?

  • FEO is defined as an individual against whom a warrant of arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India and the value of the offence is at least Rs. 100 crore.
  • The offender has left the country so as to avoid criminal prosecution and refuses to return to face criminal prosecution.

Fugitive economic offenders act, 2018

  • About: It aims to seize the property of economic offenders who have fled the nation to avoid being prosecuted or who refuse to come back to face charges.
  • Declaration of FEO: A special court (established under the PMLA, 2002) may designate someone as a fugitive economic offender after hearing the application.
    • It has the authority to seize any property, whether it is located in India or outside, including Benami properties and proceeds of crime.
    • Upon confiscation, the central government will become the sole owner of the property and have all rights and titles (such as any charges on the property).
  • Bar on Filing or Defending Civil Claims: The Act allows any civil court or tribunal to prohibit a declared fugitive economic offender from filing or defending any civil claim.

About G20:

  • The Group of Twenty, or G20, is an intergovernmental organization made up of the European Union (EU) and 19 other nations.
  • The late 1990s financial crisis, which mostly affected East Asia and Southeast Asia, served as the backdrop for the formation of the G20 in 1999.
  • Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the EU.
  • Together, the G20 countries include:
    • 60 per cent of the world’s population,
    • 80 per cent of global GDP, and
    • 75 per cent of global trade.
  • The G20's presidency is rotated annually among its members. The G20 "Troika" is made up of the current G20 President, and the outgoing and incoming presidents and they work to maintain the agenda.
  • Objectives:
    • Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, and sustainable growth;
    • To promote financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; and
    • To create a new international financial architecture.

Forest covers data


In view to conserve India’s forest cover, the agencies are trying to record detailed data for forests.

The data collection:

  • India is one of the few countries to have a scientific system of periodic forest cover assessment that provides “valuable inputs for planning, policy formulation and evidence-based decision-making”.

The Forest Survey of India (FSI) has been mapping India's forest cover since the early 1980s, though it only began publishing its biennial Status of Forest reports in 1987.

  • Since 19.53% in the early 1980s, India’s forest cover has increased to 21.71% in 2021.
  • Adding to this a notional 2.91% tree cover estimated in 2021, the country’s total green cover now stands at 24.62%, on paper

Types of Forests in India:

The Forest Survey of India (FSI) classifies forest cover into 4 classes:

  • Very Dense Forest: All lands with tree cover (including mangrove cover) of canopy density of 70% and above.
  • Moderately dense forest: All lands with tree cover (including mangrove cover) of canopy density between 40% and 70%.
  • Open forests: All lands with tree cover (including mangrove cover) of canopy density between 10% and 40%.
  • Scrubs: All forest lands with poor tree growth mainly of small or stunted trees having a canopy density of less than 10%.

Indian Forest Act of 1878 classifies Forests into Reserved, Protected, and Village Forests:

  • Reserved forests:
    • They constitute more than half of the total forest area of India.
    • It has a certain degree of protection.
    • They are protected by the respective state governments unlike wildlife sanctuaries and national parks which are supervised by the Government of India.
    • Rights to activities like collecting timber or grazing cattle or hunting and public entry are banned in these forests.
  • Protected forests: They are of two types- Demarcated and undemarcated.
    • They have a limited amount of protection.
    • These are looked after by the government but certain activities like hunting, grazing, or timber collecting are allowed to people who live on the boundaries of forests and are partially or wholly dependent on the forest resources for livelihood, provided they don’t cause severe damage to the forests.
  • Village forests:
    • They are protected and managed by village communities which are assigned by the state governments.
    • The local communities may use it for timber or other forest produce, pasture, recreation, plantation, and so on under prescribed conditions by state governments.

As per the Conference of Parties (CoP) 9-Kyoto Protocol, the forest can be defined by any country depending upon the capacities and capabilities of the country. The three criteria based on which the forests are defined comprise, crown cover percentage, the minimum area of the stand, and the minimum height of trees.

  • Forest is defined structurally on the basis of:
    • Crown cover percentage: Tree crown cover- 10 to 30% (India 10%)
    • The minimum area of stand: the area between 0.05 and 1 hectare (India 1.0 hectare) and
    • Minimum height of trees: Potential to reach a minimum height at maturity in situ of 2 to 5 m (India 2m).
  •  India’s definition of the forest has been taken on the basis of the above three criteria only and is accepted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for their reporting/communications.

Key highlights of the survey:

  • In India, regardless of land use or ownership, any areas of one hectare or more with a minimum 10% tree canopy density are considered to have forest cover.
    • This disregards the standard set by the United Nations, which excludes forest areas that are primarily used for agriculture and habitation.
  • Registered Forest Area is the term used to denote an area that has been declared as forest in India's revenue records or under forest law. Recorded Forest Areas, which are divided into Reserved, Protected, and Unclassified woods, make up 23.58% of India.
  • Since 19.53% in the early 1980s, India’s forest cover has increased to 71% in 2021. Adding to this a notional 2.91% tree cover estimated in 2021, the country’s total green cover now stands at 24.62%, on paper.
  • Even after the forest department has planted a lot since the 1990s, the total area of dense forests in Registered Forest Areas in 2021 was only 9.96% of India.

Technology used:

  • Satellite images are used for mapping forests in India.
  • LiDAR-based forest survey:
  • It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges & variable distances.
  • LiDAR follows a simple principle — throw laser light at an object on the earth's surface and calculate the time it takes to return to the LiDAR source.
  • Applications: Lidar is commonly used to make high-resolution maps, with applications in surveying, geodesy, geomatics, archaeology, geography, geology, geomorphology, seismology, forestry, atmospheric physics, laser guidance, airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM), laser altimetry.

Constitutional Powers of NCST


Amidst the conflict between the new Forest Conservation Rules (2022) diluting the old Forest Rights Act, of 2006, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) has now secured FRA implementation reports of all States and Union Territories by invoking its Constitutional powers to directly approach the Supreme Court of India.

  • The NCST had written to the Environment Ministry in September 2022, asking that they be put on hold on Forest conservation rules of 2022, because it will invariably violate provisions of the FRA, which ensures that ownership of forest land remains with tribes people and other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD), who live off the forest and its resources.
  • Amidst this, the ST Commission wrote to the Supreme Court Registrar, invoking powers under Clause 8d of Article 338A, to seek all materials filed before the court in connection with a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of the FRA.

What does Section 338A say?

According to Article 338 A, there shall be a Commission (National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes) for the Scheduled Tribes to be known as the National Commission for the Scheduled Tribes. It shall be the duty of the Commission to:

  • Investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Tribes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
  • Inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the Scheduled Tribes;
  • Participate and advise on the planning process of socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes and evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
  • Present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
  • Make in such reports recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled Tribes; and
  • Discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.

The Forest Conservation Rules, 2022:

  • These rules, “streamline” the process of approvals.
  • The rules make a provision for private parties to cultivate plantations and sell them as land to companies who need to meet compensatory forestation targets.
  • It will help India increase forest cover.
  • It will also solve the problems of the States of not finding land within their jurisdiction for compensatory purposes.
  • The concerned update sought to limit the necessity for consent from the gram Sabha. Accordingly, the States will ensure the “settlement” of Forest Rights Acts applicable.

How will the new rules affect tribal rights?

  • Missing elements of tribals and forest-dwelling communities: The updated Forest Conservation Rules don’t talk about the tribals and forest-dwelling communities whose land would be hived off for developmental work.
  • The new rules allow the Union government to permit the clearing of a forest for a project before prior consent of the forest dwellers, as mandated under the 2006 Act.
  • Earlier the state bodies would forward documents to the FAC that would also include information on the status of whether the forest rights of locals in the area were settled.
  • Earlier such proposals would not be entertained by the FAC unless there was approval from the State specifying that the forest rights in the place had been “settled” and the Gram Sabha, or the governing body in villages in the area, had given their written consent to the diversion of the forest.
  • The new rules will dilute the Forest Right Act, of 2006.
    • It will disempower forest tribals and may displace them: The update will limit the necessity for consent from the gram Sabha. Many forestry experts say it may imply that the consent of the resident tribals and forest dwellers may not remain a deciding factor.

Short News Article

Polity and Governance

Most internet shutdowns

India has had the most internet shutdowns for five years in a row now, recording almost half of all shutdowns globally in 2022, found a report by a non-profit looking into digital civil rights.

Details of the report:

  • Title: ” Weapons Of Control, Shields Of Impunity — Internet Shutdowns“
  • India saw 84 shutdowns out of the total 187 worldwide.
  • Ukraine saw the second-highest number of shutdowns, with 22 imposed by external forces during armed conflict in the country and Yemen.
  • Iran remained at third position with 18 shutdowns.

Findings for India:

  • Authorities disrupted internet access at least 49 times in Jammu and Kashmir due to political instability and violence.
  • This included a string of 16 back-to-back orders for three-day-long curfew-style shutdowns in January and February 2022.

Laws in India:

  • The proposed Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, has empowered central and state governments with unrestricted powers to impose shutdowns when “necessary and expedient,” signals the government’s intention to continue down this troublesome path, violating fundamental rights of expression and assembly and providing opportunities to cover up human rights abuses.
  • In Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India, the SC had laid down procedural safeguards to be followed by the government before resorting to internet shutdowns.

Polity and Governance

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has suspended the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a Delhi-based think tank, for 180 days.

Role of FCRA:

  • FCRA registration is mandatory to receive foreign funds.
  • The suspension means that the association will not be able to receive any fresh foreign donations or utilise the existing foreign donations without the Ministry’s clearance.
  • Broadly, the FCRA requires every person or NGO wishing to receive foreign donations to be registered under the Act, to open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in State Bank of India, Delhi, and to utilise those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act.

Centre for Policy research (CPR):

  • Founded in 1973, the CPR, according to its website, is a non-profit, non-partisan, independent institution.
  • It is dedicated to conduct research that contributes to high quality scholarship, better policies, and a more robust public discourse about the issues that impact life in India.
  • CPR works with government departments, autonomous institutions, charitable organisations and universities in India and across the globe.
  • The institution’s work is globally recognised for its academic and policy excellence.


India’s first air-cooled condenser

NTPC has commissioned India’s first air-cooled condenser at North Karanpura super critical thermal plant in Jharkhand.

What is an Air cool condenser:

  • An air cooled condenser (ACC) is a direct dry cooling system where steam is condensed inside air-cooled finned tubes.
  • The cool ambient air flow outside the finned tubes is what removes heat and defines the functionality of an ACC.
  • In air-cooled condensers, condenser heat is rejected directly to the ambient air.
  • The obvious advantage of air-cooled condensers relative to water-cooled condensers is that cooling water is not needed.


  • This project has been envisaged with Air Cooled Condenser (ACC) which has almost 1/3rd water footprint as compared to a conventional Water Cooled Condenser (WCC).
  • NTPC will further imbibe the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) for water conservation and management while carrying out its core business activity of power generation.

National Thermal Power corporation (NTPC):

  • NTPC Limited, formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, is an Indian central public sector undertaking under the ownership of the Ministry of Power, Government of India which is engaged in generation of electricity and allied activities.
  • NTPC is currently meeting 24 per cent of country’s demand through coal, gas, hydro, solar and wind plants.


Searing changes


  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has recently mentioned that February 2023, had been the warmest since 1901 with the average maximum temperature at nearly 54°C.


Abnormal temperatures:

  • The usual temperature range: While February is considered to be a ‘spring’ and a ‘winter month’ by the IMD and usually posts temperatures in the low 20s.
  • The recorded highs: Average maximum temperatures were 1.73°C above normal and minimum, 0.81°C above what is usual.
  • Approaching summers: Heatwaves during March-May are likely to spread over most parts of India, except for the north-east, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and coastal Karnataka.
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