What's New :

6th January 2023

India’s Defence Minister Review Defence Infra of A&N Islands With Eye On China


India’s Defence Minister reviewed operational readiness and infrastructure development in the country's only integrated military command at the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, which can act as a pivot to counter China's expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) over the next two days.

Why Andaman & Nicobar Islands are important?

  • Strategic location: This is a strategically located 572-island archipelago.

Mapping the region

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a Union Territory (UT) of India that consists of 572 islands and islets, located at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
  • Geographically, this UT is situated in the east of the Indian mainland.

  • The region can act as a pivot to counter China's expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • Strong Surveillance: The ANI are home to India’s only integrated tri-service command of the armed forces—the Andaman and Nicobar Command for maritime surveillance and enhancing India’s strategic presence in the eastern Indian Ocean as it merges into the Pacific.
  • Threatening China’s choke points: The archipelago provides India with critical military surveillance, interdiction and operational turnaround capabilities to threaten China’s ‘choke points’ in the region.
  • Fulfilling Government’s vision: The A&N Command carried forward the Government’s Act East Policy and in realising Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) by building ‘Bridges of Friendship’ with the country’s maritime neighbours.

Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC)

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) is the first integrated theatre command in India with headquarters at Port Blair.
  • It operates directly under the COSC.
  • Inception in: 2001

What has been hampering the developments over the years?

  • Internecine turf wars among the three Services
  • General politico-bureaucratic apathy
  • Funding constraints
  • Major environmental concerns

SC order in Haldwani case


The Supreme Court stayed a Uttarakhand High Court order for eviction of around 50,000 people who have illegally encroached upon the railway land in Haldwani.

What is the issue?

  • Thousands of families are facing eviction from the railway land in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura area after the Uttarakhand High Court ordered the removal of encroachments. 
  • The eviction notices were served to families living on Railway land in Haldwani, who have reportedly been residing in unauthorized colonies for the last decade.
  • While the residents of the premises claim that the land has belonged to them for nearly a decade, the Railways told the court that none of the encroachers could present documents proving that it was their property. 

Points made by the Supreme Court

  • There can't be the uprooting of 50,000 people overnight. There has to be segregation of people who have no right on the land and the need to rehabilitate while considering the interests of the railways.
  • In this case, the human angle is involved, thus, there has to be rehabilitation.
  • The Bench, however, clarified that it had only stayed the eviction order passed by the high court and not the proceedings initiated under the Public Property Act.

What is the nature of land ownership in India?

  • In India, land ownership is primarily established through a registered sale deed (a record of the property transaction between the buyer and seller).
  • Other documents used to establish ownership include the record of rights (document with details of the property), property tax receipts, and survey documents. 
  • However, these documents are not a government-guaranteed title to the property, but only a record of the transfer of property. 
  • During such transactions, the onus of checking past ownership records of a property is on the buyer. 

Therefore, land ownership in India, as determined by such sale deeds, is presumptive in nature, and subject to challenge.

Uttarakhand’s Joshimath town is ‘sinking’


Joshimath, the ancient Uttarakhand town has become a cause of concern. Though the town of Joshimath has been witnessing cracks emerging for the past two decades, things have escalated over the past few days.

How citizens are reacting?

  • Citizens are in an uproar, cracks have appeared in homes, families have been evacuated, hotels shuttered and the ropeway service halted.

The location

  • Located at a height of 6,000 feet in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, the town on the route to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib falls in high-risk seismic ‘Zone-V’.
  • It is located on the top of Main Central Thrust (MCT) line. 
  • The geography of entire state of Uttarakhand is fragile. And, Joshimath in particular is situated on old land deposits.
  • So, there is always a risk of landslide in Joshimath. Due to this, every year, people of Joshimath notice cracks in their buildings and fields.
  • The Jyotirmath Hindu monastery, one of the most important sites in Hinduism, is here.
  • It also has nearby one of the closest military stations to the border with China.

Main Central Thrust (MCT) line 

  • In simplest terms, the MCT is a crack or geological fault in Himalayas.
  • It is formed due to the collusion of Indo-Australian plate and Eurasian plate.
  • The area underneath the MCT is particularly very fragile due to frequent tectonic activities.
  • And, therefore, seismic activities are very common in MCT areas.
  • The MCT extends for over 2200 km across the Himalayas in northwest-southeast direction. Joshimath is located above the MCT.

Who is responsible?

The crisis in Joshimath is both natural and man made

  • Ground subsidence — a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the earth’s surface due to removal or displacement of subsurface materials — has induced structural defects and damage observed in almost all wards of Joshimath.
  • Tunnelling and slope cutting
  • Tapovan-Vishnugad hydro projectand ongoing construction of Helang bypass are considered to be one of the main reasons for subsidence.

The Mishra Committee report of 1976 as saying that “Joshimath lies on an ancient landslide” and that heavy construction work ought to be barred.

Suggestive measures

  • Further construction in the area should be made only after examining the stability of the site, and restrictions should be placed on the excavation on slopes.
  • No boulders should be removed either by digging or blasting and no tree should be cut in the landslide zone.

Facebook fined €390 mn for breaching EU privacy law


Facebook’s parent company Meta has been slapped with two sets of fines totalling €390 million as the Irish privacy regulator concluded that the company’s advertising and data handling practices were in breach of the EU’s overarching privacy law.

What is the issue?

  • The EU authorities had concluded that the legal permission that Meta sought from users to collect their data for personalised advertising as part of its lengthy terms-of-service agreement essentially forced them to accept personalised ads, in violation of the GDPR.
  • The Meta was not entitled to simply rely on contracts as a legal basis for processing user data for targeted advertisements.
  • European Data Protection Board is the body that oversees regulatory action on data privacy across the 27-nation bloc.
  • EU’ GDPR places strict requirements on firms with regard to the processing of people’s information.

Why did the ruling come from the Irish regulator?

  • As per the GDPR, cross-border cases are to be handled by the data protection authority in the country where the company is based, with the result that the Irish DPC is the lead regulatory authority for Meta and a number of other US tech majors that have their headquarters in Ireland.

Why is the ruling significant?

  • The outcome of the case buttresses the overarching theme of the EU’s landmark legislation:
    • the right of the individual over her data
    • the need for a person to give explicit consent before their data can be processed

Decades-Long Unresolved Row Over The Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal


The stand-off between Haryana and Punjab continues to haunt the proposed Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) as the chief ministers of the two states failed to reach an amicable solution at a meeting hosted by the Union Jal Shakti ministry.

What is Sutlej-Yamuna Link?

  • The Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) is a proposed 211-kilometre canal.
  • It would connect the Sutlej River in Punjab with the Yamuna River in Haryana, providing Haryana with a share of the water from the Ravi and Beas rivers that flow through Punjab.


  • The SYL canal project was proposed following the Indus Water Treaty in 1960 between India and Pakistan, which granted India 'free and unrestricted use' of the Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers.
  • The canal was also intended to address the dry conditions in the present-day Punjab-Haryana region.
  • The Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal was planned in 1966 when Haryana was separated from Punjab.
  • In 1976, the Government of India approved the construction of the canal.

What are the developments so far?

  • While a 121 km stretch of the canal was to be built in Punjab, another 90 km was to be constructed in Haryana.
  • Haryana completed its portion of the project by June 1980, but work on the portion in Punjab, which was launched by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, near the Kapoori village in Patiala district, was stalled.

What Is The Controversy Around SYL?

  • The issue of water rights and allocation of water from the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers.
  • The potential impact on the environment and local communities (water levels and flows of both rivers, potentially leading to water shortages and environmental degradation)
  • The potential impact on local farmers and communities (displacement of people and loss of agricultural land)

Short New Article

Polity & Governance

Centre declares TRF terrorist organisation

The Resistance Front (TRF), a proxy of the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was declared a banned organisation.


  • The group came into existence in 2019 as a proxy of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was involved in numerous terror acts, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
  • ‘Terrorist Organisation’ are banned under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Government measures to curb terrorism

  • Constitution of a Countering Financing of Terrorism Cell (CFT Cell) in the Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Constitution of a Terror Funding and Fake Currency Cell in the National Investigation Agency
  • India organised the third ‘No Money For Terror’ Ministerial Conference in New Delhi.


Science & Technology


World’s first vaccine for honeybees gets conditional nod in US

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for a vaccine for honeybees to curb American foulbrood (AFB), a fatal bacterial disease for the insect.


  • AFB is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae.
  • Infected broods usually die at the pre-pupal or pupal stage. 
  • The disease cannot be cured, meaning that the destruction of infected colonies and hives or irradiation of infected material is the only way to manage AFB. 

The vaccine

  • Dalan Animal Health's vaccine for honeybees contains killed whole-cell Paenibacillus larvae bacteria
  • The vaccine technology exposes queen bees to inactive (ie, “dead”) bacteria, which enables the larvae hatched in the hive to resist infection.
  • The vaccine is mixed in queen candy — the primary food source for both the queen bees and the attendant bees living in cages. 



Endangered Asian elephant has lost most of its optimal habitat in Nilgiri Reserve: Study

As per a recent study, the endangered Asian Elephant has lost most of its “optimal” habitat: flat terrain that is easily negotiable in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR).

The Habitat

  • The Western Ghats is an escarpment running north–south along the western coastline of India, interrupted towards the south by the low-lying Palghat Gap that separates the northern from the southern elephant populations.
  • The northern part of the WG includes the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and its surrounding protected areas.
  • The Palghat Gap is a break in the Ghats that is relatively flat and consequently easily negotiable by elephants.
    • However, human settlements and crop cultivation have hindered the movement of the elephants, keeping them confined to the hilly areas.


A Green Promise


The Union Cabinet approved a ?19,744 crore National Green Hydrogen mission that aims to make India a ‘global hub’ for using, producing and exporting green hydrogen.

What is green hydrogen?

  • Produced through electrolysis- Green hydrogen is when hydrogen is produced via electrolysis, the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity generated from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind.
  • Environmental Friendly-This is the most environmentally sustainable way of producing hydrogen.
  • Usage- Hydrogen is a key industrial fuel that has a variety of applications including the production of ammonia (a key fertilizer), steel, refineries and electricity.

What is the National Green Hydrogen Mission?

  • Objective- The intent of the mission is to incentivize the commercial production of green hydrogen and make India a net exporter of the fuel.
  • Target- The mission has laid out a target to develop green hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum.
  • Outcome- This will entail the decarbonisation of the industrial, mobility and energy sectors; reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock; developing indigenous manufacturing capabilities; creating employment opportunities; and developing new technologies such as efficient fuel cells.
You must be logged in to get greater insights.


QUIZ - 6th January 2023

Mains Question:

Question: “The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has become a new arena for India and China with more strategic games played by both the countries.” In light of this statement, analyze the strategic importance of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to counter Chinese influence in the IOR region. (150 words)

Question Mapping

  • Subject: International Relations (GS-II)
    • Sub-topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
  • Introduction with the strategic importance of Indian Ocean Region for India.
  • Also in short discuss the increasing Chinese influence in the IOR and counter strategies made by India which has converted IOR into an arena.
  • Analyze the strategic importance of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the strategic defense capabilities developed to counter Chinese influence in IOR by India.
  • Conclude with the importance of India in IOR and why it is important to maintain India’s stronghold in IOR Geopolitics.

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now