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Current Affairs 04 July 2023


  1. Legality of the Delhi Ordinance
  2. Deep Sea Mining
  3. Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS)
  4. Panchayat Development Index
  5. Pangong Tso
  6. Diversity for Restoration (D4R) tool
  7. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

Legality of the Delhi Ordinance


The Ordinance promulgated by the President on May 19, 2023 amending the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act 1991(GNCTD Act) took away the services from the jurisdiction of the Delhi government.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Power to Promulgate Ordinance
  2. Validity of the Ordinance
  3. Overriding the Chief Minister
  4. About Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023

Power to Promulgate Ordinance:

Article 123 of the Indian Constitution:

  • Empowers the President to promulgate Ordinances during Parliament recess.

Article 213 of the Indian Constitution

  • It deals with the broadly analogous powers of the Governor to promulgate an Ordinance when the state legislature is not in session.

Conditions for Promulgation:

  • President can promulgate Ordinances if both Houses of Parliament are not in session.
  • President must be satisfied that immediate action is necessary due to existing circumstances.

Government’s Role:

  • President acts on advice of Council of Ministers (Article 74).
  • Government decides to bring the Ordinance.

Force and Effect of Ordinance:

  • An Ordinance holds the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament.
  • Government must bring the Ordinance before Parliament for ratification.

Lapsing of Ordinance:

  • If government fails to bring the Ordinance before Parliament, it lapses after 6 weeks from Parliament’s reassembly.
  • Ordinance may also lapse earlier if the President withdraws it or if both Houses pass resolutions disapproving it.
  • Rejection implies the government has lost majority.

Validity of the Ordinance

  • The validity of the Ordinance that nullifies the Supreme Court’s decision raises legal and constitutional concerns.
  • There are questions about whether an Ordinance or a Bill passed by Parliament can override a court decision.
  • Previous Supreme Court rulings have established that Parliament cannot negate a court decision without changing the basis of that decision.
  • The Ordinance fails to provide any grounds for nullifying the Court’s decision.
Basis of the Court’s Decision
  • The Supreme Court based its decision on Article 239AA(3)(a) of the Constitution, which grants legislative powers to the Delhi Legislative Assembly to make laws on matters within the State or Concurrent list, except for police, public order, and land.
  •  Since executive power is co-extensive with legislative power, the Government of NCTD has the authority to handle services. This position was affirmed by a Constitution Bench in 2018 and reaffirmed in the latest judgment.
Attempt to Negate the Court’s Decision
  • The Ordinance attempts to negate the Court’s decision in various ways. Section 3A of the new GNCTD Act, inserted through the Ordinance, states that the Legislative Assembly shall not have the power to make laws on matters enumerated in entry 41, which includes services.
  • This section clearly indicates an intention to nullify the Supreme Court’s judgment. No authority has the power to direct that a court order shall have no effect and shall not be followed.
  •  Moreover, since the Ordinance does not present any new grounds for nullifying the judgment, it is legally unsustainable.

Overriding the Chief Minister

  • After taking away the services from the Delhi government, the Ordinance confers the powers of posting, transfer and disciplinary matters on an authority named the National Capital Civil Services Authority consisting of a chairman and two members.
  • The Chief Minister is made the chairman and the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary are the other members.
  • With two members constituting the quorum and the fact that the two members can take all decisions makes the purpose of constituting this authority all too obvious.
  • The highfalutin name of the authority and the Chief Minister being the chairman cannot hide the real object of this provision.
  • All decisions relating to posting, transfer, disciplinary issues etc. will be taken by the two officers and the opinion of the Chief Minister will have no value.
  • These decisions will then be forwarded to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi whose decision shall be final.
  • Such a statutory body, wherein all decisions are taken by bureaucrats and the opinion of an elected Chief Minister can just be ignored, is unheard of in administrative history.
  • This provision does not square with the content of Article 239AA (4) of the Constitution which confers the power on the council of ministers headed by the Chief Minister to deal with all administrative matters relating to the governance of the Union Territory of Delhi except the exempted items.

About Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023:

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023 introduces the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA) and redefines the roles of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, and Principal Home Secretary in Delhi’s administration. Here are the key points:

  • NCCSA Composition: The NCCSA will consist of the Chief Minister of Delhi as the head, along with the Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary of Delhi as the other two members.
  • Functions of NCCSA: The NCCSA’s primary role is to make recommendations to the Lieutenant Governor (LG) regarding transfer, posting, vigilance, and other matters concerning Group ‘A’ officers and officers of DANICS (Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Civil Service) serving in the Government of NCTD.
  • Decision-making: All matters to be decided by the NCCSA will be determined by a majority vote of the members present and voting. This implies that the decision of the elected Chief Minister of Delhi can be overruled by the Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary, who are senior bureaucrats.
Role of LG:
  • Passing Orders: The LG is responsible for passing orders to implement the recommendations made by the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA).
  • Relevant Material: The LG has the authority to request the relevant material related to officers belonging to All India Services and DANICS serving in the Delhi government.
  • Difference of Opinion: If the LG disagrees with a recommendation made by the NCCSA, they can return the recommendation to the Authority for reconsideration. The LG must provide written reasons for their disagreement. However, according to the ordinance, in case of a difference of opinion, the decision of the LG shall be final.
  • Group B and Group C Officers: The ordinance does not specifically address the transfer, posting, discipline, etc., of Group B and Group C officers. This suggests that the elected government of Delhi would retain control over these officers.

-Source: The Hindu

Deep Sea Mining


The International Seabed Authority — the UN body that regulates the world’s ocean floor — is preparing to resume negotiations that could open the international seabed for mining.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. International Seabed Authority
  2. Deep Sea Mining
  3. Pressure on the ISA to establish regulations
  4. Environmental concerns

International Seabed Authority (ISA):

  • Established under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • Mandated to regulate and manage mineral-related activities in the international seabed beyond national jurisdiction.
  • Founded in November 1994 and became fully operational in June 1996.
  • Headquarters located in Kingston, Jamaica.
Functions of ISA:
  • Grants licenses and regulates exploration and exploitation of mineral resources in the international seabed.
  • Ensures activities are conducted in an environmentally protective manner.
  • Promotes equitable and efficient utilization of resources.
International Seabed:
  • Refers to the seabed, ocean floor, and subsoil beyond national jurisdiction.
  • Covers approximately 54% of the world’s oceans.
  • Recognized as the common heritage of mankind under UNCLOS.
  • Resources are managed for the benefit of all countries.

Deep Sea Mining:

  • Involves extracting mineral deposits and metals from the seabed of the ocean.
  • There are three types of deep-sea mining:
    • Mining polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor.
    • Mining massive seafloor sulphide deposits.
    • Stripping cobalt crusts from rocks.
  • These nodules, deposits, and crusts contain valuable minerals like nickel, rare earths, cobalt, and more.
  • These minerals are essential for renewable energy technologies, batteries, and everyday technology such as cellphones and computers.
High Seas and UNCLOS:
  • The high seas and the international ocean floor are governed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • The high seas refer to water beyond 200 nautical miles from a country’s coast.
  • They are areas of the ocean that are not under the sole responsibility of any one nation.
  • UNCLOS applies to states, whether they have signed or ratified it.
  • According to UNCLOS, the seabed and its mineral resources are considered the common heritage of mankind.
  • The treaty requires that this heritage be managed in a way that protects the interests of humanity by promoting the sharing of economic benefits, supporting marine scientific research, and protecting marine environments.

Pressure on the ISA to establish regulations:

  • Application by Nauru: In 2021, Nauru, in partnership with Nauru Ocean Resources Inc, applied to the ISA for deep sea mining in a specific area. This triggered a clause in the United Nations treaty, requiring the ISA to finalize regulations for deep sea mining by July 2023.
  • Potential for unregulated mining: If the regulations are not approved by the deadline, Nauru has the right to submit an application for mining without specific rules and regulations in place. This raises concerns about unregulated deep sea mining.
  • Temporary licenses: If the ISA fails to approve regulations by July 9, other countries and private companies can start applying for temporary licenses for deep sea mining.

Environmental concerns

  • Ecosystem damage: Conservationists are concerned that deep sea mining can damage ecosystems, especially without proper environmental protocols.
  • Pollution risks: Mining activities can result in noise, vibration, light pollution, leaks, and spills of fuels and chemicals used in the process. Sediment plumes from mining processes can harm filter feeding species and interfere with marine creatures.
  • Backing for environmental protection: Companies like Google, Samsung, BMW, and others have pledged to avoid using minerals sourced from ocean mining. Several countries, including France, Germany, and Pacific Island nations, have called for a ban, pause, or moratorium on deep sea mining until environmental safeguards are in place.

-Source: The Hindu

Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS)


Recently, in response to the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) imposition of quantity restrictions and denial of states’ participation in the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS), states have been exploring alternative methods to procure wheat and rice.


GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS)
  2. Recent Revised OMSS Restrictions
  3. About the Food Corporation of India (FCI)

Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS):

  • The objective of the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) is to enhance the supply of food grains, specifically wheat, during the lean season and moderate open market prices, especially in deficit regions.
  • The Food Corporation of India (FCI) conducts weekly auctions through e-auctions in the open market to sell surplus stocks of wheat and rice.
  • The auctions are conducted using the platform of the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX).
  • State Governments and Union Territory Administrations have the option to participate in the e-auction if they require wheat and rice outside the Targeted Public Distribution Scheme (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS).
Reserve Price and Bidding:
  • The government sets a reserve price for the auction.
  • Bidders participating in the tenders floated by the FCI cannot quote a price less than the reserve price.
Types of OMSS Schemes:

The present form of OMSS consists of three schemes:

  • Sale of wheat to bulk consumers/private traders through e-auction.
  • Sale of wheat to bulk consumers/private traders through e-auction by dedicated movement.
  • Sale of Raw Rice Grade ‘A’ to bulk consumers/private traders through e-auction.

Recent Revised OMSS Restrictions:

  • Quantity limits: The maximum allowed quantity per bid in the OMSS has been revised. Previously, it was 3,000 metric tonnes, but it has now been reduced to a range of 10-100 metric tonnes. This change aims to promote wider participation and accommodate small and marginal buyers.
  • Encouraging competitive bids: By encouraging competitive bids from smaller buyers, the revised OMSS intends to curb retail prices and create a more level playing field in the market.
Discontinuation of certain sales:
  • Discontinuation of central pool sales to states: The Centre has decided to discontinue the sale of rice and wheat from the central pool to state governments under the OMSS. This is aimed at controlling inflationary trends and maintaining adequate stock levels in the central pool.
  • Prohibition on OMSS supplies resale: Private bidders are no longer allowed to sell their OMSS supplies to states. This measure aims to streamline the distribution and allocation of food grains while ensuring food security obligations are met.
Criticism and impact:
  • Criticism from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu: The decision to discontinue OMSS sales to states has faced criticism from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • Impact on Karnataka’s Anna Bhagya Scheme: Karnataka has temporarily replaced its free grain distribution scheme for below-poverty-line (BPL) families, known as the Anna Bhagya Scheme, with cash transfers to beneficiaries. This decision was made due to the inability to procure enough rice in the market at a reasonable cost within the required timeframe for the scheme’s requirements.

About the Food Corporation of India (FCI):

  • FCI is a statutory body established in 1965 under the Food Corporation Act, 1964.
  • It was created in response to a major shortage of grains, particularly wheat, in the country.
  • FCI operates under the ownership of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • The headquarters of FCI is located in New Delhi.
Objectives of FCI:
  • Provide effective price support to farmers.
  • Procure and supply grains to the Public Distribution System (PDS) for distributing subsidized staples to economically vulnerable sections of society.
  • Maintain a strategic reserve to stabilize markets for basic food grains.

-Source: The Hindu

Panchayat Development Index


Recently, the Union Minister of State for Panchayati Raj released the Report on Panchayat Development Index (PDI) at the National Workshop on Panchayat Development Index in New Delhi.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About  Panchayat Development Index (PDI)
  2. Key highlights of the Report on the PDI
  3. Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI)

About  Panchayat Development Index (PDI)

The Panchayat Development Index (PDI) is a composite index that evaluates the performance of panchayats in achieving the Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It assesses the development status of panchayats and helps identify areas of strength and weakness.

Key features of the PDI:
  • Promoting Localization of SDGs: The PDI raises awareness among panchayats and stakeholders about the importance of SDGs and encourages them to adopt best practices and innovations for their achievement.
  • Rankings and Grades: Panchayats receive rankings based on their overall scores, at district, block, and village levels. Grades are assigned ranging from D (scores under 40%) to A+ (above 90%).
  • Nine Themes: The PDI considers nine thematic areas, including poverty alleviation, livelihood enhancement, health, child-friendliness, water sufficiency, environmental sustainability, infrastructure development, social justice, good governance, and women empowerment.
  • Utilization of PDI: The PDI serves as a basis for Panchayati Raj Awards and promotes a data-driven and evidence-based approach to development. It helps in planning, monitoring, and evaluating schemes aligned with the SDGs. It also facilitates knowledge sharing and learning among panchayats and stakeholders for the replication of successful models.

Key highlights of the Report on the PDI:

  • Pilot Project: The pilot project was conducted in four districts of Maharashtra (Pune, Sangli, Satara, and Solapur) to gather data and insights for the PDI.
  • Report Compilation: The data collected from the pilot project was used to compile the report on the Panchayat Development Index by the Panchayat Development Index Committee.
  • PDI Categories: The pilot study revealed that 70% of the panchayats in the four districts of Maharashtra fell into Category C, indicating their performance in achieving the SDGs. Meanwhile, 27% of the panchayats were classified under Category B.
  • Importance of Evidence-Based Planning: The report emphasizes the significance of evidence-based planning, highlighting the need to allocate resources where they are needed the most for comprehensive development.

Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI):

PRI is a system of rural local self-government in India. It involves the management of local affairs by elected local bodies that represent and serve the interests of the local people.

Constitutional Recognition:
  • PRI was constitutionally established through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992.
  • This amendment aimed to strengthen democracy at the grassroots level and entrusted PRI with the responsibility of rural development in the country.

-Source: The Hindu, PIB

Pangong Tso


Three years after the violent clash between Indian and Chinese forces in Galwan both countries ramp up infrastructure on north bank of Pangong Tso.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Pangong Tso lake
  2. Tactical significance of the Panging Tso

About Pangong Tso lake

  • Pangong Tso is a long narrow, deep, endorheic (landlocked – a drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans, but drainage converges instead into lakes or swamps that equilibrate through evaporation) lake situated at a height of more than 14,000 ft in the Ladakh Himalayas.
  • It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China.
  • Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies within the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
  • It is NOT a part of the Indus River basin area and geographically a separate landlocked river basin.
  • The 135 km-long lake sprawls over 604 sq km in the shape of a boomerang, and is 6 km wide at its broadest point. The western end of Tso lies 54 km to the southeast of Leh.
Confrontation on the water
  • On the water, the Chinese had a major advantage until a few years ago — their superior boats could literally run circles around the Indian boats.
  • But India purchased better Tampa boats some eight years ago, leading to a quicker and more aggressive response.
Out of bounds for tourists
  • Tourists were not allowed at all at Pangong Tso until 1999, and even today, you need to obtain an Inner Line Permit from the office of the Deputy Commissioner at Leh.
  • Tourists are only allowed up to Spangmik village, around 7 km into the lake.

Tactical Significance of Pangong Tso

Location and Offensive Route:

  • The Panging Tso (Pangong Lake) is located along the Chushul approach, a key route for a potential Chinese offensive into Indian-held territory.
  • Indian assessments indicate that a major Chinese offensive would likely involve both the north and south of the lake.
  • During the 1962 war, China launched its main offensive from this area.

Infrastructure Development:

  • The Chinese have constructed motorable roads along the banks of Pangong Tso over the years.
  • These roads enhance the mobility and logistical capabilities of Chinese forces in the region.

Contested Terrain:

  • The northern bank of the lake is subject to differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) during peacetime.
  • This disagreement over the boundary further complicates the strategic significance of the area.

Past Incursions:

  • In 1999, when an Indian Army unit was relocated to Kargil for Operation Vijay, China took advantage of the situation and constructed a 5 km road inside Indian territory along the lake’s bank.

Overall Assessment:

  • While the lake itself may not have significant tactical value, its location and the surrounding area hold importance in terms of potential offensive routes and territorial disputes.

-Source: The Hindu

Diversity for Restoration (D4R) tool


Recently, researchers have devised a Diversity for Restoration (D4R) tool that enables appropriate agroforestry and aids systematic ecosystem restoration.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Diversity for Restoration (D4R) tool
  2. Features of the tool

About the Diversity for Restoration (D4R) tool:

  • Developed with information on 237 socio-economically important native trees from the Western Ghats.
  • Devised by Bioversity International.
  • Modified by the team from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) to promote restoration programs in India.

Features of the tool:

  • Aims to improve the effectiveness of restoration programs and promote sustainable development.
  • Helps in better decision-making and achieving desired outcomes for plantation programs.
  • Improves socio-ecological perspectives and aids stakeholders in decision-making.
  • Identifies species that align with restoration objectives.
  • Identifies species that can withstand local stresses and adapt to changing environmental conditions.
  • Assists in identifying seed sources for required species.
  • Provides information on 100 plant functional traits, including economic and ecological uses.
  • Informs about commercial benefits such as timber, fruit, or manure from tree species.
  • Indicates resilience to stresses like temperature extremes, salinity, or soil acidity.
  • Identifies windbreakers and species beneficial for nitrogen fixing and pollination.
  • Already being used in countries like Malaysia, Ethiopia, Colombia, Peru, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, etc.

-Source: Down To Earth

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau


Recently, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has issued a ‘red alert’ directing the authorities to visit all tiger reserves.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau
  2. Mandate of the Bureau

About the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau:

  • Statutory body established by the Government of India to combat organized wildlife crime.
  • Established by amending the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • Headquarter: New Delhi.

Mandate of the Bureau:

  • Collect and collate intelligence on organized wildlife crime and share it with enforcement agencies for immediate action.
  • Establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank.
  • Assist foreign authorities and international organizations in wildlife crime control efforts.
  • Build capacity of wildlife crime enforcement agencies for professional investigation.
  • Advise the Government on national and international wildlife crime issues, policies, and laws.
  • Assist and advise Customs authorities in inspecting flora and fauna shipments.
  • Develop an online Wildlife Crime Database Management System for real-time data analysis and prevention of wildlife crimes.
  • Successfully carried out operations like Operation SAVE KURMA, THUNDERBIRD, WILDNET, LESKNOW, BIRBIL, THUNDERSTORM, LESKNOW-II using the database system.

-Source: Hindustan Times

December 2023