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Current Affairs 05 April 2023


  1. Lokayukta
  2. India Justice Report 2022
  3. United Nations Water Conference
  4. National Financial Reporting Authority
  5. Electoral bonds



The Kerala Lokayukta, has referred a case related to alleged nepotism and anomalies in the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) to a three-member full bench for investigation.


GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional and Non-Constitutional Bodies, Policies and Interventions on Transparency and Accountability in governance)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Lokayukta
  2. About Lokpal
  3. Other Important Points regarding the Lokpal
  4. Exception for Prime Minister

About Lokayukta

  • The Lokayukta (also Lok Ayukta) (lokāyukta, “civil commissioner”) is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states.
  • Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.
  • The Lokayukta, along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, mainly helps people publicise corruption among the Politicians and Government Officials.
  • Many acts of the Lokayukta have resulted in criminal or other consequences for those charged.
  • Maharashtra was the first state to introduce the institution of Lokayukta (considered the weakest Lokayukta due to lack of powers, staff, funds and an independent investigating agency).
  • On the other hand, the Karnataka Lokayukta is considered the most powerful Lokayukta in the country.
  • Karnataka Lokayukta is considered the most powerful Lokayukta in the country.

About Lokpal

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 establishes Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States (Statutory Bodies) to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.
  • Composition: Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50% shall be judicial members and 50% shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
  • Appointment process: It is a two-stage process.
    • A search committee which recommends a panel of names to the high-power selection committee.
    • The selection committee comprises the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice of India (or his nominee) and an eminent jurist (nominated by President based on the recommendation of other members of the panel).
  • President will appoint the recommended names.
  • The jurisdiction of Lokpal extends to:
    • Anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union government under Groups A, B, C and D.
    • The chairpersons, members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Centre.
    • Any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above Rs. 10 lakhs.

Other Important Points regarding the Lokpal

  • Salaries, allowances and service conditions: Salaries, allowances and other perks of the Lokpal chairperson will be the same as those for the Chief Justice of India; those for other members will be the same as those for a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Inquiry wing and prosecution wing: Inquiry Wing for conducting preliminary inquiry and Prosecution Wing for the purpose of prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint by the Lokpal under this Act.
  • Power with respect to CBI: Power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal. Transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases referred by Lokpal would need approval of Lokpal.
  • Timelines for enquiry, investigation: Act specifies a time limit of 60 days for completion of inquiry and 6 months for completion of investigation by the CBI. This period of 6 months can be extended by the Lokpal on a written request from CBI.
  • Suspension, removal of Chairperson and member of Lokpal: The Chairperson or any Member shall be removed from his office by order of the President on grounds of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court report. For that a petition has to be signed by at least one hundred Members of Parliament. Special Court shall be setup to hear and decide the cases referred by the Lokpal.

Exception for Prime Minister

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 does not allow a Lokpal inquiry if the allegation against the PM relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.
  • Complaints against the PM are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of inquiry and at least 2/3rds of the members approve it.
  • Such an inquiry against the PM (if conducted) is to be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry are not to be published or made available to anyone.

-Source: The Hindu

India Justice Report 2022


Karnataka tops, Uttar Pradesh at the bottom in India Justice Report 2022


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the Report:
  2. About India Justice Report

Highlights of the Report:

The India Justice Report (IJR) 2022, released in New Delhi, ranks 18 large and mid-sized states with populations over one crore based on justice delivery in four pillars: Police, Judiciary, Prisons, and Legal Aid.

  • Karnataka ranked first, followed by Tamil Nadu and Telangana, while Uttar Pradesh ranked last at 18.
  • Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh secured the fourth and fifth position, respectively.

The report also includes a list of seven small states with a population of less than one crore each. The rankings are:

  • Sikkim topped the list, followed by Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Goa secured the seventh position, which is the lowest.

About India Justice Report

  • The India Justice Report (IJR) was initiated by Tata Trusts in 2019, and this is the third edition.
  • The Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, and How India Lives are the foundation’s partners.
  • The IJR 2022 is based on 24-month quantitative research and tracks the performance of states in capacitating their justice delivery structures to effectively deliver mandated services.
  • The report brings together data from authoritative government sources on the four pillars of justice delivery, which is otherwise siloed.
  • The report also assesses the capacity of the 25 State Human Rights Commissions in the country separately.
  • Each pillar of justice delivery is analyzed through budgets, human resources, workload, diversity, infrastructure, and trends against the state’s declared standards and benchmarks.

-Source: The Hindu

United Nations Water Conference


The United Nations 2023 Water Conference held recently, was the first such meeting in 46 years. In a recent report entitled ‘Water for Sustainable Development 2018 – 2028’, the UN recognised the urgent need for action given that we are not on track to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for water — “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the water conference?
  2. What are the current challenges?
  3. What are the key commitments?

What is the water conference?

  • The water sector is prone to fragmentation because water problems tend to be local.
  • If a particular lake is polluted or a particular area is often flooded, it needs local solutions. Therefore, there is an inherent problem in mobilising globally for local problems.
  • The last UN Water Conference, held in 1977, was groundbreaking as it resulted in the first global ‘Action Plan’ recognising that “all peoples, whatever their stage of development and social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to drinking water in quantities and of a quality equal to their basic needs.”
  • This declaration led to several decades of global funding and concerted effort to lower the population without access to safe drinking water.

What are the current challenges?

  • Funding: Extending services to underserved populations requires funding, which is a challenge.
  • Access vs. sustained access: Improving access to water and sanitation doesn’t necessarily translate to sustained access due to various reasons.
  • Failed projects: Many drinking water projects have failed because of groundwater over-abstraction or contaminated water sources.
  • Agricultural pumping: Groundwater over-abstraction is mainly driven by agricultural pumping, which needs to be reduced.
  • Policy change: To reduce agricultural pumping, a policy change is required, which needs cooperation from many agencies and ministries.
  • Remaining SDG targets: The remaining SDG targets pertain to sustainable agriculture, industry, and natural ecosystems, which require tough political choices and a stronger democracy.

What are the key commitments?

Voluntary commitments:

  • 713 commitments made by philanthropic donors, governments, corporations, and NGOs
  • India committed $50 billion to improve rural drinking water services under the Jal Jeevan Mission


  • Specific innovations in wastewater treatment presented
  • Proposals for incubation platforms focusing on water management


  • Need to accelerate cross-learning
  • W12+ Blueprint: UNESCO platform hosting city profiles and case studies of programs, technologies, policies that address common water security challenges

Efforts to help marginalised communities and women:

  • ‘Making Rights Real’ offered to help marginalized communities and women exercise their rights
  • ‘Water for Women Fund’ offered mechanisms for more effective and sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene outcomes for women

-Source: The Hindu

National Financial Reporting Authority


NFRA recently pulled up a section of India Inc, including “a large listed firm”, for not complying with Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS)


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA)
  2. Functions and Duties
  3. Powers

National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA):

  • NFRA was established on October 1st, 2018 under the Companies Act, 2013
  • It is an independent regulator overseeing the auditing profession and accounting standards in India
  • The objective is to continuously improve the quality of corporate financial reporting in India
  • The headquarters of NFRA is located in New Delhi.

Functions and Duties

  • Recommends accounting and auditing policies and standards for approval by the Central Government
  • Monitors and enforces compliance with accounting and auditing standards
  • Oversees the quality of service of professions related to compliance and suggests measures for improvement
  • Composition includes a chairperson with expertise in accountancy, auditing, finance, or law and up to 15 members


  • NFRA can investigate professional or other misconduct by any member or firm of chartered accountants registered under the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, either suo moto or on a reference made by the Central Government
  • Has the same powers as a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while trying a suit

-Source: Times of India

Electoral bonds


The government recently announced the 26th tranche of electoral bond sales to be undertaken over a ten-day window at all authorized branches of the State Bank of India.


GS-II: Polity and Governance (Governance and Government Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are Electoral Bonds?
  2. Why have they attracted criticism?
  3. Government’s response defending the Electoral Bonds scheme

What are Electoral Bonds?

  • An electoral bond is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of State Bank of India.
  • The citizen or corporate can then donate the same to any eligible political party of his/her choice.
  • The bonds are similar to bank notes that are payable to the bearer on demand and are free of interest.
  • An individual or party will be allowed to purchase these bonds digitally or through cheque.

Why have they attracted criticism?

  • The central criticism of the electoral bonds scheme is that it does the exact opposite of what it was meant to do: bring transparency to election funding.
  • For example, critics argue that the anonymity of electoral bonds is only for the broader public and opposition parties.
  • The fact that such bonds are sold via a government-owned bank (SBI) leaves the door open for the government to know exactly who is funding its opponents.
  • This, in turn, allows the possibility for the government of the day to either extort money, especially from the big companies, or victimise them for not funding the ruling party — either way providing an unfair advantage to the party in power.
  • Further, one of the arguments for introducing electoral bonds was to allow common people to easily fund political parties of their choice but more than 90% of the bonds have been of the highest denomination (Rs 1 crore).
  • Moreover, before the electoral bonds scheme was announced, there was a cap on how much a company could donate to a political party: 7.5 per cent of the average net profits of a company in the preceding three years. However, the government amended the Companies Act to remove this limit, opening the doors to unlimited funding by corporate India, critics argue.
Government’s response defending the Electoral Bonds scheme
  • The Government said that the Electoral Bond Scheme allowed anonymity to political donors to protect them from “political victimisation”. The earlier system of cash donations had raised a “concern among the donors that, with their identity revealed, there would be competitive pressure from different political parties receiving donation”.
  • The Ministry of Finance’s affidavit in the top court had dismissed the Election Commission’s version that the invisibility afforded to benefactors was a “retrogade step” and would wreck transparency in political funding.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023