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Current Affairs 10 November 2023

  1. Speedy Disposal of Cases against Lawmakers
  2. Nationwide Ban on Barium in Firecrackers: Supreme Court Clarification
  3. Geoglyph
  4. Climate Services Report 2023
  5. Vaigai Dam
  6. Kavach System
  7. National Coal Index


The Supreme Court has issued guidelines aimed at expediting the disposal of criminal cases involving Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs).


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Speedy Disposal of Cases Against Lawmakers
  2. Representation of the People Act, 1951: Key Provisions

Speedy Disposal of Cases Against Lawmakers:

The Supreme Court has instructed chief justices of high courts to establish special benches dedicated to overseeing and expediting the resolution of pending criminal cases involving MLAs and MPs.

Judgement by the Supreme Court:

The guidelines, directed to high courts nationwide, include:
  • Special Bench Establishment:
    • The setup of a special bench dedicated to monitoring criminal cases against legislators.
  • Suo Motu Registration:
    • High Courts are instructed to initiate suo motu registration of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs for more effective oversight.
Guidelines for Monitoring Pending Cases:
  • Chief justices of high courts are directed to register suo motu cases to facilitate the swift resolution of pending criminal cases against lawmakers.
  • Special benches, led by the Chief Justice or designated by them, can hear such cases.
  • Regular listing of these cases at appropriate intervals is encouraged.
  • The special bench has the authority to seek assistance from the advocate general or prosecutor.
  • Priority is to be given to cases against lawmakers punishable by death or life imprisonment.
  • Cases with a punishment of 5 years or more will also receive priority.

High Courts’ Role:

  • The Supreme Court acknowledges the difficulty in providing uniform guidelines for trial courts nationwide and delegates the responsibility to high courts to formulate effective measures for monitoring such cases.

Additional Roles of High Courts:

  • High courts are empowered to issue similar orders and directions for the efficient resolution of cases.
  • Principal District and Sessions Judges can be called upon by high courts to allocate “subject cases” to specific courts.

Section 8(3) of RP Act:

  • The issue of replacing the 6-year ban with a lifetime ban, through an amendment to Section 8(3) of the RP Act, is left open for future consideration.

Representation of the People Act, 1951: Key Provisions

The RP Act 1951 predates the first general elections and governs the conduct of elections in India.

It encompasses various aspects of elections, including the actual conduct, administrative machinery, polls, election offences, disputes, by-elections, and the registration of political parties.

Provisions on Disqualification under the RPA:
  • Several provisions in the RPA address disqualification issues.
  • Section 8 deals with disqualification for the conviction of offences.
  • Section 8(1A) specifies certain offences like promoting enmity, bribery, and undue influence at elections.
  • Section 8(2A) lists offences related to hoarding, profiteering, and adulteration, with a minimum sentence of six months under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
  • Section 8(3A) disqualifies a convicted person sentenced to imprisonment for at least two years, continuing for an additional six years post-release.
  • Section 9 deals with disqualification for dismissal for corruption or disloyalty, and Section 9(A) covers disqualification for government contracts.
  • Section 10 pertains to disqualification for office under a government company, while Section 10(A) addresses failure to lodge election expense accounts.
  • Section 11 covers the removal or reduction of the period of disqualification, and Section 11(A) addresses disqualification arising from conviction and corrupt practices.
  • Section 11(B) deals with the removal of disqualifications.
Statistics on Cases Against Lawmakers:
  • Around 5,175 cases involving accusations against MLAs and MPs are pending across the country.
  • Approximately 40% of these cases, totaling 2,116, have been pending for over five years, with Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra having the highest numbers.
  • A report reveals that 40% of sitting MPs face criminal cases, with 25% accused of serious crimes such as murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women.
Background of the Case:
  • Initiated by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in August 2016, the plea sought the expedited resolution of cases involving lawmakers.
  • It advocated for a lifetime ban on convicted politicians, including sitting legislators, instead of the existing six-year ban under Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951, which imposes a ban on individuals convicted of specific offences with a minimum two-year sentence.

-Source: Indian Express


The Supreme Court has emphasized that its prohibition on the use of barium and other banned chemicals in firecrackers extends across the entire country, dispelling any ambiguity and confirming it is not limited to the National Capital Region. This clarification came during the court’s consideration of an application requesting directions for the Rajasthan government to adhere to the apex court’s directives.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Supreme Court’s Directives on Firecrackers: Key Points
  2. What are Green Crackers?
  3. Health Impact

Supreme Court’s Directives on Firecrackers: Key Points

Previous Orders (October 2018):
  • Banned production and sale of all crackers except ‘green crackers’ and those with reduced emissions.
  • Prohibited ‘joined crackers’ (long rows of crackers joined together).
  • Restricted noise levels within permissible limits.
  • Banned the use of barium salts in fireworks.
National Green Tribunal’s Decision (2020):
  • Banned sale and use of all firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR).
  • Allowed green crackers only in areas with moderate or poor air quality.
Recent Supreme Court Decision (September 2023):
  • Rejected plea by firecracker manufacturers’ association to permit joined crackers.
  • Disallowed the addition of barium with improved additives in green crackers.
Composition of Firecrackers:
  • Four primary ingredients: oxidizer, fuel, coloring agents, and binder.
  • Oxidizer ignites the cracker, fuel sustains the fire, coloring agents provide colors and sparkles, and binder holds the mixture together.
  • Barium, a harmful coloring agent, was banned due to its adverse effects on human health, causing respiratory issues, skin allergies, breathing difficulties, and cancer.
  • Other compounds like aluminum, magnesium, titanium, carbon, iron, sodium, copper, and strontium carbonates are used for different colors in fireworks.

What are Green Crackers?

  • Green crackers do not contain harmful chemicals and reduce air pollution.
  • They are eco-friendly, i.e., green crackers are less harmful as compared to conventional firecrackers and reduces air pollution.
  • In green crackers, the commonly used polluting chemicals like aluminium, barium, potassium nitrate and carbon have either been removed or sharply reduced to slow down the emissions by 15 to 30%.
About the development of Green Crackers
  • These green crackers have been developed by the National Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a CSIR lab.
  • At the first phase of producing green crackers focus was on reducing pollutants and then further strategies will cover to remove pollutants from the compositions.
  • CSIR-NEERI have developed potential sound-emitting functional prototypes that do not emit sulphur dioxide.
  • The crackers have been named as Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL).
  • The particulate matter will be reduced by 30-35 per cent in SWAS and 35 to 40 per cent in SAFAL and STAR.
  • According to the researchers, these crackers have the unique property of releasing water vapour, air as a dust suppressant and diluents for gaseous emissions that match with the performance in sound with traditional conventional crackers.
  • Basically, green crackers don’t contain barium substance which is used in the firecrackers to add green colour, as barium can cause burns, poisoning and deaths.
  • Green crackers will reduce at least 30 percent emissions using particulate matter Potassium Nitrate as an oxidant.

Health Impact:

  • Lead in crackers impact the nervous system while copper triggers respiratory tract irritation, sodium causes skin issues and magnesium leads to mental fume fever.
  • Cadmium not just causes anemia but also damages the kidney while nitrate is the most harmful that causes mental impairment.
  • The presence of nitrite causes irritation in mucous membrane, eyes and skin.
  • The most vulnerable population though are infants, children, pregnant women, elderly and people with underlying medical conditions.

-Source: Indian Express


A geoglyph in the form of a circle said to be 3,000 years old has been recently unearthed on the outskirts of Mudichu Thalapalli in the Medchal-Malkajgiri district of Telangana.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Exploring Geoglyphs
  2. Telangana Geoglyph
  3. Nazca Lines

Exploring Geoglyphs

  • A geoglyph is a large design or motif, typically longer than 4 meters, created on the ground using durable elements of the landscape, such as stones, gravel, or earth.
  • Formed by arranging or moving objects within the landscape.
Types of Geoglyphs:
  • Positive Geoglyph:
    • Formed by arranging and aligning materials on the ground.
    • Similar to petroforms, which are outlines created using boulders.
  • Negative Geoglyph:
    • Formed by removing part of the natural ground surface, creating differently colored or textured ground.
    • Similar to petroglyphs.
  • Arbour Glyph:
    • Involves seeding plants in a special design.
    • Takes years to form as it depends on plant growth.
  • Chalk Giants:
    • Carved into hillsides, exposing the bedrock beneath.
Geoglyphs in History:
  • Nazca Lines (Peru): Ancient and mysterious geoglyphs.
  • Other Examples: Megaliths in the Urals, Uffington White Horse, Long Man of Wilmington.

Telangana Geoglyph:


  • Etched on a low-lying granitoid hillock.
  • Spans 5 meters in diameter with a perfect circular shape.
  • 30-centimeter-wide rim surrounds the circle, and two triangles are within.
  • Dated to the Iron Age (around 1000 BCE).
  • Suggested to have served as a model for megalithic communities in planning circular burial sites.

Nazca Lines

  • Location: Group of massive geoglyphs in southern Peru’s Nazca Desert.
  • Timeline: Estimated to have been designed between 500 BCE and 500 CE.
  • Some lines are straight, while others depict intricate designs of animals and plants.
  • Combined length of all lines exceeds 808 miles, covering an area of around 19 square miles.
  • Individual design width ranges from 0.2 to 0.7 miles.
  • Created by removing the top layer of soil, with a depth between four and six inches.
  • Certain shapes are visible from heights of up to 1,500 feet.
  • The dry and windless climate of the region has contributed to the preservation of the lines over the years.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released Climate Services report 2023.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Report Findings on Climate-Health Integration
  2. World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

Report Findings on Climate-Health Integration

  • Utilization of Climate Information:
    • Less than 25% of global health ministries incorporate climate information to monitor health risks linked to climate sensitivity.
  • Health Protection Priority:
    • Health protection is recognized as a priority in nearly all countries, emphasizing the importance of high-quality information for informed decision-making.
  • Extreme Heat Concerns:
    • Despite extreme heat causing the highest mortality among all extreme weather conditions, only half of the affected countries provide heat warning services to health decision-makers.
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Air Pollution:
    • The report underscores that climate change mitigation efforts, particularly reducing air pollution, can contribute significantly to saving lives.
  • Insufficient Investments:
    • Investments aimed at enhancing the health sector’s capabilities to protect the most vulnerable from climate-related health risks are deemed insufficient.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)

  1. The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) responsible for meteorology, climate, operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
  2. It serves as the authoritative voice within the UN system regarding the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, climate patterns, and the distribution of water resources.
  • WMO plays a vital role in coordinating international efforts to monitor and assess atmospheric and climate systems, promoting research, facilitating data exchange, and providing weather and climate information for sustainable development.
  • The origins of WMO can be traced back to the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), established in 1873.
  • In 1950, WMO was officially established as the specialized agency of the UN for meteorology, operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
  • Building upon the foundation laid by the IMO, WMO has expanded its scope and activities to address the evolving challenges in meteorology and climate science.
Headquarters and Membership:
  • The headquarters of WMO is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Currently, WMO has a membership of 193 countries and territories, representing virtually all nations across the globe. The membership reflects the global recognition of the importance of international cooperation in meteorology, climate, and hydrology.
Governance Structure:

The governance structure of WMO comprises several key bodies responsible for policy-making, decision-making, and the day-to-day operations of the organization:

World Meteorological Congress:

  • The World Meteorological Congress is the supreme body of WMO.
  • It convenes at least every four years and brings together representatives from all member countries.
  • The Congress establishes general policies, adopts regulations, and provides strategic guidance to WMO.

Executive Council:

  • The Executive Council consists of 37 members, including the President and Vice-Presidents.
  • It meets annually to implement policies and decisions made by the World Meteorological Congress.
  • The Executive Council oversees the day-to-day operations and management of WMO.

Technical Commissions and Regional Associations:

  • WMO operates through a network of technical commissions and regional associations.
  • Technical commissions focus on specific areas of meteorology, hydrology, and related disciplines.
  • Regional associations facilitate regional cooperation and the exchange of meteorological and hydrological information.


  • The Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General, is responsible for the coordination and administration of WMO activities.
  • It supports the implementation of policies and decisions made by the World Meteorological Congress and Executive Council.
  • The Secretariat serves as the central hub for data exchange, research coordination, and capacity building initiatives.

-Source: Indian Express


A second flood warning for five southern districts has been issued after the water level in Vaigai Dam touched 68.50 ft. (the maximum permissible level is 71 ft.) recently.


GS III: Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Vaigai Dam
  2. Vaigai River

Vaigai Dam:

  • Location: Constructed near Andipatti, Theni district, Tamil Nadu, across the Vaigai River.
  • Year of Construction: Built in 1959.
  • Significance: Often termed the lifeline of the region, providing water for irrigation and drinking water for Madurai and Andipatti.
  • Dimensions: Stands at a height of 111 feet, with a storage capacity of 71 feet of water.
  • Purpose: Primarily built for irrigation in Madurai and Dindigul districts, as well as drinking water supply.

Vaigai River:

  • Origin: Rises in the Varushanad Hills of the Western Ghats.
  • Course: Flows through the Pandya Nadu region of Tamil Nadu, with a length of 258 kilometers.
  • Tributaries: Main tributaries include Suruliyaru, Mullaiyaru, Varaganadhi, Manjalaru, Kottagudi, Kridhumaal, and Upparu.
  • Periyar Dam Connection: Receives a significant water supply from the Periyar Dam in Kerala through a tunnel in the Western Ghats.
  • Endpoint: Empties into the Palk Strait near the Pamban Bridge in Ramanathapuram district.
  • Role: Meets the drinking water needs of five Tamil Nadu districts and supports irrigation for 200,000 hectares of agricultural land.

-Source: The Hindu


The recent collision between two passenger trains in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district drew attention to the absence of the Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS), specifically the indigenously developed system called ‘Kavach,’ which, if installed, could have averted the tragic incident.


GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Kavach System: An Indigenously Developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System
  2. Applications

Kavach System: An Indigenously Developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System

  • Developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) under Indian Railway (IR).
  • Collaboration with Medha Servo Drives Pvt Ltd, HBL Power Systems Ltd, and Kernex Microsystems.
Components and Communication:
  • Consists of electronic devices and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices.
  • Installed in locomotives, signaling systems, and tracks.
  • Communication between devices using ultra-high radio frequencies.
  • Logic programming enables control of train brakes and driver alerts.
Field Tests:
  • Railway conducted field tests for Kavach since 2016.
  • Tests carried out on passenger trains.


  • Assisting locomotive pilots in avoiding Signal Passing At Danger (SPAD) and overspeeding.
  • Alerting loco pilots and automatically applying brakes to halt the train when another train is detected within a set distance.
  • Continuous relay of signals ahead for better visibility in low-visibility conditions.
  • Automatic speed control by applying brakes if the loco pilot fails to do so.
  • Supporting train operations during inclement weather, like dense fog.

-Source: The Hindu


The National Coal Index (NCI) rose 3.83 points to 143.91 in September amid growing demand for coal.


Facts for Prelims

National Coal Index (NCI)

  • The NCI is a price index designed to reflect changes in the price level of coal on a monthly basis relative to the fixed base year.
  • Rolled out on June 4, 2020, with the goal of accurately representing market prices.
  • Combines coal prices from all sales channels, including Notified Prices, Auction Prices, and Import Prices.
  • Covers various grades of coking and non-coking coal in both regulated (power and fertilizer) and non-regulated sectors.

Base Year:

  • Base year for calculations is FY 2017-18.


  • Concept and design, along with Representative Prices, formulated by the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.


  • Encompasses all transactions of raw coal in the Indian market, providing a comprehensive view.
Market Reflection:
  • Aims to truly reflect the market price dynamics.
  • Indicates upward movement, signifying increased coal demand, potentially driven by factors like upcoming festive seasons and winter.
  • Facilitates monitoring and analysis of coal price changes, aiding stakeholders in decision-making.
  • Helps coal producers respond to market demands by adjusting production strategies.

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023