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Current Affairs 14 April 2023


  1. Rules for recognition as a national party
  2. Maternity benefits to adoptive mothers
  3. Dabba trading
  4. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
  5. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  6. PM MITRA scheme

Rules For Recognition As A National Party


Ahead of the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received a shot in the arm from the Election Commission of India, as the poll body accorded it the status of a national party. Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Communist Party of India (CPI), and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) lost their national party status.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. How does a party get recognized as a national party?
  2. Criteria for recognition as a State party:
  3. Benefits of recognition as national and State parties:

How does a party get recognized as a national party?

  • The Election Commission reviews the poll performance of recognised parties after every State Assembly election or general election to the Lok Sabha.
  • Rules for recognition as a national party are specified in para 6B of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
  • A party can become eligible to be accorded national status if it fulfils any one of the following conditions:
    • Recognized as a State party in at least four States.
    • Secures 6% of the total votes polled in four States in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, and gets four of its members elected to the Lok Sabha.
    • Wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three States.
  • The Symbols Order of 1968 was amended in 2016 to give parties one additional “pass over” to continue as a national or State party even if they fail to fulfil the eligibility criteria in the next election.
  • The Trinamool Congress lost its national status due to non-fulfilment of eligibility criteria, while the AAP gained national status after recognition as a State party in four states.
  • The NCP lost recognition in three states where it did not secure enough assembly votes between 2017 and 2018.
  • The CPI retained its national status despite its performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, courtesy the amendment to the Symbols Act.

Criteria for recognition as a State party:

  • Securing at least 6% of the valid votes polled and two seats in Assembly polls or one in Lok Sabha polls.
  • Winning 3% of the seats in the legislative assembly of the State (subject to a minimum of 3 seats) at General Elections or Legislative Assembly elections.
  • Winning one Lok Sabha seat for every 25 Lok Sabha seats allotted for the State at a Lok Sabha General Elections.
  • Polling 8% of votes in a State at a General Election to the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assembly.

Benefits of recognition as national and State parties:

National parties:

  • Reserved party symbol
  • Free broadcast time on State-run television and radio
  • Consultation in setting of election dates
  • Input in setting electoral rules and regulations

State parties:

  • Reserved party symbol
  • Free broadcast time on State-run television and radio
  • Consultation in setting of election dates (in their respective states)
  • Input in setting electoral rules and regulations (in their respective states)

Candidates put up by registered but unrecognised political parties:

  • Not eligible for reserved party symbol
  • Election symbols allotted by Returning Officers of constituencies after last date for withdrawal of candidature as per availability.

-Source: The Hindu

Maternity Benefits To Adoptive Mothers


The Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 5(4) of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which states that a woman who legally adopts a child below three months old will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is this provision?
  2. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
  3. Key Changes in the 2017 Amendment
  4. Unequal Implementation of Maternity Benefit Act in India

What is this provision?

  • The original 1961 Maternity Benefit Act did not have provisions for adoptive mothers
  • The 2017 amendment introduced Section 5(4) for maternity benefits for women who adopt or act as commissioning mothers
  • Adoptive mothers of children below three months are entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave
  • A woman adopting a child older than three months is not eligible for maternity benefits
  • A PIL challenges the provision on the grounds of discrimination and arbitrariness towards adoptive mothers
  • The PIL also contends that the provision arbitrarily discriminates against orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered children above three months
  • The petition states that the 12 weeks’ benefit is insufficient when compared to the 26 weeks’ benefit for biological mothers
  • The provision fails to stand the basic scrutiny of Part III of the Constitution, which is linked to the concept of non-arbitrariness.

Maternity Benefit Act, 1961:

  • Passed on December 12, 1961, to regulate the employment of women in “certain establishments” for the period before and after childbirth.
  • Originally applied to factories, mines, plantations and extended later in 1973 to government-owned establishments and establishments for exhibitions.
  • Repealed the Mines Maternity Benefit Act, 1941 and Maternity Benefit Act, 1929.
  • Section 4 of the Act prohibited the employment of or work by women during the six weeks immediately following delivery or miscarriage.
  • Section 5 granted paid maternity leave for up to 12 weeks if the woman had worked for at least 160 days in the preceding 12 months.
  • Violations could result in three months’ punishment, with or without a fine.

Key Changes in the 2017 Amendment:

  • Amended Section 5 to allow for 26 weeks of paid leave after childbirth for biological mothers.
  • Inserted Section 5(4) to allow adoptive or surrogate mothers to have a 12-week maternity benefit period from the date the child is handed over.
  • Inserted Section 5(5) to allow for working from home if mutually agreed upon after availing of maternity benefits.
  • Inserted Section 11 to mandate the availability of a creche facility for establishments with 50 or more employees, with four visits a day allowed for the mother and rest intervals provided.
  • Does not apply to the unorganised sector, which has been a criticized aspect of the amendment.

Unequal Implementation of Maternity Benefit Act in India

Unorganised sector women do not receive benefits

  • Women in the unorganised sector cannot avail the benefits of the Maternity Benefit(Amendment) Act 2017.

Implementation of the Act not equal across sectors

  • A report by TeamLease in 2020 revealed that the Maternity Benefit Act has not delivered a positive impact on job opportunities for women, even three years after its implementation.
  • More than five out of 10 sectors reviewed showed a drop in women’s participation since the implementation of the Act.
  • 7 out of 10 sectors were expected to show positive momentum in women’s workforce participation in the medium term, while 5 of the 10 sectors showed a drop in the share of women in their workforce.

Challenges faced by women after maternity leave

  • According to the same report, after maternity leave, women face several challenges such as wage cuts (30%), resistance or lack of support from family (25%), and access to childcare (20%).

-Source: Indian Express

Dabba Trading


Recently, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) issued a string of notices naming entities involved in ‘dabba trading’.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is ‘dabba trading’?
  2. Where does it become particularly problematic?

What is ‘dabba trading’?

  • Dabba (box) trading refers to informal trading that takes place outside the purview of the stock exchanges.
  • Traders bet on stock price movements without incurring a real transaction to take physical ownership of a particular stock as is done in an exchange.
  • In simple words, it is gambling centred around stock price movements.
    • For example, an investor places a bet on a stock at a price point, say ₹1,000. If the price point rose to ₹1,500, he/she would make a gain of ₹500.
    • However, if the price point falls to ₹900, the investor would have to pay the difference to the dabba broker.
  • Thus, it could be concluded that the broker’s profit equates the investor’s loss and vice-versa. The equations are particularly consequential during bull runs or bear market.
  • The primary purpose of such trades is to stay outside the purview of the regulatory mechanism, and thus, transactions are facilitated using cash and the mechanism is operated using unrecognised software terminals.
  • Other than this, it could also be facilitated using informal or kaccha (rough) records, sauda (transaction) books, challans, DD receipts, cash receipts alongside bills/contract notes as proof of trading.
  • ‘Dabba trading’ is recognised as an offence under Section 23(1) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act (SCRA), 1956 and upon conviction, can invite imprisonment for a term extending up to 10 years or a fine up to ₹25 crore, or both.

Where does it become particularly problematic?

  • Since there are no proper records of income or gain, it helps dabba traders escape taxation. They would not have to pay the Commodity Transaction Tax (CTT) or the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) on their transactions.
  • The use of cash also means that they are outside the purview of the formal banking system.
  • All of it combined results in a loss to the government exchequer.
  • In ‘dabba trading’, the primary risk entails the possibility that the broker defaults in paying the investor or the entity becomes insolvent or bankrupt.
  • Being outside the regulatory purview implies that investors are without formal provisions for investor protection, dispute resolution mechanisms and grievance redressal mechanisms that are available within an exchange.
  • Since all activities are facilitated using cash, and without any auditable records, it could potentially encourage the growth of ‘black money’ alongside perpetuating a parallel economy.
  • This could potentially translate to risks entailing money laundering and criminal activities.

-Source: The Hindu

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre


Recently, the Prime Minister paid tributes to people killed in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.

  • He asserted that their unparalleled courage and sacrifice will keep motivating the coming generations. 13th April, 2023 marks the 104 years of the incident.


GS I- History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: 
  2. Outcome
  3. Rowlatt Act, 1919

About the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: 

  • The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919. 
  • It was Baisakhi that day, a harvest festival popular in Punjab and parts of north India. Local residents in Amritsar decided to hold a meeting that day to discuss and protest against the confinement of Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, two leaders fighting for Independence, and implementation of the Rowlatt Act, which armed the British government with powers to detain any person without trial.
  • The crowd had a mix of men, women and children. 
  • They all gathered in a park called the Jallianwala Bagh, walled on all sides but for a few small gates, against the orders of the British. 
  • While the meeting was on, Brigadier-General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, who had crept up to the scene wanting to teach the public assembled a lesson, ordered 90 soldiers he had brought with him to the venue to open fire on the crowd.
  • The troops kept on firing until their ammunition was exhausted. 
  • At least 1000 people were killed and over 1,200 other people were injured of whom 192 were seriously injured. 


  • Considered the ‘The Butcher of Amritsar’ in the aftermath of the massacre, General Dyer was removed from command and exiled to Britain.
  • Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, as a sign of condemnation, renounced their British Knighthood and Kaiser-i-Hind medal respectively.
  • In 1922, the infamous Rowlett Act was repealed by the British.

Rowlatt Act, 1919

  • The act was officially known as the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, 1919 and was passed in March 1919 by the Imperial Legislative Council.
  • The act was passed as per recommendations of the Rowlatt Committee chaired by a judge, Sir Sidney Rowlatt.
  • This act authorized the government to imprison for a maximum period of two years, without trial, any person suspected of terrorism.
  • The act provided s speedy trial of the offenses by a special cell that consisted of 3 High Court Judges. There was no court of appeal above that panel.
  • This panel could also accept the evidences which were not even acceptable in the Indian Evidences Act.
  • It also placed severe restrictions on the freedom of the press.
  • The act was widely condemned by Indian leaders and the public. The bills came to be known as ‘black bills’.

-Source: Indian Express

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), criticised for its inaction over the deepening Myanmar crisis, strongly condemned air strikes that reportedly killed dozens of people.


GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  2. ASEAN’s Objectives
  3. ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA)
  4. ASEAN-India Trade in Services Agreement (AITISA)
  5. ASEAN-India Investment Agreement (AIIA)
  6. ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA)

About Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising Ten Countries in Southeast Asia.

Members of ASEAN
  1. Indonesia
  2. Malaysia
  3. Philippines
  4. Singapore
  5. Thailand
  6. Brunei
  7. Vietnam
  8. Laos
  9. Myanmar
  10. Cambodia

ASEAN’s Objectives:

  1. To promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
  2. To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations.
  3. To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
  4. To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations.

A major partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific.

  • The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
  • ASEAN is headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • 8th August is observed as ASEAN Day.
  • In 1967 ASEAN was established with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding fathers: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
  • ASEAN is the 3rd largest market in the world – larger than EU and North American markets.
ASEAN Plus Three

ASEAN Plus Three is a forum that functions as a coordinator of co-operation between the ASEAN and the three East Asian nations of China, South Korea, and Japan.

ASEAN Plus Six
  • further integration to improve existing ties of Southeast Asia was done by the larger East Asia Summit (EAS), which included ASEAN Plus Three as well as India, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • The group became ASEAN Plus Six with Australia, New Zealand, and India, and stands as the linchpin of Asia Pacific’s economic, political, security, socio-cultural architecture, as well as the global economy.
  • This group acted as a prerequisite for the planned East Asia Community which was supposedly patterned after the European Community (now transformed into the European Union).
ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA)
  • The ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement was signed and entered into force in 2010.
  • Under the Agreement, ASEAN Member States and India have agreed to open their respective markets by progressively reducing and eliminating duties on more than 75% coverage of goods.
ASEAN-India Trade in Services Agreement (AITISA)
  • The ASEAN-India Trade in Services Agreement was signed in 2014.
  • It contains provisions on transparency, domestic regulations, recognition, market access, national treatment and dispute settlement.
ASEAN-India Investment Agreement (AIIA)
  • The ASEAN-India Investment Agreement was signed in 2014.
  • The Investment Agreement stipulates protection of investment to ensure fair and equitable treatment for investors, non-discriminatory treatment in expropriation or nationalisation as well as fair compensation.
ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (AIFTA)
  • The ASEAN–India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) is a free trade area among the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India.
  • The free trade area came into effect in 2010.
  • The ASEAN–India Free Area emerged from a mutual interest of both parties to expand their economic ties in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • India’s Look East policy was reciprocated by similar interests of many ASEAN countries to expand their interactions westward.
  • The signing of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement paves the way for the creation of one of the world’s largest FTAs – a market of almost 1.8 billion people with a combined GDP of US $ 2.8 trillion.
  • The AIFTA will see tariff liberalisation of over 90% of products traded between the two dynamic regions, including the so-called “special products,” such as palm oil (crude and refined), coffee, black tea and pepper.

-Source: The Hindu

PM MITRA scheme


Almost a month after the Centre announced its decision to set up seven mega textile parks under the PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM MITRA) scheme, Union Textiles Secretary said the institutional mechanism to begin the works in two mega parks in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka will be ready in three months. 


GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Textile Industry, Government Policies and Initiatives, Industrial Policy)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About PM Mega Investment Textiles Parks (PM MITRA) scheme
  2. Aims and Significance of MITRA
  3. Significance of Textile Sector in India

About PM Mega Investment Textiles Parks (PM MITRA) scheme

  • The PM Mega Investment Textiles Parks (PM MITRA) scheme was launched in 2020 with a plan to establish Seven textile parks which will have a world-class infrastructure over three years.
  • These parks will also have plug-and-play facilities (business facilities will be available ready-made) to help create global champions in exports in the textile sector.

Aims and Significance of MITRA

  • The Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) Scheme aims to enable the textile industry to become globally competitive and boost exports.
  • The scheme also aims to boost employment generation within the textile sector and also attract large investment.
  • The scheme was launched in addition to the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.
  • The scheme will create a level-playing field for domestic manufacturers in the international textiles market.
  • It will also pave the way for India to become a global champion of textiles exports across all segments.
  • MITRA will lead to increased investments and enhanced employment opportunities with the support from the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme.

Significance of Textile Sector in India

  • The Textile Sector accounts for 7% of India’s manufacturing output, 2% of GDP, 12% of exports and employs directly and indirectly about 10 crore people.
  • Owing to the abundant supply of raw material and labour, India is the largest producer of cotton (accounting for 25% of the global output) and second-largest producer of textiles and garments and man-made fibres (polyester and viscose).
  • The availability of a strong domestic market in India is a major reason that increases the importance of the sector.

-Source: The Hindu

April 2024