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Current Affairs 19 April 2023


  1. National Investigation Agency
  2. Civil union
  3. Latest developments in Yemen
  4. Hemophilia
  5. Mangrove Pitta
  6. IBSA Forum

National Investigation Agency


Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered an FIR (First Information Report) against two men who were previously arrested for allegedly Radicalizing youth.


GS II- Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the NIA?
  2. When did the NIA come into being?
  3. What are the scheduled offences?
  4. How wide is NIA’s jurisdiction?
  5. How wide is NIA’s jurisdiction?

What is the NIA?

  • It is a central agency mandated to investigate all the offences affecting the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign states, and the offences under the statutory laws enacted to implement international treaties, agreements, conventions and resolutions of the United Nations, its agencies and other international organisations.
  • These include terror acts and their possible links with crimes like smuggling of arms, drugs and fake Indian currency and infiltration from across the borders.
  • The agency has the power to search, seize, arrest and prosecute those involved in such offences.
  • Headquartered in Delhi, the NIA has its branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur, Jammu, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Chennai, Imphal, Bengaluru and Patna.

When did the NIA come into being?

  • In the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in November 2008, which shocked the entire world, the then United Progressive Alliance government decided to establish the NIA.
  • In December 2008, former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram introduced the National Investigation Agency Bill.
  • The Home Minister had then said the agency would deal with only eight laws mentioned in the schedule and that a balance had been struck between the right of the State and duties of the Central government to investigate the more important cases.
  • The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
  • The agency came into existence on December 31, 2008, and started its functioning in 2009.
  • Till date, the NIA has registered 447 cases.

What are the scheduled offences?

  • The list includes the Explosive Substances Act, Atomic Energy Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Anti-Hijacking Act, Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, SAARC Convention (Suppression of Terrorism) Act, Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act and relevant offences under the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and the Information Technology Act.
  • In September 2020, the Centre empowered the NIA to also probe offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act that are connected to terror cases.

How wide is NIA’s jurisdiction?

The law under which the agency operates extends to the whole of India and also applies to Indian citizens outside the country; persons in the service of the government wherever they are posted; persons on ships and aircraft registered in India wherever they may be; persons who commit a scheduled offence beyond India against the Indian citizen or affecting the interest of India.

How does the NIA take up a probe?

  • As provided under Section 6 of the Act, State governments can refer the cases pertaining to the scheduled offences registered at any police station to the Central government (Union Home Ministry) for NIA investigation.
  • After assessing the details made available, the Centre can then direct the agency to take over the case.
  • State governments are required to extend all assistance to the NIA.
  • Even when the Central government is of the opinion that a scheduled offence has been committed which is required to be investigated under the Act, it may, suo motu, direct the agency to take up/over the probe.
  • Where the Central government finds that a scheduled offence has been committed at any place outside India to which this Act extends, it can also direct the NIA to register the case and take up investigation.
  • While investigating any scheduled offence, the agency can also investigate any other offence which the accused is alleged to have committed if the offence is connected to the scheduled offence.

-Source: The Hindu

Civil Union


Same sex marriage issue in SC: The CJI clarified that the hearing’s scope would be limited to developing a notion of a “civil union” that finds legal recognition under the Special Marriage Act.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a civil union?
  2. Differences Between Civil Union and Marriage in the US
  3. Countries that Allow Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

What is a civil union?

  • A “civil union” refers to the legal status that allows same-sex couples specific rights and responsibilities normally conferred upon married couples.
  • Although a civil union resembles a marriage and brings with it employment, inheritance, property, and parental rights, there are some differences between the two.

Differences Between Civil Union and Marriage in the US

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) legalised same-sex marriages across the nation with its landmark ruling in “Obergefell v. Hodges”.
  • Prior to this ruling, a majority of the US states had civil union laws that allowed same-sex couples to marry, without providing them formal recognition of the same.
Key Differences:
  • Recognition: Civil unions were recognized solely by issuing states and not by federal law, whereas marriages were recognized both at the state and federal levels.
  • Uniformity of Benefits: Couples in civil unions were not able to enjoy the benefits of being in a civil union uniformly across all states, due to variations in state laws.
  • Spousal Privilege: Civil unions provided spousal privileges similar to those given under Section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act, whereas marriages automatically provided this privilege.
  • Conversion: In the wake of the legalisation of same-sex marriages, several civil unions were converted into marriages.
Benefits of Civil Unions:
  • Inheritance rights
  • Employment benefits to spouses
  • Joint parenting or joint ownership rights
  • The right to abstain from testifying against one’s partner

Countries that Allow Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

  • Sweden: Before legalising same-sex marriages in 2009, Sweden allowed civil unions for LGBTQ couples.
  • Norway: From 1993, same-sex couples in Norway could enter into civil unions. A new law was passed 15 years later that allowed such couples to marry, adopt and undergo state-sponsored artificial insemination.
  • Austria: Same-sex couples in Austria could form civil partnerships between 2010-2017. However, a court ruling deemed civil unions discriminatory in January 2019, leading to the legalisation of same-sex marriages.
  • Similarly, countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Andorra, and Chile had also recognised the right of same sex couples to enter into civil unions, even before they formally recognised their legal right to marriage.

-Source: Indian Express

Latest Developments in Yemen


Hundreds of prisoners captured during the war in Yemen were reunited with their families  amid diplomatic efforts to halt the conflict. The main warring sides in Yemen are the Iran-backed Houthis and the pro-Yemen government, Saudi-led coalition.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Prisoner swap
  2. Yemen Prisoner Swap and Stockholm Agreement
  3. Background and Causes of the Yemen War
  4. Impact of the war in Yemen

About Prisoner swap

  • A prisoner swap, also known as an exchange of prisoners, is an agreement between two parties to release detained individuals in exchange for each other.
  • In this scenario, each party typically agrees to release a certain number of prisoners, and the swap is often negotiated through diplomatic channels or intermediaries.
  • The purpose of a prisoner swap is usually to secure the release of individuals who are being held in foreign countries or by hostile groups, often in the context of a larger political conflict.
  • Prisoner swaps have been used in various conflicts throughout history, including in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.
  • While they can be controversial, some argue that they can be an effective tool in resolving conflicts and improving relations between nations or groups.

Yemen Prisoner Swap and Stockholm Agreement

Yemen recently saw a large-scale prisoner swap between the warring parties, as a result of an agreement reached in March 2021. Here are some key points about the swap and the agreement that led to it:

Prisoner Swap:
  • The two sides agreed in March 2021 to release 887 detainees.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) organized flights to transport 869 of the released detainees to six cities in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
  • An additional 104 detainees were released from Saudi Arabia to Yemen, further adding to the prisoner swap.
  • The prisoner swap is seen as a positive step towards a permanent ceasefire in Yemen.
Stockholm Agreement:
  • The warring parties in control of parts of Yemen signed the Stockholm Agreement in December 2018.
  • The agreement was brokered by the United Nations and committed the parties to freeing conflict-related detainees.
  • The agreement had three main components: the Hudayah agreement, the prisoner exchange agreement, and the Taïz agreement.
  • The Hudayah agreement included a ceasefire in the city of Hodeidah and other clauses like no military reinforcements in the city and strengthened UN presence.
  • The Taïz agreement includes the formation of a joint committee with participation from civil society and the UN.
  • Regenerate response

Background and Causes of the Yemen War

  • The Yemen War started in 2011 as a result of the Arab Spring protests.
  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh handed over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who struggled to tackle the country’s economic and security problems.
  • The Houthis, backed by Iran, took advantage of the situation and captured the Saada province in the north and then the capital, Sana’a, in 2014.
  • This development was concerning for neighbouring Saudi Arabia, which led a coalition of Arab countries to intervene in Yemen in 2015, to prevent the Houthis from consolidating their hold on the country.
  • Despite the coalition’s efforts, the Houthis remained in control of Sana’a and the north of Yemen, and the conflict has continued since then.
  • Only one nationwide truce has occurred in the past six years, in April 2022, when the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition announced a two-month ceasefire ahead of Ramzan

Impact of the war in Yemen

  • Yemen is considered the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN.
  • About 80% of the population is dependent on aid and protection.
  • Over three million people have been displaced from their homes since 2015.
  • Public service sectors, including healthcare, water, sanitation, and education, have either collapsed or are in a dire situation.
  • Yemen has lost $90 billion in economic output due to the war.
  • More than 600,000 people have lost their jobs in Yemen.
  • More than half of Yemen’s population is living in extreme poverty.

-Source: The Hindu



World Hemophilia Day was recently observed to raise awareness about the rare blood disorder and help those suffering from it lead a better life.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Introduction
  2. World Hemophilia Day 2023
  3. What is Hemophilia?
  4. Conclusion


  • Hemophilia Day is observed annually on April 17th by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) to raise awareness about this genetic disorder that affects the blood’s ability to clot.
  • The day is named in honor of Frank Schnabel, a lifelong advocate for those affected by hemophilia.

World Hemophilia Day 2023:

  • The theme for World Hemophilia Day 2023 is “Access for All: Prevention of Bleeds as the Global Standard of Care.”
  • This theme emphasizes the importance of providing access to effective treatment and care for all individuals with hemophilia, regardless of where they live or their financial status.

What is Hemophilia?

  • Hemophilia is a rare genetic disorder that affects the body’s ability to form blood clots.
  • People with hemophilia have deficiencies or abnormalities in certain clotting factors, which are proteins that help the blood clot.
  • Causes: Hemophilia is caused by a mutation or change in one of the genes that provide instructions for making the clotting factor proteins needed to form a blood clot.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of hemophilia can vary depending on the level of clotting factors. Common symptoms include prolonged bleeding from cuts or injuries, spontaneous bleeding, and easy bruising. Males are much more likely to have hemophilia than females.
  • Treatment: The primary treatment for hemophilia involves replacement therapy, which involves infusing clotting factor concentrates into the bloodstream to help the blood clot. Other treatments may include medications to promote clotting or surgery to repair damage caused by bleeding.


  • Hemophilia is a lifelong condition that requires ongoing management and treatment.
  • World Hemophilia Day helps to raise awareness about this rare genetic disorder and the importance of access to effective treatment and care for those affected by it.

-Source: Indian Express

Mangrove Pitta


Odisha forest officials have recently sighted 179 mangrove pitta birds in the first ever census conducted of these exotic and colourful birds in the country.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Mangrove Pitta Bird
  2. Passerine Birds

Mangrove Pitta Bird:

  • The Mangrove Pitta is a species of passerine bird in the Pittidae family.
  • Its scientific name is Pitta megarhyncha.
  • It is native to Southeast Asia and South Asia and can be found in countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand.
  • The bird is commonly found in mangrove and nipa palm forests where it feeds on crustaceans, mollusks and insects.
  • Mangrove Pittas have a distinct appearance, with a black head with brown crown, white throat, greenish upper parts, buff under-parts, and reddish vent area.
  • Its conservation status is classified as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Passerine Birds:

  • Passerines or passeriforms are birds that belong to the order Passeriformes, which is the largest order of birds, containing more than half of all species.
  • They are also referred to as perching birds or songbirds.
  • Passerine birds are terrestrial and can be found on all continents except Antarctica.
  • They are characterized by their feet which have three toes pointing forward and one pointing backward, allowing them to perch on branches.
  • Many passerines are known for their ability to produce songs, and their songs are used for communication and attracting mates.
  • Examples of passerine birds include finches, sparrows, thrushes, warblers, and crows.

-Source: The Hindu

IBSA Forum


The trilateral India-Brazil-South Africa forum is likely to receive increased diplomatic focus, according to persons aware of the matter.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. IBSA Forum
  2. IBSA Fund

 IBSA Forum

  • The IBSA Forum is a trilateral development initiative between India, Brazil, and South Africa that aims to promote cooperation and solidarity among these three countries. Here is a breakdown of the different aspects of the IBSA Forum:
  • The IBSA Forum was established in 2003 as a response to the need for closer cooperation among emerging market countries to promote development, reduce poverty, and address issues of global governance.
  • The name IBSA comes from the first letter of each country’s name.

The main objectives of the IBSA Forum are to strengthen the South-South cooperation and promote the interests of developing countries in the global arena. Some of the specific objectives include:

  • Enhancing cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture, science and technology, and information and communication technology.
  • Promoting cooperation in multilateral fora such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the G20.
  • Sharing experiences and best practices in areas such as poverty reduction, health, education, and social welfare.
  • Supporting peacekeeping and conflict resolution efforts in different parts of the world.
  • Promoting cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts.


  • Development projects are executed with IBSA funding in fellow developing countries through the IBSA Fund (India, Brazil and South Africa Facility for Poverty and Hunger Alleviation).
  • Established in 2004, IBSA Fund is managed by the United Nations (UN) Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC). Each IBSA member country is required to contribute $1 million per annum to the fund.
  • Over the years, the fund has contributed $39 million and partnered in 19 countries from global South to implement 26 projects.
  • Projects have been funded in countries such as Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Burundi, Cambodia, Haiti, Palestine, Vietnam and others.
  • The fund has also been recognised for its good work in the field and has received UN South-South Partnership award 2006, UN MDG (Millenium Development Goals) award 2010, and the South-South and Triangular Cooperation Champions award in 2012.

-Source: Live mint

July 2024