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Current Affairs 28 June 2024

  1. India’s Rooftop Solar Growth and Future Potential
  2. Prime Minister Pays Tribute to Resisters of 1975 National Emergency
  3. Indus Waters Treaty
  4. Kozhikode Recognized as ‘City of Literature’ by UNESCO
  5. Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems
  6. South India’s First and Largest Leopard Safari
  7. Star Clusters


Rooftop solar (RTS) has the potential to revolutionise India’s energy landscape by offering a sustainable, decentralised, and affordable solution to meet the country’s growing electricity needs and making consumers self-reliant. The country’s installed RTS capacity increased by 2.99 GW in 2023-2024, marking the highest growth reported in a single year. As of March 31 this year, the total installed RTS capacity in India was 11.87 GW, according to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.


GS II: Government policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the RTS Programme?
  2. How are the States Faring?
  3. Pradhan Mantri Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana
  4. How Can We Ensure RTS Growth?

What is the RTS Programme?

  • Initiation: The Indian government initiated the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in January 2010 to promote solar energy growth. The initial target was to produce 20 GW of solar energy (including RTS) across three phases: 2010-2013, 2013-2017, and 2017-2022.
  • Revised Target: In 2015, the goal was updated to 100 GW by 2022, with a 40 GW component for RTS, and yearly targets set for each State and Union Territory. As of December 2022, India had installed about 7.5 GW of RTS, extending the 40 GW target deadline to 2026.
  • Drivers of Improvement: The growth in RTS installations has been spurred by initiatives like the Sustainable Partnership for RTS Acceleration in Bharat (SUPRABHA) and SRISTI schemes, along with financial incentives, technological advancements, awareness campaigns, and training programs.
  • Potential: India’s overall RTS potential is approximately 796 GW, with several States yet to fully harness their capacities. To meet the 2030 target of 500 GW of renewable energy (280 GW from solar) and net-zero goals by 2070, RTS must contribute about 100 GW by 2030.

How are the States Faring?

  • Gujarat: With an RTS capacity of 3,456 MW, driven by proactive policies, efficient approval processes, numerous RTS installers, and high consumer awareness. Modhera, India’s first solar-powered village, houses 1,300 RTS systems of 1 kW each.
  • Maharashtra: Achieved 2,072 MW of RTS, supported by robust solar policies and a conducive regulatory environment.
  • Rajasthan: Boasts the highest RTS potential with a capacity of 1,154 MW, facilitated by streamlined approvals, financial incentives, and public–private partnerships.
  • Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka: Achieved capacities of 675 MW, 599 MW, and 594 MW, respectively.
  • Challenges in Other States: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand face bureaucratic hurdles, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of public awareness.

Pradhan Mantri Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana

  • Objective: The ‘Pradhan Mantri Surya Ghar: Muft Bijli Yojana’ aims to fit 1 crore households with RTS systems, providing up to 300 units of free electricity per month. An average system size of 2 kW will add 20 GW to RTS capacity.
  • Financial Outlay: Rs 75,021 crore, including Rs 65,700 crore for consumer assistance, Rs 4,950 crore for distribution company incentives, and funds for local bodies, model solar villages, innovative projects, payment security, capacity building, awareness, and outreach.
  • Capacity Building: Rs 657 crore set aside to create a skilled workforce capable of installing, operating, and maintaining RTS systems, promoting advanced solar technologies, energy storage solutions, and smart grid infrastructure.
  • Awareness and Outreach: Rs 657 crore allocated for targeting rural and urban areas, prioritizing regions with limited electricity access, high solar potential, and vulnerable communities.

How Can We Ensure RTS Growth?

  1. Awareness Campaigns: Distribution companies and local bodies should lead grassroots-level campaigns, including door-to-door promotion, strategically planned for long-term implementation.
  2. Economic Viability: Government subsidies and multiple low-cost financing options, such as easy access to RTS loans, should make RTS economically viable for households.
  3. R&D Promotion: Investment in solar technology, energy storage, and smart-grid infrastructure to reduce costs, improve performance, and enhance RTS reliability. Utilizing technology like drone and satellite imagery for feasibility assessments and optimal RTS design.
  4. Training and Skill Development: Accelerate training programs like ‘Suryamitra’ to build a skilled workforce for RTS infrastructure.
  5. Policy and Regulation Review: Update RTS policies including net-metering regulations, grid-integration standards, and building codes to address emerging challenges and facilitate smooth implementation. Fast-track virtual net-metering and group net-metering for consumers with inadequate roof space.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, the Prime Minister of India paid homage to the men and women who resisted the National Emergency of 1975. 25th June 2024 marked the 49th anniversary of the declaration of the national emergency in India.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is an Emergency?
  2. Types of Emergency in the Indian Constitution
  3. How Many Times Emergency was Imposed in India?
  4. Impacts of Imposing National Emergency in 1975
  5. Lessons and Consequences
  6. Evolving Role of Judicial Activism
  7. Changes in Political Parties’ Attitude

What is an Emergency?

  • Definition: An emergency refers to legal provisions within a nation’s constitution or laws that allow the government to act swiftly in response to extraordinary circumstances like war, rebellion, or crises threatening the nation’s stability, security, sovereignty, or democracy.
  • Articles: These provisions are detailed in Articles 352 to 360 under Part XVIII of the Constitution.
  • Inspiration: The emergency clauses in the Indian Constitution are influenced by the Weimar Constitution of Germany.
  • Significance: These provisions grant the executive branch temporary powers to bypass standard legislative procedures, restrict certain rights and freedoms, and implement policies that would usually be outside its jurisdiction under normal circumstances.

Types of Emergency in the Indian Constitution

National Emergency (Article 352):
  • Conditions: Under Article 352, the President can declare a state of emergency if the nation’s security is threatened by war, external aggression (External Emergency), or armed rebellion (Internal Emergency). The term ‘armed rebellion’ was introduced by the 44th amendment, replacing ‘internal disturbance’.
  • Powers: The declaration allows the executive to suspend fundamental rights (except Articles 20 and 21) and take necessary actions to manage the crisis.
  • Approval: The proclamation must be approved by both houses of Parliament within one month. If issued when the Lok Sabha is dissolved, it survives until 30 days after the first sitting of the reconstituted Lok Sabha, with Rajya Sabha’s approval.
  • Duration: Once approved, the emergency can last for six months and be extended indefinitely with six-monthly parliamentary approvals by a special majority.
  • Revocation: The President can revoke the emergency without parliamentary approval, but it must be revoked if the Lok Sabha passes a resolution by a simple majority.
  • Scope: The proclamation can apply to the entire country or a specific part, as allowed by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
State Emergency or President Rule (Article 356):
  • Imposition Examples:
    • Maharashtra (2019): Imposed for a short period due to political uncertainty post-assembly elections.
    • Uttarakhand (2020): Imposed briefly due to a political crisis involving a floor test.
    • Uttar Pradesh (1991-1992): Following the assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and ensuing instability.
    • Punjab (1987-1992): Due to heightened militancy and internal disturbances.
  • Judicial Review: The Supreme Court, in cases like S.R. Bommai vs Union of India (1994) and Rameshwar Prasad vs Union of India (2006), has set guidelines for the use of Article 356, establishing that imposing President’s Rule is subject to judicial review. The President’s satisfaction must be based on relevant material, and the State Legislative Assembly should only be dissolved after Parliament’s approval.
Financial Emergency (Article 360):
  • Conditions: The President can declare a financial emergency if the financial stability or credit of India or any part is threatened.
  • Powers: During such an emergency, the President can reduce the salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons in civil services, including judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts. The central government also gains control over state financial resources.
  • Approval: The proclamation must be approved by both houses of Parliament within two months. If not approved, it ceases to have effect. The President can revoke or vary the proclamation at any time.
  • History: Unlike national and state emergencies, a financial emergency has never been proclaimed in India.

How Many Times Emergency was Imposed in India?

  • Occurrences: National Emergency has been proclaimed 3 times in India:
    • Indo-China War (1962): Declared due to “external aggression” during the Sino-Indian War.
    • Indo-Pak War (1971): Imposed on grounds of “external aggression” during the Indo-Pakistani War.
    • 1975-1977: The most controversial, declared due to “internal disturbance” amidst political unrest, leading to significant suspension of civil liberties.

Impacts of Imposing National Emergency in 1975:

  • Constitution (39th Amendment) Act, 1975: Enacted in response to the Allahabad High Court’s ruling declaring PM Indira Gandhi’s election void. Placed disputes involving the president, Vice President, prime minister, and Speaker beyond the judiciary’s scope and included certain Central Acts in the Ninth Schedule.
  • Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976: Increased central government and Prime Minister’s office power by allowing the deployment of forces in states and overriding state laws during emergencies, limiting judicial review, extending Parliament and state assemblies’ terms, and allowing laws overriding fundamental rights in anti-national activities.
  • Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978: Sought to rectify the imbalances created by the 42nd Amendment, restoring the primacy of fundamental rights. Key changes included limiting the suspension of rights under Article 21, reinforcing the Supreme Court’s power to review presidential proclamations, and requiring the President to act on the cabinet’s written recommendation before declaring a national emergency under Article 352.

Lessons and Consequences:

  • Democratic Integrity: The emergency period serves as a reminder of the importance of democracy and the dangers of unrestrained executive authority.
  • Media Control: Strict media control stifled dissent and limited access to information, leading to grassroots movements and underground press challenging the government’s narrative.
    • Navnirman Andolan in Gujarat: Advocated for democratic rights and social justice.
    • Jayaprakash Narayan Movement in Bihar: Called for social and political reforms.
    • George Fernandes-led Railway Strike: Demonstrated worker solidarity and dissent against government policies.

Evolving Role of Judicial Activism:

  • Judicial Review: The Emergency highlighted fluctuating judicial activism, with cases like ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla, 1976 upholding the suspension of fundamental rights, but subsequent judgments reaffirming a commitment to uphold fundamental rights.
    • Habeas Corpus Petitions: Filed by detained individuals during the Emergency, challenging the government’s actions.
    • State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain, 1975: Supreme Court ruled PM Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices, highlighting judicial independence.
    • Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India 1978: SC overruled ADM Jabalpur, re-establishing the primacy of fundamental rights, limiting the power to suspend them during emergencies, and giving a new dimension to Article 21.

Changes in Political Parties’ Attitude:

  • United Opposition: The Emergency united previously disparate opposition parties, underscoring the importance of a strong opposition in a democracy and valuing democratic processes, making political parties wary of similar measures in the future.

-Source: Economic Times


Recently, a five-member Pakistani delegation was flown to Jammu’s Kishtwar to inspect power projects set up on the rivers covered under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) of 1960.


GS-II: International Relations (India and its Neighborhood, International Treaties, Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)
  2. Indus River Basin

About the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

  • The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank, to use the water available in the Indus River and its tributaries.
  • The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed in Karachi in 1960.
  • The Treaty gives control over the waters of the three “eastern rivers” — the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej to India, while control over the waters of the three “western rivers” — the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum to Pakistan.
  • India was allocated about 16% of the total water carried by the Indus system while Pakistan was allocated the remainder.
  • The treaty allows India to use the Western River waters (the ones in Pakistan’s control) for limited irrigation use and unlimited non-consumptive use for such applications as power generation, navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc.
  • It lays down detailed regulations for India in building projects over the western rivers.
  • The preamble of the treaty recognises the rights and obligations of each country in the optimum use of water from the Indus system in a spirit of goodwill, friendship and cooperation.

Indus River Basin

  • The Indus River (also called the Sindhū) is one of the longest rivers in Asia and the longest river of Pakistan.
  • It flows through China (western Tibet), India (Ladakh) and Pakistan.
  • Its estimated annual flow is estimated to be twice that of the Nile River making it one of the largest rivers in the world in terms of annual flow.
  • The Zanskar river is its left bank tributary in Ladakh.
  • In the plains, its left bank tributary is the Panjnad which itself has five major tributaries, namely, the Chenab, Jhelum, the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej.
  • Its principal right bank tributaries are the Shyok, the Gilgit, the Kabul, the Gomal, and the Kurram.

-Source: The Hindu


Recently, UNESCO recognized Kozhikode as the ‘City of Literature’ under the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).


GS I: Culture

What is UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network (UCCN)?

  • Overview:
    • The UCCN was established in 2004 to foster collaboration among cities that see creativity as a key element for sustainable urban development.
    • Currently, it encompasses 350 cities across more than 100 countries.
    • The network aims to advance UNESCO’s objectives of cultural diversity and enhance resilience to challenges like climate change, increasing inequality, and rapid urbanization.
  • Purpose:
    • The network leverages the creative, social, and economic potential of cultural industries.
    • It promotes a culture of creativity in urban planning and solutions to urban issues.
  • Benefits to Member Cities:
    • Recognizes creativity as vital for urban development through partnerships with public and private sectors and civil society.
    • Develops hubs of creativity and innovation, expanding opportunities for creators and cultural professionals.
    • Aligns with the UN agenda of sustainable development.
  • Implementation:
    • Objectives are realized at both local and international levels by sharing experiences, knowledge, and best practices.
    • Includes professional and artistic exchange programs, research, and evaluations on the experiences of creative cities.
The Annual Conference of Network Cities
  • Purpose:
    • A major event is the annual conference of mayors and stakeholders from network cities.
    • It strengthens ties among creative cities globally.
    • Past conferences were held in Santos, Brazil, and Istanbul. The next will be in July 2024 in Braga, Portugal.
  • Membership Monitoring:
    • Every four years, cities submit a Membership Monitoring Report.
    • This report demonstrates commitment to the UCCN Mission Statement.
    • Includes an action plan for the next four years, highlighting achievements, lessons learned, and the impact of the designation.
Indian Cities in the Network
  • Notable Cities:
    • Besides Kozhikode and Gwalior, cities like Varanasi (music), Srinagar (crafts and folk arts), and Chennai (music) are part of the network.

-Source: The Hindu


Ahead of the implementation of the new criminal laws, at least 23 modifications have been made to the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS).


GS III: Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS):
  2. About National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

About Crime and Criminal Tracking Networks and Systems (CCTNS):

  • Concept and Implementation: CCTNS was envisioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs under India’s National e-Governance Plan and has been executed as a “Mission Mode Project (MMP)” since 2009.
  • Purpose: This project aims to create a comprehensive and integrated system to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at police stations nationwide.
  • Integration Goal: It seeks to interlink all police stations through a unified application software for investigation, data analytics, research, policymaking, and Citizen Services like complaint reporting and tracking, and requests for antecedent verifications by police.
  • Accessibility: Crime and criminal records available at one police station will be accessible to any other police office.
  • Objectives:
    • Make police operations more citizen-friendly and transparent by automating police station functions.
    • Improve delivery of citizen-centric services through effective use of ICT.
    • Equip Investigating Officers of the Civil Police with tools, technology, and information to facilitate crime investigation and criminal detection.
    • Enhance police functionality in areas like Law and Order, Traffic Management, etc.
    • Enable interaction and information sharing among Police Stations, Districts, State/UT Headquarters, and other Police Agencies.
    • Support senior Police Officers in better managing the Police Force.
    • Track case progress, including court proceedings.
    • Minimize manual and redundant record-keeping.
  • Collaboration: The project is implemented through close cooperation between States and the Union Government.
  • Management: The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is the central nodal agency overseeing CCTNS.

About National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):

  • Establishment: Founded in 1986 to serve as a repository of information on crime and criminals.
  • Affiliation: Operates under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India.
  • Foundation: Based on recommendations from the Tandon Committee, the National Police Commission (1977-1981), and the Home Ministry’s Task Force.
  • Responsibilities: Collects and analyzes crime data and acts as a repository to aid investigators in tracing crimes and criminals.
  • Headquarters: Located in New Delhi.
  • Central Finger Print Bureau: Acts as a national repository for all fingerprints in the country.
  • Publications: Compiles and publishes National Crime Statistics, including Crime in India, Accidental Deaths & Suicides, and Prison Statistics.
  • Capacity Building: Assists various States in capacity building in IT, CCTNS, Fingerprints, Network security, and Digital Forensics.

-Source: The Hindu


South India’s first and the country’s largest leopard safari was recently inaugurated at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP).


Facts for Prelims

About Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP):

  • Origin and Establishment: BBP evolved as a distinct entity from Bannerghatta National Park in 2002.
  • Purpose: Aimed at catering to the increasing need for eco-recreation, eco-tourism, and conservation, initially comprising 545.00 hectares from the National Park and later expanding to 731.88 hectares.
  • Location: Situated approximately 22 kilometers south of Bengaluru city, Karnataka.
  • Units: Comprises a Zoo, Safari, Butterfly Park, and Rescue Centre for the conservation of captive animals.
  • Notable Feature: The first biological park in India with a fenced, forested elephant sanctuary.

Key Facts about Bannerghatta National Park:

  • Location: Positioned near Bangalore, Karnataka, within the Anekal range.
  • Establishment: Declared a National Park in 1974.
  • Significant Development: In 2006, the park inaugurated India’s first butterfly enclosure.
  • Water Source: The Suvarnamukhi stream flows through the center, serving as the main water source for the park’s fauna.
  • Vegetation Types: Encompasses Dry Deciduous Scrub Forests, Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Forests, and Southern Tropical Moist Mixed Forests.
  • Flora: Includes species like Narcissus latifolia, Schleichera oleosa, Sandalwood, Neem, Tamarind, Bamboo, and Eucalyptus.
  • Fauna: Hosts various species, including the endangered Asian Elephant, Indian gaur, Tiger, Sambar deer, Spotted deer, Leopard, Wild dog, Wild pig, Sloth bear, Common mongoose, Pangolin, Slender loris, and Black-naped hare.

-Source: The Hindu


Astronomers recently discovered five young star clusters, and possibly the oldest star clusters ever, born from the time when the Universe was an infant.


Facts for Prelims

About Star Clusters:

  • Definition: A star cluster consists of stellar groups held together by the mutual gravitational attraction of its members, which share a common origin.
  • Importance: Star clusters are vital for astronomers to study and model stellar evolution and ages.
  • Categories: There are two main types of stellar clusters: open clusters (also known as galactic clusters) and globular clusters.
Open (Galactic) Clusters:
  • Characteristics:
    • Named because their individual component stars are easily resolved through a telescope.
    • Often located on the dusty spiral arms of spiral galaxies.
    • Stars in an open cluster originate from the same initial giant molecular cloud.
    • They contain from a dozen to many hundreds of stars, usually arranged unsymmetrically.
Globular Clusters:
  • Characteristics:
    • Comprise several thousand to one million stars in a spherical, gravitationally-bound system.
    • Mostly located in the halo surrounding the galactic plane, containing the oldest stars in the galaxy.
    • There is little free dust or gas, so no new star formation occurs.
    • Stellar densities within the inner regions are very high compared to regions around the Sun.
  • Definition: Groups made up of a few dozen to hundreds of stars of similar type and common origin, with a density in space lower than that of the surrounding field, are also recognized as associations.

-Source: Indian Express

July 2024