15 March 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs

15-March -2024- Top News of the Day

1. President Droupadi Murmu Approves Uttarakhand’s Uniform Civil Code Bill: A Step Towards Equality and Harmony

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as this analysis delves into the constitutional provisions under Article 201, which empower the President to give assent to state bills. It also highlights the role of legislative bodies, executive actions, and committees in the governance process.

  • President Droupadi Murmu has approved the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) Bill in Uttarakhand, as announced by the government of the Himalayan state.
  • The approval comes after the bill was passed by the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly in February.
  • The bill aims to regulate laws related to marriage, divorce, successions, live-in relationships, and associated matters.
  • This move signifies a significant step towards standardizing civil laws in the state and ensuring equality among its citizens.
More about the news:

Legislative Process and Approval: Passage of the UCC Bill:

  • The Uttarakhand Uniform Civil Code Bill underwent a thorough legislative process before receiving approval from President Murmu. It was passed by the state Assembly after a two-day discussion in February.
  • The bill’s passage reflects a collective effort by lawmakers to address various legal aspects concerning civil matters such as marriage, divorce, and succession.
  • The government’s initiative to enact this bill underscores its commitment to modernize legal frameworks and ensure societal harmony within the state.

Implementation Framework: Formation of Rules Making and Implementation Committee:

  • Following the passage of the UCC Bill, the state government established a Rules Making and Implementation Committee to oversee its implementation.
  • This committee, led by retired IAS officer Shatrughan Singh, is tasked with formulating detailed rules for enforcing the provisions outlined in the bill.

Role of the Committee: Defining Implementation Guidelines:

  • While the UCC Bill sets the framework for uniform civil laws, the Rules Making and Implementation Committee holds the responsibility of defining specific guidelines for its implementation.
  • These guidelines will delineate how the provisions of the bill are to be enforced, ensuring clarity and consistency in legal proceedings.
  • The committee’s deliberations and subsequent rules will shape the practical application of the UCC across different aspects of civil law, including marriage registration, live-in relationships, and training for government officials.

Future Steps: Formalization of Rules and Notification of the Act:

  • The official notification of the UCC Act will be issued once the Rules Making and Implementation Committee finalizes the implementation guidelines.
  • This signifies that the bill’s approval marks the beginning of a broader process aimed at ensuring effective enforcement of uniform civil laws in Uttarakhand.
  • The government’s commitment to upholding citizen rights and maintaining social harmony, as articulated by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, underscores the significance of this legislative development in advancing the state’s legal framework and societal values.


  • President Droupadi Murmu’s approval of the Uniform Civil Code Bill in Uttarakhand represents a milestone in the state’s legal history.
  • It signifies a move towards standardized civil laws aimed at ensuring equality and justice for all citizens.
  • The formation of the Rules Making and Implementation Committee reflects a proactive approach by the government to translate legislative intent into actionable measures.
  • As Uttarakhand progresses towards formalizing the implementation guidelines, the UCC holds the potential to promote social equality, curb oppression, and foster harmony within the state’s diverse communities.
Why was the Bill Sent for President’s Approval?

Ambiguous Nature of Subject Matter:

  • Article 162 of the Indian Constitution indicates that the executive power of a State extends to matters with respect to which the State Legislature has power to make laws.
  • In view of the provisions of Entry 5 of the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule, the constitution of a Committee to introduce and implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC) per se cannot be challenged as ultra vires.
  • Entry 5 of the Concurrent List deals with “marriage and divorce; infants and minors; adoption; wills, intestacy, and succession; joint family and partition; all matters in respect of which parties in judicial proceedings were immediately before the commencement of this Constitution subject to their personal law.
Power of Governors to Reserve the Bill:
  • Governors may reserve the bill for the consideration of the president. The reservation is obligatory where the bill passed by the state legislature endangers the position of the state high court. However, the governor can also reserve the bill if it is of the following nature:
  • Against the provisions of the Constitution
  • Opposed to the DPSP
  • Against the larger interest of the country
  • Of grave national importance
  • Deals with compulsory acquisition of property under Article 31A of the Constitution.
  • In this case, the bill overrides several national laws such as Special Marriages Act,1954, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Shariat Act,1937 etc, and hence was sent for the President’s approval before implementation.
PYQ: Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2015)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of President Droupadi Murmu’s approval of the Uniform Civil Code Bill in Uttarakhand for Indian governance and society. How does this legislative development reflect the principles of federalism and the role of the executive in lawmaking? (250 words/15 m)

2. Prasar Bharati Unveils PB-SHABD: Free News Content Service for Media Organizations Ahead of Lok Sabha Polls

Topic: Important topic for Prelims
  • Prasar Bharati, the public broadcaster, has introduced a new service named PB-SHABD (Prasar Bharati-Shared Audio Visuals for Broadcast and Dissemination) ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
  • This initiative aims to provide free content across various mediums, including newsfeed, videos, audio, text, and images, without any copyright or credit obligations.
  • Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, unveiled this service, highlighting its availability to all news organizations registered with the ministry.
More about the news:

Accessibility and Scope: Free Service for News Organizations:

  • PB-SHABD will be offered as a free service to registered news organizations for one year, encompassing newspapers, periodicals, TV channels, and social media news channels recognized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • The content, which includes diverse formats such as newsfeed, videos, audio, text, and images, will be accessible through DD News and Akashvani News websites, as well as the updated News on Air mobile app. However, the content will not be directly available to end users.

Objective and Significance:

  • Minister Thakur emphasized Prasar Bharati’s extensive network for news gathering and delivery, intending to share this accurate and meaningful content with the wider print and electronic media industry.
  • This initiative is expected to support smaller news organizations by providing them with clean feed without the obligation to display the Doordarshan logo, thereby facilitating their operations.

Implementation and Outreach:

  • PB-SHABD will be offered free of cost for the first year as an introductory offer, delivering news stories across various Indian languages and covering 50 categories.
  • Prasar Bharati CEO, Gaurav Dwivedi, highlighted plans to reach out to media organizations and share audio, video, photo, and text-based information gathered by its extensive network.


  • The launch of PB-SHABD by Prasar Bharati underscores its commitment to democratizing access to news content and supporting media diversity.
  • By offering this service free of charge and without copyright constraints, Prasar Bharati aims to foster collaboration within the media industry and ensure the dissemination of accurate and diverse information.
  • The success of this initiative will depend on its adoption by news organizations and the quality of content shared, which will ultimately shape its impact on Indian governance and society.
What is Prasar Bharti?
  • It is the Public Service Broadcaster of the country.
  • It is a statutory autonomous body established in 1997 under the Prasar Bharati Act.
  • Objective: To conduct public broadcasting services intended to inform and entertain the public.
  • It comprises the Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio, which were earlier media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • Headquarter: New Delhi


3. European Union Lawmakers Finalize Groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence Act, Setting Global Standards for AI Regulation

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Important aspects of governance: E-governance – applications, models, successes, limitations and potential

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding how the European Union has crafted regulations for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence which provides insights into global governance frameworks and policy-making processes.

  • The European Union (EU) lawmakers have granted final approval to the bloc’s Artificial Intelligence Act, marking a significant milestone in regulating artificial intelligence (AI) within the region.
  • This legislation, which has been in the making for five years, is poised to become a global benchmark for governments worldwide grappling with the challenges of regulating rapidly evolving technologies.
  • The approval of the AI Act underscores the EU’s proactive stance in shaping the future of AI governance with a focus on human-centric principles and societal well-being.
More about the news:

Human-Centric Approach: Nudging AI in a Responsible Direction:

  • European Parliament’s overwhelming support for the Artificial Intelligence Act reflects a commitment to steering AI development towards a human-centric direction.
  • Lawmakers emphasize the importance of ensuring human control over AI technology while leveraging its potential for driving economic growth, societal progress, and unlocking human potential.
  • This approach signifies a concerted effort to balance technological innovation with ethical considerations and societal values.

Industry Response and Regulatory Landscape: Balancing Interests:

  • Major tech companies have generally acknowledged the need for AI regulation while advocating for rules that align with their interests.
  • The AI Act’s passage has prompted discussions within the industry, with voices such as OpenAI CEO Sam Altman highlighting the importance of compliance while expressing concerns about potential repercussions.
  • The legislation aims to strike a balance between fostering innovation and addressing risks associated with AI deployment, reflecting the EU’s commitment to consumer safety and responsible technology adoption.

Risk-Based Regulation: Addressing Diverse AI Applications:

  • The AI Act adopts a risk-based approach to regulating AI applications, distinguishing between low-risk and high-risk uses.
  • While low-risk AI systems, such as content recommendation algorithms, are subject to voluntary requirements and codes of conduct, high-risk applications, including medical devices and critical infrastructure, face stringent obligations regarding data quality and user transparency.
  • The legislation also prohibits certain AI uses deemed to pose unacceptable risks, such as social scoring systems and invasive surveillance technologies.

Adaptation to Technological Advancements:

  • The EU policymakers have demonstrated agility in responding to technological advancements, particularly the rise of general-purpose AI models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
  • Provisions have been added to the AI Act to address generative AI models, ensuring regulatory oversight over systems capable of producing lifelike responses, images, and more.
  • Developers of such models are required to provide detailed summaries of training data and comply with EU copyright law to enhance transparency and accountability.


  • The approval of the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act represents a significant step towards establishing comprehensive regulations for AI governance.
  • By prioritizing human-centric values, addressing diverse AI applications, and adapting to technological advancements, the legislation aims to foster innovation while safeguarding societal interests.
  • As the Act moves towards formal implementation, it is expected to set a global precedent for AI regulation and shape the future trajectory of AI development and deployment worldwide.
What is India’s Strategy Regarding AI Regulation?


  • India is yet to have a comprehensive framework for regulating AI. However, India has shifted from a stance of not considering AI regulation to actively formulating regulations based on a risk-based, user-harm approach.
  • Advocacy for Inclusive and Responsible AI:
  • India’s initial national AI strategy, #AIFORALL, aimed at inclusivity, debuted in 2018.
  • NITI Aayog’s National Strategy for AI (2018) included a chapter on responsible AI.
  • In 2021, NITI Aayog issued a paper, ‘Principle of Responsible AI’. Seven broad principles were enumerated in the paper: equality, safety and reliability, inclusivity and non-discrimination, transparency, accountability, privacy and reinforcement of positive human value.
  • In March 2023, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology introduced IndiaAI, the national program on AI, aimed at serving as a comprehensive initiative to cover all AI-related research and innovations.
  • In July, 2023 Telecom Regulatory Authority of India issued a paper, that recommended setting up a domestic statutory authority to regulate AI through the lens of a “risk-based framework” and constitution of an advisory body with members from multiple government departments, academia and experts.
  • Major Sector-specific AI Frameworks in India:
  • Healthcare Sector:
  • Indian Council of Medical Research issued ethical guidelines for AI in biomedical research and healthcare in June 2023.
  • Capital Market:
  • SEBI issued a circular in January 2019 to guide policies and create an inventory for AI systems in the capital market.
  • Education Sector:
  • National Education Policy 2020 recommends AI awareness integration in school courses.

PYQ: With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (2020)

1) Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units

2) Create meaningful short stories and songs

3) Disease diagnosis

4) Text-to-Speech Conversion

5) Wireless transmission of electrical energy

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 4 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (b)

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act in shaping global governance frameworks for emerging technologies. How does the Act reflect the EU’s approach towards balancing innovation with societal interests and promoting human-centric AI development? (250 words/15 m)


4. High-Level Committee Recommends Constitutional Amendments for Simultaneous Elections

Topic: GS2 – Polity – Indian Constitution – Amendments

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the recommendations of the High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election which involves significant constitutional amendments and governance reforms.

  • The High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election, chaired by former President Ram Nath Kovind, has proposed recommendations to synchronize Lok Sabha, state Assembly, municipal, and panchayat elections within 100 days of each other.
  • The committee suggests significant constitutional amendments to facilitate this transition, with implications for both national and local electoral processes.
More about the news:

Transition to Simultaneous Elections:

  • The committee proposes the introduction of two Constitution Amendment Bills to enact these recommendations.
  • The first bill focuses on transitioning to simultaneous elections for Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.
  • It suggests the insertion of a new article, Article 82A, which establishes the process for initiating simultaneous elections and outlines the procedures for the dissolution and reconstitution of legislative bodies.

Expansion of Parliament’s Powers:

  • The first bill also recommends expanding Parliament’s powers under Article 327 of the Constitution to include the conduct of simultaneous elections.
  • This expansion would grant Parliament authority over various aspects of electoral processes beyond its current scope.

Handling of Dissolved Houses:

  • The committee addresses the scenario of Lok Sabha or state Assemblies being dissolved before the completion of their full term.
  • It recommends amendments to Articles 83 and 172 to define the remaining period as the “unexpired term” and establish guidelines for the replacement legislative bodies until simultaneous elections are conducted.

Constitutional Amendment Process:

  • The proposed amendments under the first bill do not require consultation with state governments or ratification by state Assemblies.
  • This highlights the committee’s intention to streamline the process of implementing simultaneous elections at the national and state levels.

Local Body Elections and Electoral Roll Preparation:

  • The second Constitution Amendment Bill focuses on municipal and panchayat elections and requires ratification by state legislatures.
  • It introduces a new Article 324A to empower Parliament to legislate on the synchronization of local body polls with general elections.
  • Additionally, the committee recommends amendments to Article 325 to establish a single electoral roll prepared by the Election Commission in consultation with State Election Commissions.

Implications and Challenges:

  • While the recommendations aim to streamline the electoral process and enhance efficiency, they raise concerns regarding federalism and local governance.
  • The centralization of electoral processes and the potential reduction of states’ autonomy in conducting elections could pose challenges to India’s federal structure.
  • Additionally, the proposed amendments may necessitate significant logistical and administrative changes to ensure effective implementation.


  • The recommendations put forth by the High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election represent a significant proposal to synchronize various levels of elections in India.
  • However, their implementation would require careful consideration of constitutional principles, federal dynamics, and logistical challenges to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the electoral process at both national and local levels.
What are the Challenges Associated with ONOE?

Constitutional Concerns and Mid-Tenure Collapse:

  • Article 83(2) and 172 of the Constitution outline a five-year tenure for Lok Sabha and State Assemblies unless dissolved earlier.
  • The concept of ONOE raises questions about the repercussions if the Central or State government collapses mid-tenure.
  • The dilemma of whether to hold elections in every State or impose President’s Rule complicates the constitutional framework.

Logistical Challenges in Implementing ONOE:

  • The implementation of ONOE poses significant logistical challenges, including the availability and security of electronic voting machines, personnel, and other resources.
  • The EC may encounter difficulties in managing such a massive electoral exercise, adding complexity to the ONOE proposal.
  • Federalism Concerns and Law Commission’s Findings:
  • ONOE clashes with the concept of federalism, contrary to the idea of India as a “Union of States” specified in Article 1.
  • Simultaneous elections are an attack on the autonomy and independence of state governments. This can not only weaken this federal structure but also increase the conflict of interest between the Centre and states.
  • The terms of state governments vary, and some states are given special provisions under Article 371 of the Constitution.
  • The Law Commission, under Justice B. S. Chauhan, reported that simultaneous elections are not feasible within the existing constitutional framework.
  • Amendments to the Constitution, Representation of the People Act 1951, and Rules of Procedure of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies would be required.

Recurrence of Elections and Democratic Benefits:

  • The current system of recurrent elections is seen as beneficial in a democracy, allowing voters to express their voices more frequently.
  • This setup prevents the blending of issues between national and State polls, ensuring greater accountability.
  • The distinctive demands and needs of each state are maintained under the present framework.

Biased Democratic Structure:

  • A 2015 study by the IDFC Institute highlights a 77% chance that the winning political party or alliance will secure victories in both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections when held simultaneously.
  • If the elections are held six months apart, however, only 61% of the voters choose the same party.

Cost Implications and Economic Considerations:

  • The costs associated with simultaneous elections, as estimated by the EC and NITI Aayog, reveal conflicting figures. While the synchronization may save costs per voter in the long run, short-term expenses for deploying larger numbers of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) could increase.
  • Economic research suggests that election spending by parties and candidates, despite potential short-term cost increases, ultimately benefits the economy and government tax revenues.

Legal Concerns:

  • The introduction of a common election process may violate the Constitution, as highlighted in the S.R. Bommai case, where the Supreme Court emphasized the independent constitutional existence of States.

Language Bias in Consultation Process:

  • The High-Level Committee’s consultation process, evident on its website, raises concerns of bias, exclusion, and inequality.
  • The website, intended as an information repository and interaction platform, is available only in English and Hindi, neglecting the diversity of India’s 22 official languages.

Independence of the Election Commission:

  • Questions are raised about the EC’s independence, analogous to demonetisation, where the Reserve Bank of India was kept uninformed.
  • The Election Commission appears passive in the High-Level Committee’s process, jeopardizing its autonomy to make independent decisions on elections.


Practice Question:  Critically analyze the recommendations put forth by the High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election. Discuss the challenges and ethical considerations associated with implementing simultaneous elections and assess the potential benefits and drawbacks of this electoral reform (250 words/15 m)

5. Maharashtra to Establish First State Bhawan in Jammu and Kashmir for Tourists and Officials

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of knowing facts about the initiative by Maharashtra to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir for constructing a tourist facility which reflects the dynamics of inter-state relations and cooperative federalism in India.


  • Maharashtra’s initiative to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir for constructing a tourist facility marks a significant development in inter-state relations and tourism infrastructure.
  • This move highlights the growing interest of states in promoting tourism and fostering cultural exchange beyond their borders.
More about the news:

Land Acquisition for Maharashtra Bhawan:

  • The decision by the Maharashtra cabinet to sanction the purchase of land in central Kashmir’s Budgam district underscores the state’s commitment to establishing its presence in the Union Territory.
  • The proposed Maharashtra Bhawan, situated on a 2.5-acre plot near Srinagar airport, signifies Maharashtra’s intent to create a dedicated space for tourists and officials visiting the region.

Approval and Transfer of Land:

  • The approval by the Jammu and Kashmir government for the transfer of land to Maharashtra, subject to payment of Rs 8.16 crore, reflects the cooperative approach between the two regions in facilitating this initiative.
  • The formal transfer of Shamlat Deh land for the construction of Maharashtra Bhawan signifies a step towards enhancing bilateral ties and promoting tourism in the region.

Initiation and Purpose of the Project:

  • The project to construct Maharashtra Bhawan was initiated following Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir and his meeting with Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.
  • The primary objective of the facility is to provide comfortable accommodation and amenities for tourists and officials from Maharashtra, thereby enhancing the overall tourism experience in the Valley.

Budget Allocation and State Priorities:

  • The allocation of Rs 77 crore by the Maharashtra government for constructing Maharashtra Bhawans in Srinagar and Ayodhya underscores the state’s commitment to promoting tourism and providing quality infrastructure for visitors.
  • Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s emphasis on offering better and safer facilities to tourists and devotees reflects the state’s priorities in tourism development.

Context of Abrogation of Special Status:

  • The reference to the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019 highlights the changing legal landscape concerning land ownership and acquisition in the Union Territory.
  • The move to allow states like Maharashtra to purchase land for development projects signifies a departure from the previous restrictions, signaling opportunities for investment and development in the region.


  • Maharashtra’s initiative to acquire land and construct Maharashtra Bhawan in Jammu and Kashmir signifies a significant step towards promoting inter-state relations, enhancing tourism infrastructure, and fostering cultural exchange.
  • This development underscores the importance of collaborative efforts between states and Union Territories in realizing mutual developmental goals and strengthening regional ties.

What is Inter-State relations under the Indian Constitution?

  • Inter-State relations in India refer to the relationships and interactions between the federal units- states and union territories of India.
  • Under the Indian Constitution, Part XI deals with Administrative relations, and Part XIII deals with trade and commerce.
  • The relationship between the states in India is cooperative, with the states working together to implement national policies and programs and to address issues of common concern.
  • However, there can be tensions between the states on certain issues, such as the distribution of resources, allocation of funding, etc.  

Practice Question:  Critically analyze Maharashtra’s decision to purchase land in Jammu and Kashmir for the construction of Maharashtra Bhawan. Discuss the potential challenges and opportunities associated with such inter-state collaborations, along with their significance for regional development and cooperative federalism in India. (250 words/15 m)

6. ‘India likely to start free trade deal talks with EAEU’

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests.

Crucial for UPSC as it reflects India’s diplomatic engagement and potential economic partnerships amidst evolving geopolitical dynamics.

●       Belarusian Foreign Minister announces India’s consideration of free trade talks with the Eurasian Economic Union, signalling potential economic cooperation.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergei Aleinik announces India’s consideration to start talks for a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
  • Aleinik highlights mutual support between Belarus and India at the UN and similar views on international relations.
  • India’s interest in a free trade agreement with the EAEU indicates potential economic cooperation amidst geopolitical developments.
Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)

●     The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is a regional economic bloc comprising five member states: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

●   It was established on January 1, 2015, with the aim of promoting economic integration among its members.

●  The EAEU has a combined GDP of over $5 trillion and covers a vast geographic area, spanning Europe and Asia.

●  One of its primary goals is to facilitate the free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor within the member states.

● The union operates through a supranational body called the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), which is headquartered in Moscow.

● EAEU members enjoy preferential trade agreements, tariff reductions, and simplified customs procedures, fostering economic cooperation.

● Critics argue that the union is heavily influenced by Russia, with concerns about unequal benefits among member states.

●The EAEU has pursued partnerships and cooperation with other regional blocs and countries, aiming to expand its influence and economic ties.

●Its member states collaborate on various sectors including energy, transportation, and technology, aiming for mutual economic development.

●The EAEU continues to evolve, facing challenges and opportunities in the global economic landscape.

PYQ: ‘Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of negotiations held between India and

(UPSC Prelims 2017)

(a) European Union

(b) Gulf Cooperation Council

(c) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

(d) Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Answer: (a)

Practice Question:  Examine the significance of India’s potential free trade agreement talks with the Eurasian Economic Union amidst geopolitical shifts (150 Words /10 marks)

7. Panel recommends simultaneous polls

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Indian Constitution – Amendments

Important for UPSC as it addresses electoral reforms, constitutional amendments, and governance efficiency, reflecting on India’s democratic principles.

●       The high-level committee headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind recommends synchronized elections for Lok Sabha, State Assemblies, municipalities, and panchayats, aiming to reduce the burden of frequent elections.

 Additional information on this news:

  • A high-level committee led by former President Ram Nath Kovind recommends simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies as a first step.
  • Municipal and panchayat polls should be held within 100 days of the general election in the next phase.
  • The committee submitted an 18,000-page report to President Droupadi Murmu, but the public version is condensed to 321 pages.
  • The 22nd Law Commission is also expected to recommend simultaneous polls from the 2029 general election cycle.
  • The Kovind panel suggests synchronizing elections by setting an ‘Appointed Date’ after the Lok Sabha’s first sitting post-general elections.
  • It proposes amendments to Articles 83 and 172 of the Constitution to effect these changes.
  • Ratification by States is needed for amendments to Article 324A and Article 325.
  • 18 amendments to the Constitution and other statutes are suggested, with an implementation group recommended for oversight.
  • The panel aims to alleviate the burden on various stakeholders caused by multiple elections held throughout the year.
  • Recommendations are designed to require minimal constitutional amendments while aligning with the Constitution’s spirit.
Simultaneous elections in India

Need for Simultaneous Elections:

●   Ensures political stability by preventing frequent disruptions caused by elections.

●   Reduces financial burden on the government and political parties.

●   Enhances governance efficiency by allowing for consistent policy implementation.

● Promotes better utilisation of resources by avoiding duplication of efforts during separate elections.

Challenges of Simultaneous Elections:

●  Constitutional amendments required to synchronize terms of state and central governments.

●  Political parties may resist due to potential loss of power-sharing opportunities.

●   Coordination challenges among multiple stakeholders, including Election Commission, state governments, and political parties.

Practical difficulties in organizing logistics and security arrangements for large-scale simultaneous polls across the country.

Way Forward for Simultaneous Elections:

●   Gradual implementation with pilot projects to assess feasibility and address challenges.

●  Establishing a bipartisan consensus through dialogue and consultation among political parties.

●  Constitutional amendments to synchronize state and central election cycles.

●  Strengthening institutional mechanisms for efficient coordination and logistical planning.

●  Public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the benefits of simultaneous elections.


Simultaneous elections offer significant benefits in terms of stability, efficiency, and resource optimization, but their implementation requires careful consideration of constitutional, logistical, and political challenges. Gradual steps and bipartisan consensus are essential for successful.

PYQ: ‘Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2017)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance and feasibility of implementing simultaneous elections for various tiers of governance in India. (250 Words /15 marks)

8. A.P. sanctuaries hosted more than one lakh migratory birds this winter

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Conservations
Important for UPSC as it reflects India’s biodiversity conservation efforts and the role of local communities in environmental protection.
●       The news highlights the influx of migratory birds at Atapaka Bird Sanctuary, Andhra Pradesh, attracting nature enthusiasts, with efforts from the Forest Department and local villagers for bird conservation.

Additional information on this news:

  • Atapaka Bird Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh is attracting nature lovers and tourists with thousands of migratory birds visiting Kolleru Lake.
  • Forest Department’s efforts include mounds, trees, and iron stands, providing habitats for the birds.
  • Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), reports approximately 1.5 lakh migratory birds in Andhra Pradesh this season.
  • Notable bird counts include 50,000 at Kolleru Lake, 43,130 at Coringa Sanctuary, 37,150 at Pulicat Lake, 16,000 at Nelapattu, and 8,000 at Uppalapadu.
  • Villagers receive praise for their role in protecting the birds and maintaining sanctuaries.
  • Various bird species spotted include Indian skimmers, great knots, greater flamingos, pelicans, painted storks, and many more.
  • Atapaka villagers mention the annual return of birds, including breeding and raising young, showcasing the area’s significance for bird conservation and ecotourism.
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of community involvement in conserving migratory bird habitats, citing the example of Atapaka Bird Sanctuary (150 Words /10 marks)

9. Study flags mixed implementation of Forest Rights Act

Topic: GS2 – Governance  – Government policies  – Issues arising out of their design & implementation

Understanding Forest Rights Act implementation reveals governance challenges and indigenous rights issues, significant for UPSC civil services exam.

●       A fact-finding committee led by Justice S.N. Dhingra (retd) found varied implementation of the Forest Rights Act across five Indian states, citing delays and shortcomings.


Additional information on this news:

  • A fact-finding committee led by Justice S.N. Dhingra (retd) assessed Forest Rights Act (FRA) implementation in five states: Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Karnataka.
  • In Assam, concerns were raised regarding the FRA’s inadequacy in addressing the unique needs of shifting or jhum cultivation practiced by forest-dwelling communities.
  • Delays in decision-making were noted in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker and Korba districts.
  • Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli showed satisfactory FRA implementation, but Nashik lacked completion.
  • Odisha’s Kandhamal and Sundargarh districts demonstrated substantial progress, though a gap existed between submitted and recognized individual and community forest rights claims.
  • Karnataka, particularly in Ramnagara and Mysuru districts, had a notably high rejection rate (94.83%) of individual forest rights claims.
  • Overall, there was insufficient emphasis on community rights, with agencies unclear about the distinction between individual and community forest rights, as highlighted in the report by the Call for Justice organization.
Forest Right Act 2006

Key Provisions of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006:

●  Recognizes and vests forest rights and occupation in forest land to forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and other traditional forest dwellers (OTFD).

● Grants rights to ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce, and habitat rights for primitive tribal groups.

● Establishes Gram Sabhas as the primary authority for identifying and verifying forest rights claims.

● Provides for the setting up of District Level Committees (DLCs) and Sub-Divisional Level Committees (SDLCs) for adjudication of claims.

Empowerment of Tribals under FRA:

Grants legal recognition and ownership over ancestral lands, enhancing socio-economic security.

Facilitates sustainable management of forest resources, promoting traditional livelihood practices.

Provides a platform for tribal communities to participate in decision-making processes through Gram Sabhas.

Challenges in Implementation:

●  Lack of awareness among forest-dwelling communities about their rights under the FRA.

● Biased attitudes and resistance from forest department officials towards implementing FRA provisions.

● Inadequate institutional capacity and resources for timely processing and adjudication of forest rights claims.

● Encroachment and diversion of forest lands for non-forest purposes, leading to conflicts and dispossession of tribals.

Way Forward for FRA Implementation:

Strengthening awareness campaigns and capacity-building initiatives for forest-dwelling communities and officials.

Ensuring transparent and expedited processes for the recognition and settlement of forest rights claims.

● Promoting inter-departmental coordination and cooperation for effective implementation at all levels of governance.

●  Addressing legal and policy ambiguities through amendments and clarifications to enhance the FRA’s efficacy.

●  Fostering partnerships between government agencies, civil society organizations, and local communities to monitor implementation and address challenges.


The Forest Rights Act has the potential to empower tribal communities by recognizing their rights over forest resources. However, its effective implementation requires concerted efforts to address challenges and ensure the fulfillment of its objectives.

PYQ: At the national level, which ministry is the nodal agency to ensure effective implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006?

(a) Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

(b) Ministry of Panchayati Raj

(c) Ministry of Rural Development

(d) Ministry of Tribal Affairs

Ans: (d)

Practice Question:  Discuss the challenges and gaps in the implementation of the Forest Rights Act across Indian states, emphasizing governance issue. (150 Words /10 marks)

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