NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope


Recently, The United States space research agency NASA said in a release that its James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe that has ever been seen, heralding a major event in astronomy. The JWST is the largest and most powerful telescope ever built.


GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is NASA’s James Webb Telescope?
  2. What is the mission of the James Webb Space Telescope?
  3. How is the James Webb better than the Hubble?

What is NASA’s James Webb Telescope?

  • The telescope has been in the works for years. NASA led its development with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.
  • It was launched aboard a rocket on December 25, 2021, and is currently at a point in space known as the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point, approximately 1.5 million km beyond Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
    • Lagrange Point 2 is one of the five points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system.
  • Named after Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange, the points are in any revolving two-body system like Earth and Sun, marking where the gravitational forces of the two large bodies cancel each other out.
  • Objects placed at these positions are relatively stable and require minimal external energy or fuel to keep themselves there, and so many instruments are positioned here.
  • L2 is a position directly behind Earth in the line joining the Sun and the Earth. It would be shielded from the Sun by the Earth as it goes around the Sun, in sync with the Earth.

What is the mission of the James Webb Space Telescope?

NASA says the James Webb Space Telescope will be “a giant leap forward in our quest to understand the Universe and our origins”, as it will examine every phase of cosmic history: from the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets to the evolution of our own Solar System.

The science goals for the Webb can be grouped into four themes.

  • To look back around 13.5 billion years to see the first stars and galaxies forming out of the darkness of the early universe.
  • To compare the faintest, earliest galaxies to today’s grand spirals and understand how galaxies assemble over billions of years.
  • To see where stars and planetary systems are being born.
  • To observe the atmospheres of extrasolar planets (beyond our solar system), and perhaps find the building blocks of life elsewhere in the universe. The telescope will also study objects within our own Solar System.

How is the James Webb better than the Hubble?

  • JWST is much more powerful and has the ability to look in the infrared spectrum, which will allow it to peer through much deeper into the universe, and see-through obstructions such as gas clouds.
  • As electromagnetic waves travel for long distances, they lose energy, resulting in an increase in their wavelength. An ultraviolet wave, for example, can slowly move into the visible light spectrum and the infrared spectrum, and further weaken to microwaves or radio waves, as it loses energy.
  • Hubble was designed to look mainly into the ultraviolet and visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. JWST is primarily an infrared telescope, the first of its kind.

G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting


Recently, the External Affairs Minister of India met with the US Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Minister and other counter parts in Bali (Indonesia) on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting.

The meeting was held under the theme of “Building a more peaceful, stable, and prosperous world together.”


GS-II: International Relations (Important International Groupings and Agreements, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of  recent G20 Meeting
  2. About G20
  3. Structure and functioning of G20

Highlights of  recent G20 Meeting

India and China:

  • The Indian Minister of External Affairs met with the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister.
  • India urged that the unresolved problems along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh be resolved quickly.
  • India emphasised the need to maintain the momentum to complete disengagement from all remaining regions in order to restore peace and tranquillity in the border areas, recalling the disengagement accomplished in several friction areas.
  • Both sides agreed that military and diplomatic representatives from the two countries should continue to communicate regularly and expressed enthusiasm for the next Senior Commanders meeting.
  • China expressed appreciation to India for its assistance during this year’s BRICS Chairmanship and provided a guarantee of support for India’s upcoming G20 and SCO Presidency.

Other topics of conversation

  • At the meetings, Russia accused the US of pressuring Europe and the rest of the globe into giving up inexpensive energy sources, while the US accused Russia of causing “global food insecurity.” These accusations highlighted the G20 group’s growing divisions.
  • The G20, which consists of the 20 largest economic powers in the world, is mandated to debate issues of international trade, but western members criticism of Russia predominated the Bali Foreign Ministers Meeting.
  • The conflict in Ukraine and its economic ramifications suggest a rift within the international community, with the US, EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, and France forming a single anti-Russian bloc while other nations take a cautious approach and call for a peaceful end to the conflict.

About G20

  • The G20 is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • The G20 membership comprises a mix of the world’s largest advanced and emerging economies, representing about two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global gross domestic product, 80% of global investment, over 75% of global trade and roughly half the world’s land area.
  • The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
  • Spain as a permanent, non-member invitee, also attends leader summits.
  • India will hold the Presidency of the G20 from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023, culminating with the G20 Summit in India in 2023.

Structure and functioning of G20

  • The G20 Presidency rotates annually according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.
  • For the selection of presidency, the 19 countries are divided into 5 groups, each having no more than 4 countries. The presidency rotates between each group.
  • Every year the G20 selects a country from another group to be president.
  • India is in Group 2 which also has Russia, South Africa and Turkey.
  • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters.
  • The work of G20 is divided into two tracks:
    • The Finance track comprises all meetings with G20 finance ministers and central bank governors and their deputies. Meeting several times throughout the year they focus on monetary and fiscal issues, financial regulations, etc.
    • The Sherpa track focuses on broader issues such as political engagement, anti-corruption, development, energy, etc.
  • Since 2008, the group convenes at least once a year, with the summits involving each member’s head of government.

Parliamentary Committee Opposes Mediation Bill


The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice has recommended substantial changes to the Mediation Bill.


GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Initiatives, Issues arising out of the design and implementation of Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Mediation Bill, 2021
  2. What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
  3. Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution
  4. Highlights of the Draft Mediation Bill 2021
  5. Issues with the bill

Mediation Bill, 2021

  • Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process.
  • It is an informal, confidential, flexible, and non-binding process in which an impartial person called a “mediator” helps the parties to understand the interests of everyone involved, and their practical and legal choices.
  • The Bill requires persons to try to settle civil or commercial disputes through mediation before approaching any court or tribunal.
  • Agreements resulting from mediation will be binding and enforceable in the same manner as court judgments

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

  • The process by which disputes between the parties are settled or amicably resolved without the intervention of judicial institution and any trial is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution.
  • The ADR mechanism offers to facilitate the resolution of matters of business issues and the others where it has not been possible to initiate any process of negotiation or arrive at a mutually agreeable solution.
  • ADR offers to resolve all types of matters including civil, industrial, and family, etc where people are finding it difficult to settle.
  • Generally, ADR uses a neutral third party who helps parties to communicate, discuss the differences and resolve the dispute.
  • ADR enables individuals and groups to maintain co-operation, social order, and provides an opportunity to reduce hostilities.

Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution


  • The dispute is submitted to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision (an “award”) on the dispute that is mostly binding on the parties.
  • It is less formal than a trial, and the rules of evidence are often relaxed.
  • Generally, there is no right to appeal an arbitrator’s decision.
  • Except for some interim measures, there is very little scope for judicial intervention in the arbitration process.


  • A non-binding procedure in which an impartial third party, the conciliator, assists the parties to a dispute in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreed settlement of the dispute.
  • Conciliation is a less formal form of arbitration.
  • The parties are free to accept or reject the recommendations of the conciliator.
  • However, if both parties accept the settlement document drawn by the conciliator, it shall be final and binding on both.


  • In mediation, an impartial person called a “mediator” helps the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute.
  • The mediator does not decide the dispute but helps the parties communicate so they can try to settle the dispute themselves.
  • Mediation leaves control of the outcome with the parties.


  • A non-binding procedure in which discussions between the parties are initiated without the intervention of any third party with the object of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the dispute
  • It is the most common method of alternative dispute resolution.
  • Negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce, parenting, and everyday life.

Lok Adalats:

  • The establishment of Lok Adalat system of dispute settlement system was brought about with the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 for expediting the system of dispute settlement.
  • In Lok Adalats, disputes in the pre-litigation stage could be settled amicably.

Highlights of the Draft Mediation Bill 2021

  • The Draft Mediation Bill 2021 recognizes mediation as a profession and acknowledges the importance of institutes to train mediators, and service providers to provide structured mediation under their rules. These provisions of the bill are seen as a huge improvement over the part-time honorarium basis it has in the court-annexed mediation schemes.
  • The Bill does away with the confusion emanating from using both expressions ‘Mediation’ and ‘Conciliation’ in different statutes by opting for the former in accordance with international practice, and defining it widely to include the latter.
  • It provides for pre-litigation mediation and also recognises online dispute resolution (ODR).
  • It provides for enforcement of commercial settlements reached in international mediation viz between parties from different countries as per the Singapore Convention on Mediation to which India was a notable signatory.
  • The Convention assures disputants that their mediation settlements will be enforced without much difficulty across the world, unlike the fresh headaches that the litigative decree or arbitration award presents at the time of enforcement.
  • It is expected that this Bill would make India a hub for international mediation in the commercial disputes field, and indeed institutions are being opened for this purpose.

Issues with the bill

  • Despite dispute resolution being the judiciary’s domain, there is no role for CJI in the appointment process.
  • It unwisely treats international mediation when conducted in India as a domestic mediation.
  • Now, that is excellent for cases between Indian parties, but disastrous when one party is foreign. The reason is that the Singapore Convention does not apply to settlements that already have the status of a judgment or decree. Therefore, if you conduct your cross-border mediation in India, you lose out on the tremendous benefits of worldwide enforceability.
  • The Council has three members, a retired senior judge, a person with experience of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) law and an academic who has taught ADR. None of the members will be active practitioners as mediators, hence, it establishes a profession which is being regulated without a single professional on the regulator side.
  • There is an unnecessary long list of disputes which should not be mediated, which is not understandable. For example:
    • Patents and copyright cases settle on commercial terms leaving untouched the validity of the grant, so why deny this possibility and consign the parties to litigative longevity.
    • In the case of telecom, why can’t manufacturers and service providers and consumers be allowed to talk and resolve issues?
    • In cases involving minors or persons of unsound mind, the law provides for the court to pass orders to protect them.

National Child Labour Project


The Centre does not have any data on child labour in the country and a reason for this is the drying up of budgetary provisions meant for the National Child Labour Project (NCLP).


GS II- Welfare Schemes

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Child Labour?
  2. About National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme
  3. Objectives of NCLP

What is Child Labour?

  • Child labour is the term used to describe the exploitation of children for any type of job that prevents them from having an equal opportunity to receive an education and have a typical childhood.
  • The victimised child is then typically employed for physically, socially, and cognitively destructive employment.
  • To meet the government’s development goals by 2030, the use of child labour must be ended.

About National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme

  • The NCLP Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme .
  • Since 1988, the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme has been carried out by the Ministry of Labour and Employment with the goal of rehabilitating child labourers.
  • The NCLP rescues or removes children between the ages of 9 and 14 from employment and places them in NCLP Special Training Centers.
  • Through strong collaboration with the SarvaShikshaAbhiyan, children between the ages of 5-8 are directly connected to the formal education system.
  • A dedicated online portal named PENCiL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) is developed for better monitoring and implementation.

Objectives of NCLP:

  • The Scheme seeks to adopt a sequential approach with focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations & processes in the first instance.
  • Under the Scheme, survey of child labour engaged in hazardous occupations & processes has been conducted.
  • The identified children are to be withdrawn from these occupations & processes and then put into special schools in order to enable them to be mainstreamed into formal schooling system.
  • Project Societies at the district level are fully funded for opening up of special schools/Rehabilitation Centres for the rehabilitation of child labour.

The special schools/Rehabilitation Centres provide:

  • Non-formal/bridge education
  • Skilled/vocational training
  • Mid Day Meal
  • Stipend @ Rs.150/- per child per month.
  • Health care facilities through a doctor appointed for a group of 20 schools.

Red Panda


The Singalila National Park, the highest protected area in West Bengal, will soon wild Red Panda.


GS III- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Red Panda
  2. About Singalila National Park
  3. Why introduce Red Panda?

About Red Panda

  • The Giant Panda and the Red Panda are the only two distinct panda species found in the world.
  • It serves as Sikkim’s official animal as well.
  • Red pandas are timid, lonely, arboreal creatures that are used as indicators of ecological change.
  • Both (sub)species are found in India.
    • Himalayan red panda (Ailurus fulgens)
    • Chinese red panda (Ailurus styani)
  • The two phylogenetic species are split by the Siang River in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It can be discovered in the jungles of India, Nepal, Bhutan, as well as the northern mountains of Myanmar and the southern provinces of China.
Protection Status:

Red Pandas:

  • IUCN Red List: Endangered
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule I

Giant Pandas:

  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I

About Singalila National Park

  • Singalila National Park is located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above sea level, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal.
  • It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it.
  • The Singalila area in Darjeeling was purchased by the British Government from Sikkim Durbar in 1882, and notified a Reserve Forest under the Indian Forest Act 1878.
  • It was notified as a National Park in 1992 and was also officially opened up for tourism.

Why introduce Red Panda?

  • Even in Singalila and Neora Valley National Parks, the two protected locations in West Bengal where the mammal is found in the wild, the number of red pandas has been falling.
  • According to recent surveys, there are 32 in Neora and 38 in Singalila.
  • The Red Panda Augmentation Programme is centred on the zoological park.
  • Red panda conservation breeding is just one aspect of the approach.


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