Appointment of Chief Justice of India (CJI)

In News

  • Recently, Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud was appointed as the 50th Chief Justice of India.
    • He will have a relatively longer tenure of two years and is due to retire on November 10, 2024. 

About Article 124

  • The Constitution of India does not mention any procedure for appointing the CJI. 
    • Article 124 (1) of the Constitution merely says, “There shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a Chief Justice of India.”
  • Clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution says that every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President. 
    • Thus, in the absence of a constitutional provision, the procedure to appoint CJI relies on convention.

The Convention

  • The outgoing CJI recommends his successor a practice, which is strictly based on seniority.
    • Seniority, however, is not defined by age, but by the number of years a judge has been serving in the top court of the country.

The government’s role

  • The Central government has no role to play in the appointment of the CJI except for the Union Law Minister seeking the recommendation from the incumbent CJI, before sending it to the Prime Minister. 

Who can become the Chief Justice of India?

  • Apart from being an Indian citizen, the person must:
    • Have been for at least five years a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession or
    • Have been for at least ten years an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession, or
    • Be, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist.

Who appoints the CJI?

  • The Chief Justice of India and the other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President under clause (2) of Article 124 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Article 217: which deals with the appointment of High Court judges, says the President should consult the CJI, Governor, and Chief Justice of the High Court concerned. 
    • Further, the tenure of a CJI is until they attain the age of 65 years, while High Court judges retire at 62 years.

Removal of CJI

  • A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.
  • With the address in the same session presented to the President for removal on one of the two grounds:
    • Proved misbehaviour or incapacity.

What is the system followed for recommending and appointing judges?

  • The more than two decades-old collegium system is followed in the appointment of judges, consisting of five senior most judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
    • The term “collegium” is not mentioned in the constitution, which only speaks of consultation by the President. 
  • The government gets a background inquiry done by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) at times from the names first suggested for appointment by the collegium.
  • While the government can also raise objections, usually the collegium’s will prevails.
  • After the collegium’s recommendations are finalised and received from the CJI, the Law Minister will put up the recommendation to the Prime Minister who will advise the President on the matter of appointment.

Criticism of the collegium system

  • The main issue with the collegium system is that it has little transparency.
  • The 230th report of the Law Commission of India submitted in 2009, pointed to the possibility of nepotism prevailing.
    • A person whose near relation or well-wisher is or had been a judge in the higher courts or is a senior advocate or is a political higher-up, stands a better chance of elevation.
  • It is not necessary that such a person must be competent because sometimes even less competent persons are inducted.

Way forward

  • National Judicial Appointments Commission
    • An alternative was proposed in form of the National Judicial Appointments Commission, which suggested a body for making appointments, comprising the CJI and two senior most judges, the law minister, and two “eminent” persons selected by a panel including the Prime Minister, the CJI and the leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha.
    • While the bill introduced for it was passed by the Parliament, it was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015
His contribution in landmark verdicts of Supreme CourtAyodhya land disputeIn 2019, the apex court in a unanimous verdict cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.Section 377 of the Indian Penal CodeHe was also part of a five-judge Constitution bench that unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises consensual unnatural sex between consenting adults, saying it violated the rights to equality. Section 497 of the IPCHe was also in the five-judge bench, which unanimously held Section 497 of the IPC which criminalised adultery to be unconstitutional on the ground of being arbitrary, archaic and violative of the right to equality and privacy.Sabarimala caseHe had also concurred with the majority verdict in the Sabarimala case in holding that the practice of prohibiting women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple was discriminatory and violative of women’s fundamental rights.Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) ActA bench headed by him also expanded the scope of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act and the corresponding rules to include unmarried women for abortion between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy.

Discontent over Hindi Imposition

In News

  • Recently, a controversy has reignited over an attempt to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking people.

Key Points

  • Background: 
    • TheParliamentary Committee on Official Language has recommended the use of Hindi as the medium of instruction in Central institutions of higher education in Hindi-speaking States and regional languages in other States.
  • Recent Reports of the Panel:
    • English, as a medium of instruction in all technical and non-technical institutions, will be permitted only where it is absolutely essential, as the idea is to replace the language gradually with Hindi in those institutions.
    • While IITs, IIMs and All India Institute of Medical Sciences are considered technical institutions, Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas fall under the other category. 
    • Also, the committee has recommended the removal of English as one of the languages in examinations held for recruitment to the Central services. 
    • It has stated that the requisite knowledge of Hindi among candidates should also be ensured. 
  • Government Actions promoting Hindi as official Language:
    • The National Education Policy: Mother tongue or the regional language would be the “preferred” mode of instruction until Class 5, and possibly Class 8.
    • Reports of English signage on National Highways in the State getting replaced with Hindi signage
    • The reiteration of the age-old assurance by the Central government coupled with the promise of the promotion of other Indian languages have barely mollified the protesters.

Critical Points in the Report

  • Punishment of reluctance to use Hindi:
    • The panel is learnt to have taken a serious view of officers and other employees in the central government who do not use Hindi in Hindi-speaking states. 
    • The panel wants state governments to warn officials that their reluctance to use Hindi would reflect in their Annual Performance Assessment Report (APAR).
  • Usage in official communication: 
    • It is the Committee’s responsibility and role to see that the Hindi language is promoted in official communication, and there are recommendations to that effect. 
    • Communication, which includes letters and emails, question papers for recruitment exams, events organised by the government and its departments, will have to be in Hindi.
  • Implicit Compulsory: 
    • Knowledge of Hindi would be compulsory in a number of government jobs.

Linguistic Row

  • Historical Origin:
    • The origin of the linguistic row goes back to the debate on official languages. 
    • In the Constituent Assembly, Hindi was voted as the official language by a single vote. 
    • However, it added that English would continue to be used as an associate official language for 15 years. 
    • The Official Languages Act came into effect on the expiry of this 15-year period in 1965. 
  • Nehru’s vow:
    • However, as early as in 1959, Jawaharlal Nehru had given an assurance in Parliament that English would continue to be in use as long as non-Hindi speaking people wanted it.
  • TamilNadu’s Opposition: 
    • Tamil Nadu has had a long history of agitations against “Hindi imposition”. 
    • In August 1937, in the then Presidency of Madras, the regime headed by C. Rajagopalachari decided to make Hindi compulsory in secondary schools. 
    • E.V. Ramasamy spearheaded an agitation against the move, marking the first such stir.
    • In January 1965, the second round of agitations erupted in the wake of Hindi becoming the official language of the Union government coupled with the approach adopted by the Central government towards the whole issue.

Way Ahead

  • There should be equal treatment to all the languages specified under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Language is a sensitive matter. There is a need to develop consensus rather than imposition from the top. 
  • Zonal Councils and Interstate Council can be a great platform to discuss this sensitive issue.
  • The recognition of regional aspirations will strengthen the unity of India.
Official Languages Act, 1963Its essence is to provide something to each of the differing groups to meet its objections and safeguard its position. Whenever the parties in the State see any attempt to disturb this status quo, their reaction is always uniform — a virulent opposition.3 Language PolicyThe policy first appeared in National Policy on Education 1968 where the emphasis was put on teaching three languages: Hindi, English and the regional language of the respective state in schools and for all official purposes relating to state matters.Later, the National Policy on Education 1986 and New Education Policy 2020 didn’t change this policy substantially. NEP 2020 still provides for 3 languages during school but doesn’t mention that the third language should be Hindi.This is in contrast to the recommendation of Dr Kasturirangan Committee which prepared draft NEP 2019 saying 3 language formulas should be adopted at the primary school level including Hindi as one of three languages.Need for 3 language policyWhole India speaks more than 1369 mother tongues which can be further classified as 121 major languages (Census 2011). Hence there is the need for a common language for easy communication.Translation cost is very high and time-consuming.Need for a national language as a symbol of unified India on the World Platform.Hindi is spoken by nearly 57% of Indians and 43% of people reported it as their mother tongue (Census 2011)Historical reason: “Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha” was established in the year 1918 by our beloved Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi to spread Hindi.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

In News

  • Recently, the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was released.

Report highlights

  • Report highlights:
    • For India:
      • Improvements:
        • As many as 41.5 crore people exited poverty in India during the 15-year period between 2005-06 and 2019-21.
          • Out of these, two-thirds exited in the first 10 years, and one-third in the next five years, according to the report.
        • It shows that the incidence of poverty fell from 55.1% in 2005/06 to 16.4% in 2019/21 in the country.
        • Deprivations in all 10 MPI indicators saw significant reductions as a result of which the MPI value and incidence of poverty more than halved.
      • Global significance of poverty reducion in India:
        • Improvement in MPI for India has significantly contributed to the decline in poverty in South Asia.
        • It is for the first time that it is not the region with the highest number of poor people, at 38.5 crore, compared with 57.9 crore in Sub-Saharan Africa.
      • State-wise data:
        • Bihar, the poorest State in 2015/2016, saw the fastest reduction in MPI value in absolute terms. 
        • Of the 10 poorest States in 2015/2016, only one (West Bengal) was not among the 10 poorest in 2019/2021. 
        • The rest— Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan —remain among the 10 poorest.
      • Challenges:
        • The report notes that the ongoing task of ending poverty remains daunting. 
        • India has by far the largest number of poor people worldwide at 22.8 crore, followed by Nigeria at 9.6 crore. 
          • Two-thirds of these people live in a household in which at least one person is deprived in nutrition. 
        • There were also 9.7 crore poor children in India in 2019/2021- more than the total number of poor people, children and adults combined, in any other country covered by the global MPI.
    • Globally:
      • Globally, of the total 610 crore people across 111 developing countries, 19.1% or 120 crore live in multidimensional poverty. Nearly half of them live in severe poverty.
  • Report Shortcomings:
    • The report doesn’t fully assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on poverty in India as 71% of the data from the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-2021) relied upon for MPI were collected before the pandemic.
About Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)About:The report is produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries. Report indicators:The global MPI constructs a deprivation profile of each household and person through 10 indicators spanning health, education and standard of living. All indicators are equally weighted within each dimension. The most common profile, affecting 3.9 percent of poor people, includes deprivations in four indicators: nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation, and housing.Calculating multidimensionally poor:The global MPI identifies people as multidimensionally poor if their deprivation score is 1/3 or higher.The MPI is calculated by multiplying the incidence of poverty and the average intensity of poverty. The MPI ranges from 0 to 1, and higher values imply higher poverty. By identifying who is poor, the nature of their poverty (their deprivation profile) and how poor they are (deprivation score), the global MPI complements the international $1.90 a day poverty rate, which was revised by the World Bank last month to $2.15 per day.SDG target:The Sustainable Development Goal target 1.2 is for countries to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women, and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions by 2030. 

Challenges for India

  • Levels of nutrition:
    • While poverty levels have not worsened, levels of under-nutrition are still very high. 
    • There is no marked acceleration in rate of improvement between NFHS-3 and NFHS-4 and NFHS-4 and NFHS-5. 
    • And the MPI mainly captures the pre-COVID situation because 71% of the NFHS-5 interviews were pre-COVID.
  • Recent World Bank estimates:
    • According to the World Bank’s recently released report on global poverty, India is the country with the highest number of poor people.
    • Report stated that “economic upheavals brought on by Covid-19 and later the war in Ukraine” had produced “an outright reversal” in poverty reduction across the planet. 
India’s “Global Indices for Reforms and Growth (GIRG) initiative”Under the Global Indices for Reforms and Growth (GIRG) initiative, the country’s performance is being monitored across 29 global indices including Human Development Index (HDI), Global Hunger Index (GHI), Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), Human Capital Index (HCI), Global Innovation Index (GII), among others. Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is one of them.Aim:This exercise is aimed at leveraging the monitoring mechanism of important social, economic, and other internationally recognised indices, enabling the utilisation of these indices as tools for bringing about reforms to improve outcomes and correspondingly reflect them in India’s performance in these indices globally.About the National Multidimensional Poverty Index:The National MPI Project is aimed at deconstructing the Global MPI and creating a globally aligned and yet customised India MPI for drawing up comprehensive Reform Action Plans with the larger goal of improving India’s position in the Global MPI rankings.NITI Aayog is the nodal Ministry for the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). 

Way Ahead

  • India faces three rather acute and growing problems: 
    • Widespread unemployment, 
    • Widening inequalities and 
    • Deepening poverty
  • None of these will be resolved by electoral victories. They require actual policy solutions. Without the right policies, India’s demographic dividend is looking more like a demographic bomb.

Under-utilization of India’s Coal Mines: GEM Report


  • An analysis by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) shows that India’s coal mines are severely under-utilized amid push for new ones.


  • Global Energy Monitor (GEM) is a firm that tracks utilization of the fuel source internationally.
  • GEM performed its analysis by surveying annual reports of Coal India Limited (the largest coal producer in the world) and its subsidiaries.

Key Findings of the GEM Report

  • Capacity underutilization: While some mines are utilizing only two thirds of their capacity, some other large ones are using only 1%.
  • Short term supply ­crunches: 
  • 99 of India’s coal mine projects under development which were expected to yield 427 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) are unnecessary.
  • Opening new coal mines might not mitigate short term supply crunches. 
  • Coal crisis
  • India experienced severe coal crises at least twice in 2021.
  • More than 100 of 285 thermal power plants witnessed fall in coal stocks below the critical mark of 25% of the total stock and below 10% in over 50 plants. 
  • Power shortages: Coal crisis led to power shortages in several States likeAndhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh.  
  • Coal India Limited (CIL): The company however, doesn’t consider capacity constraints as a reason for underutilization of capacity and failure to reach production targets.  
  • Plethora of factors: The CIL reported that competition from renewables, infrastructure impasses, and land use concerns as factors hindering output.
  • Tribal displacement: Coal mines under development threaten to displace hundreds of villages severely affecting lives and livelihoods of 87,630 families, in which at least 40% of the predominant population is tribal communities. 
  • Threat to natural resources: Mines under development have the potential to threaten-
  • 22,686 hectares (ha) of agricultural land
  • 19,297 ha of forest
  • Consumption of at least 168,041 kilolitres of water per day (comparable to the daily water needs of over one million people).  
  • Underlining of concerns: The GEM report highlights potential issues with the mines under development and the proposed mines, as follows:
  • Increase India’s likelihood of stranded assets
  • Delay a clean energy future
  • Irreversible impacts on India’s rural communities and environments 
  • Warning signs ignored: The Indian government is ignoring the fact that new mines can’t remedy the coal industry’s old problems. Opening new mines in the present might intensify the sector’s weaknesses and inefficiencies in future. 


  • Coal is fossil fuel and is also known as ‘Black Gold’.
  • In India, coal is found in a form of sedimentary rocks.
  • Coal Reserves: Gondwana coal constitutes around 98% of India’s total coal reserves, rest is Tertiary coal.
  • Types: 
  • Anthracite (purest and with carbon content of 80-95%)
  • Bituminous (carbon content 60-80% and impurities)
  • Lignite (carbon content of 40 to 55% and high moisture content) 
  • Peat (carbon content less than 40% and heavy in organic matter)
  • Coal is a widely available conventional source of energy and has several industrial applications. For example, coking coal in the iron and steel industry.
  • Thermal power plants (coal as a raw material) are widely distributed in India as they have lower capital costs than hydel and nuclear plants.

India’s Energy Mix

Coal Distribution: 

  • Jharkhand has the largest reserves of coal (26% of the total)
  • Chhattisgarh has the third largest coal reserves, but ranks first in the production of coal (extraction).

Way Forward

  • The government of India needs to factor in competition from renewables and possibility of rising conflicts over land use in future.
  • The Prime Minister of India has announced a goal of net zero (emission from consumption of fossil fuels) target of 2070.
  • Realization of the target will require optimum capacity utilization of existing mines, enhancing the share of renewable energy market w.r.t solar energy, hydrogen fuel, ethanol blending etc.

‘One Nation, One Fertilizer’ Scheme

In News

  • Recently the ‘One Nation, One Fertiliser’ scheme was launched. 

More about the ‘One Nation, One Fertilizer’ scheme

  • About:
    • Under the scheme, all fertiliser companies, State Trading Entities (STEs) and Fertiliser Marketing Entities (FMEs) will be required to use a single “Bharat” brand for fertilisers and logo under the PMBJP.
      • The new “Bharat” brand name and PMBJP logo will cover two-thirds of the front of the fertiliser packet.
      • The manufacturing brands can only display their name, logo, and other information on the remaining one-third space.
  • Significance of the scheme:
    • Standardisation:
      • This will standardise fertiliser brands across the nation irrespective of the company that manufactures it.
    • Affordability:
      • Scheme will ensure affordable quality fertiliser of Bharat brand to the farmers.
      • This scheme will result in reduction of the cost of fertilisers and increase their availability.
    • Single branding:
      • Competition among companies that push their brands will get reduced with this single branding, which will ensure sufficient supply of fertilisers across the country.
    • Reduced freight charges:
      • A single brand name will help in the reduction of freight charges due to stopping of crisscross movement of fertilizers this will help in reducing the transit time
    • Stopping urea diversion:
      • It will also stop the diversion of urea for industrial purposes.

Major Issues/ Challenges associated with the fertiliser sector 

  • Supply-side constraints:
    • India is facing a tight supply position in fertilisers, especially of phosphatic and potassic nutrients.
      • Retail food inflation has hit a 7.68 per cent mark.
    • The challenges include securing supply from new sources, costlier raw material, and logistics.
    • The pandemic has impacted fertilizer production, import and transportation across the world.
  • Global issues:
    • Major fertiliser exporters such as China have gradually reduced their exports in view of a dip in production.
      • This has impacted countries such as India, which sources 40–45% of its phosphatic imports from China.
    • There has been a surge in demand in regions like Europe, America, Brazil and Southeast Asia.
    • While the demand has increased, the supply side has faced constraints.
  • Other:
    • There has been a steady increase in prices of raw material as well as logistics and freight costs.            
    • The disruption in the logistics chain during COVID has caused the average freight rates for ships to jump up to four times.
    • Besides, prices of fertilisers such as DAP and urea, and raw materials such as ammonia and phosphatic acid, have risen up to 250–300%.
    • The total fertiliser subsidy bill is expected to reach Rs 2.5 lakh crore this financial year, up from Rs 1.62 crore in the revised estimates for the previous fiscal.


  • Major criticisms:
    • Critics argue that completely commoditising fertilisers could 
      • impact their quality, 
      • discourage manufacturers from bringingnewer and more efficient products into the market if there is less scope for building a unique brand identity.
      • It may also leave them as mere importers or contractors of fertilisers.
  • Brands not owned:
    • Many manufacturers have also expressed reluctance to spend on a brand they do not own. 
    • Once in a while, some companies may bear the expense, but it will be difficult to spend continuously on advertisements where brand value for that company is zero.
  • Regulation:
    • A government brand will add another layer of regulation to the fertiliser manufacturing sector where almost every aspect- from product pricing to cost structure to geographical distribution and sale- is controlled by the government.

Government’s rationale on One Nation, One Fertilizer scheme

  • Subsidy and MRP
    • The maximum retail price of urea is currently fixed by the government, which compensates companies for the higher cost of manufacturing or imports incurred by them. 
    • The MRPs of non-urea fertilisers are on paper decontrolled. 
    • But companies cannot avail of subsidy if they sell at MRPs higher than that informally indicated by the government. 
      • Simply put, there are some 26 fertilizers (inclusive of urea), on which the government bears subsidy and also effectively decides the MRPs. 
  • Supply plan
    • Apart from subsidising and deciding at what price companies can sell, the government also decides where they can sell. 
      • This is done through the Fertiliser (Movement) Control Order, 1973. 
    • Under this, the department of fertilisers draws an agreed monthly supply plan on all subsidised fertilisers in consultation with manufacturers and importers. 
  • Taking Credit
    • When the government is spending vast sums of money on fertiliser subsidy plus deciding where and at what price companies can sell, it would obviously want to take credit and send that message to farmers.
Other highlights for farmersThe PM Kisan Samman Sammelan 2022 was also inaugurated at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute. An e-magazine on fertilisers, called Indian Edge was launched.Prime minister also inaugurated 600 ‘PM-Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PM-KSK).PM-Kisan Samruddhi Kendras (PM-KSK)These kendras are expected to act as one- stop-shop providing multiple services to farmers.PM-KSK will supply agri-inputs like seeds, fertilisers and farm implements, along with providing testing facilities for soil, seeds and fertilisers, besides information about government schemes. About 3.25 lakh fertiliser retail shops will be converted into PM-KSKs across the country.

Green Crackers

In News

Recently, the Chandigarh government has allowed the use of green crackers.


  • Three Categories of Green Crackers: developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
    • SWAS (Safe water releaser)
      • Have a small water pocket/droplets which get released when burst, in the form of vapour.
      • Suppresses the dust released by releasing water vapour in the air. 
      • Does not comprise potassium nitrate and sulphur and the particulate dust released will reduce approximately by 30 percent.
    • STAR (Safe thermite cracker)
      • Does not comprise potassium nitrate and sulphur, 
      • Emits reduced particulate matter disposal and reduced sound intensity. 
    • SAFAL (Safe minimal aluminium)
      • Has minimum usage of aluminium, and used magnesium instead. 
      • Ensures reduction in sound in comparison to traditional crackers.
  • Advantages of Green crackers
    • Reduction in size of shell,
    • Elimination of ash usage, 
    • Reduced usage of raw materials, uniform acceptable quality, etc.,
    • Leading to reduction of particulate matter and gaseous emission.
  • Different from Traditional Crackers: 
  • Green crackers cause 30 percent less air pollution as compared to traditional ones. 
  • Green crackers reduce emissions substantially and absorb dust and don’t contain hazardous elements like barium nitrate. 
  • Permission to Use:
    • According to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), green crackers are permitted only in cities and towns where air quality is moderate or poor.
  • Guidelines to choose the Right Green Cracker:
    • Buy green crackers only from licensed sellers.
    • Identify through the CSIR NEERI logo. 
Chemicals in Traditional CrackersWhite color – aluminium, magnesium and titaniumOrange colour –  carbon or iron. Yellow agents – sodium compounds Blue and red – copper compounds and strontium carbonates. Green agent – barium mono chloride salts or barium nitrate or barium chlorate.ImpactsLead in crackers impact the nervous system;Copper triggers respiratory tract irritation, Sodium causes skin issues and magnesium leads to mental fume fever. Cadmium not just causes anemia but also damages the kidney.Nitrate is the most harmful that causes mental impairment. The presence of nitrite causes irritation in mucous membrane, eyes and skin.


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