Uniform Civil Code (UCC)


  • Recently, the Central government has pitched for Uniform Civil Code (UCC) to the Supreme Court arguing different laws as an affront to the nation’s unity.


  • The Centre responded to petitions filed in the apex court seeking uniformity in laws governing matters of divorce, succession and inheritance and adoption and guardianship for all, irrespective of gender and religion.
  • However, the government has not issued any direction to the Legislature to enact a particular legislation on UCC. 
  • It is a matter of policy for the elected representatives of the people (legislature) to decide whether to enact a legislation or not.

Arguments in favor of UCC

  • Constitutional Provisions: Article 44 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) under Part IV of the Constitution of India creates an obligation upon the State to endeavor to secure for citizens a Uniform Civil Code throughout the country.
  • National Unity: Centre argued that people belonging to different religions and denominations following different property and matrimonial laws creates an “affront to the nation’s unity”. 
  • Uniform Civil Code Umbrella: UCC denotes the field of personal law relating to marriage, divorce, maintenance, custody and guardianship of children. inheritance and succession and adoption. 
  • Uttarakhand has also formed an expert committee to study the personal laws and report on amendments to those laws, for the effective implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in the state.
  • Objective of UCC: Article 44 underlines the purpose of-
  • strengthening the preambular objectives of Secular Democratic Republic
  • ensuring integration of India by bringing communities on the common platform on matters being governed by diverse personal laws. 
  • divesting religion from social relations and personal law.
  • Positive Secularism and gender justice: UCC would help in ending socio-religious and gender discrimination and strengthen the secular fabric of the nation. For example, the ban on triple talaq.
  • Eradication of unjust customs and traditions: A unified personal law will eradicate many prevalent evil and unjust customs and traditions across various communities. 
  • For example, Manual scavenging Act.
  • Administration Convenience: India is on a way to surpass China as a country with the largest population in the world. UCC would facilitate administering the huge population base of India.

Arguments against UCC

  • A sensitive matter
  • UCC is an important subject matter with inherent sensitivity of the involved communities regarding traditional personal laws, religious tenets, cultural ethos and practices. 
  • For example, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board views the laws pertaining to marriage and inheritance have been part of religion since ages.
  • Need for wider deliberation/discussions
  • Any efforts to bring change and uniformity in personal laws governing different communities should be driven by dialogue and consensus. 
  • The 21st Law Commission of India gave a consultation paper titled ‘Reform of family law’ in 2018 suggesting the need for wider deliberation/discussions.
  • Hampering syncretic culture: India is known for a unique identity of a diverse, multicultural, multi-religious society. A unified law might hamper such a syncretic cultural identity. 
  • Violation of fundamental rights: UCC is opposed by the religious denominations on the ground that State interference in religious affairs would violate fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 25 of the constitution.
  • Possibility of communal unrest: UCC might be perceived as a tyranny of the majority over the minority and its implementation could attract a pervasive culture of communal unrest in India.

Other Provisions w.r.t. Uniform Civil Code: 

  • Seventh Schedule to the Constitution: Many matters pertaining to the UCC are present in item five of the Concurrent List (legislative jurisdiction of both the Union and the States) in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 covers matters of marriage, maintenance, dowry, divorce and inheritance.
  • The Hindu Succession Act, 1956: It was amended in 2005 to give daughters inheritance rights in ancestral property.
  • Hindu Code Bill: 
  • Drafted by Dr. B R Ambedkar, it was aimed at reforming Hindu laws legalising divorce, opposing polygamy and giving inheritance rights to daughters. 
  • Due to heavy criticism and intense opposition to the code, its diluted version was passed via four different laws.

Way Forward

  • The subject matter of ‘Reform of family law’ in 2018 will be placed before the 22nd Law Commission for its consideration when chairman and members of the Commission are appointed.
  • The government should examine the Commission submitted report in consultation with the stakeholders of various communities, religions and denominations.
  • The possibility of codification of all personal laws as suggested by the Law Commission should be considered to arrive at some principles prioritizing equity over imposition of UCC.

Tussle between Elected and Appointed Representative

In News

  • Recently, the Kerala Governor warned ministers of removal who tried to lower the dignity of his office.

About the recent controversy 

  • The Constitution does not give the Governor “dictatorial powers” to remove the ministers.
    • There has been no occasion so far of a Governor unilaterally removing a minister from the government. 
  • Major Issues:
    • Governor’s allegedly refused to give assent to University Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which was passed by the Assembly this year. 
      • The Bill had given an upper hand to the state government in the selection of vice-chancellors of the universities in Kerala. 
    • The Governor should return the Bill for reconsideration instead of withholding his approval indefinitely

Role of Governor in the parliamentary system

  • Articles 153-161: The position, role, powers, and conditions of office of the Governor are described in Articles 153-161 of the Constitution.
  • The position of Governor is similar to that of the President at the Union.
    • He is at the head of the state’s executive power, and barring some matters, acts on the advice of the council of ministers, which is responsible to the state legislature. 
  • Acts as a link: The Governor is appointed by the President (on the advice of the central government) and, therefore, acts as the vital link between the Union and the state governments.
  • Powers: The Governor enjoys certain powers such as giving or withholding assent to a Bill passed by the state legislature or determining the time needed for a party to prove its majority or which party must be called first to do so, generally after in a hung Assembly.
  • Article 164(1): It deals with the appointment of the Chief Minister and other ministers. 
    • While the Governor does not have to seek anyone’s advice while appointing the Chief Minister, he can appoint a minister only on the recommendation of the Chief Minister. 
    • The Supreme Court had on many occasions held that a government that enjoys a majority in the House cannot be dismissed by the Governor.
      • Thus, if the government enjoys a majority in the House, the Governor cannot say that he withdraws his pleasure.
    • The pleasure of the Governor is co-terminus with the majority in the House.  
Related casesShamsher Singh & Anr vs State Of Punjab (1974)A seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court said: “We declare the law of this branch of our Constitution to be that the President and Governor, custodians of all executive and other powers under various Articles, shall, by virtue of these provisions, exercise their formal constitutional powers only upon and in accordance with the advice of their Ministers save in a few well known exceptional situations.” In Nabam Rebia And Etc. vs Deputy Speaker And Ors (2016)The Supreme Court cited the observations of B R Ambedkar: “The Governor under the Constitution has no function which he can discharge by himself; no functions at all. While he has no functions, he has certain duties to perform, and I think the House will do well to bear in mind this distinction.”

What does the “pleasure” of the Governor mean?

  • This does not mean the Governor has the right to dismiss the Chief Minister or ministers at will.
    • The Governor can have his pleasure as long as the government enjoys a majority in the House. 
    • The Governor can withdraw his pleasure only when the government loses majority but refuses to quit. Then he withdraws the pleasure and dismisses it. 

Way forward/ Suggestions 

  • The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution appointed by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000 recommended significant changes in the selection of Governors.
    • The Commission suggested that the Governor of a State should be appointed by the President, after consultation with the Chief Minister of that State.
    • Normally the five year term should be adhered to and removal or transfer of the Governor should be by following a similar procedure as for appointment i.e., after consultation with the Chief Minister of the concerned State.
  • The Sarkaria Commission
    • That was set up in 1983 to look into Centre-state relations, and proposed that the Vice President of India and Speaker of Lok Sabha should be consulted by the Prime Minister in the selection of Governors.
  • The Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi Committee
    • That was constituted in 2007 and proposed in its report that a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Vice President, Speaker, and the concerned Chief Minister should choose the Governor.
    • It recommended deleting the Doctrine of Pleasure from the Constitution, but backed the right of the Governor to sanction the prosecution of ministers against the advice of the state government. 
    • It also argued for a provision for impeachment of the Governor by the state legislature. 

Drug Menace

In News

  • The Supreme Court recently highlighted that drug abuse has gripped society and also demanded some modules that can translate as an Order to tackle the issue.

More about the news

  • Court’s take on Drug menace:
    • Issue:
      • According to the court’s adviser in the case, it is a matter of demand and supply.
      • It acknowledged that inroads are made by the drug mafia in society, especially among youngsters, which pose a “grave situation”.
    • Court directive:
      • The apex court asked to draw up some common parameters and find a reasonable solution to combat the situation.
  • Government’s response:
    • Government said that Departments such as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence are examining ways to plug loopholes and augment preventive mechanisms to counter the menace 
      • They are also examining a possible “narco-terror angle” in the situation.
More about the drugs consumption and related issues in IndiaMost common drugs consumed in India: Alcohol, cannabis, opium, and heroin are the major drugs misused in India.Buprenorphine, propoxyphene, and heroin are the most commonly injected drugs.Impacts of Drugs AbuseWastage of economic potential: Leads to physical, psychological, moral, and intellectual decay of the youth of the nation.Increase Crime related tendencies:  Illegal production and distribution of drugs have spawned crime and violence worldwide.Social Problems: Like the increase in domestic violence, increase divorce, degradation of ethical values among the society.Diversion of resources towards drug abuse instead of communicable and other diseases.Drug Trafficking in India:For the last three decades India has become a transit hub as well as a destination for heroin and hashish produced in the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent. The two-way illegal flow of these drugs and chemicals not only violates India’s borders, but also poses a significant threat to national security.

The gravity of the situation

  • Post-Pandemic scenario:
    • The court’s adviser in the case said the drug menace has taken a turn for the worse following the pandemic. 
    • Use of modern techniques to deal in drugs:
      • He also said that people involved, pushers and users, take to the dark web to deal in drugs. 
      • Courier and postal services are used to ferry narcotics.
  • Data on menace:
    • The distribution networks have become more systematic, organised and widespread. 
      • ?30,000 crore worth of narcotics have been seized in the past several months.
    • Reports by the Narcotics Control Bureau, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Comptroller and Auditor General and even the AIIMS, showed that a “sizeable population” was addicted.
  • Data by high courts: 
    • Several High Courts across the country have in the past taken cognisance of the shadow cast by the drug mafia on society.
    • In 2020, the Madras High Court highlighted the pervasive influence wielded by drug peddlers in schools, colleges and other public places.
    • The Punjab and Haryana High Court has been for a time hearing a case on the rampant drug problem in Punjab.
    • The Kerala High Court had directed the State government to establish campus police units in educational institutions.

Government’s measures to curb drug menace

  • India has adopted a comprehensive approach of reducing supply as well as demand for narcotics and drugs. The approach comprises four elements:
    • first, enacting legislation;
    • second, ensuring physical security of the borders and coasts;
    • third, eliciting cooperation from neighbours and;
    • fourth, co-operating with voluntary organizations in the national endeavour to prevent abuse of narcotics and synthetic drugs.
  • Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
    • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act), 1985 was passed with the intent of controlling drug abuse and prohibiting the use, distribution, manufacture, and trade of drugs. 
    • The Act includes provisions for 
      • The cultivation of cannabis, poppy, and coca plants as well as the 
      • Manufacturing of psychotropic substances in connection with the cultivation of these plants.
    • Objective:
      • Its primary objective is to regulate the manufacturing, possession, sale, and transportation of drugs that are considered narcotics or psychotropics. 
    • Outcomes:
      • As a result of this act, 200 psychotropic substances are prohibited from sale to walk-in customers. 
      • Prescriptions are required to obtain these drugs. 
      • There have been multiple amendments to the law since it was established.
  • National Fund to Control Drug Abuse
    • The fund was created in accordance with a provision of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
    • The Act states that the fund would be used to combat illicit trafficking of narcotics, rehabilitate addicts, and prevent drug abuse.
  • Seizure Information Management System(SIMS):
    • For digitisation of pan-India drug seizure data, the MHA has launched an e-portal called ‘SIMS’ in 2019 for all the drug law enforcement agencies under the mandate of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS)
  • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB):
    • It is vested with the power to charge individuals in cases related to the illegal use and supply of narcotics.
    • India is a signatory to various international drug-related UN conventions and the responsibility of implementation of the provision of these international conventions also lies with NCB.
  • Recently, the Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment launched the website for the Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan.

Way ahead

  • Promoting science-based interventions is an absolute necessity if we are to reduce the demand and supply of drugs.
  • Prevention programs involving entities such as families, schools and the immediate communities are important in this regard.
  • Media can play a vital role in creating awareness regarding drug abuse.

Second India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD)

In News

  • The Indian Defence Minister recently addressed the second India-Africa Defence Dialogue (IADD).

More about the dialogue

  • About:
    • India-Africa Defence Dialogue was held on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
  • Theme:
    • The theme of the second India-Africa defence dialogue was: 
      • “Adopting strategies for synergising and strengthening defence and security cooperation”. 
  • Gandhinagar Declaration:
    • Gandhinagar Declaration was adopted to enhance cooperation in the fields of training & military exercises.
  • Areas of cooperation:
    • The defence minister said India and African countries could explore new areas such as 
      • Capacity building, 
      • Training cyber security, 
      • Maritime security and 
      • Counter-terrorism.
    • He also invited African countries to explore Indian defence equipment and technologies. 
      • The minister said that the Indian defence industry was ready to fulfill the requirements of Africa.
  • Africa India Field Training Exercise:
    • The next edition of the Africa India Field Training Exercise will be held in the first quarter of next year. 
    • The last edition was held in 2019. 
    • India has held African partners set up Defence training institutions and extended help for counter-insurgency training.
  • Expansion of UNSC:
    • During the dialogue, India’s Defence Minister said that India does not believe in the hierarchical world order and sought the expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
    • India called for democratisation of the world order during the dialogue along with the other African Nations.

India Africa Relations

  • Long history of partnership: 
    • India has a long history of partnership with Africa, with solidarity and political affinity going back to the early 1920s when both regions were fighting against colonial rule and oppression. 
    • After India gained independence, it became a leading voice in support of African decolonization at the United Nations. 
  • Promoted South-South Cooperation since independence:
    • Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme: 
      • In 1964, India launched the ITEC Programme to provide technical assistance through human resource development to other developing countries, with African countries the greatest beneficiaries of it and the Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme (SCAAP).
  • Building African capacity:
    • In 1949, India announced 70 scholarships for students from other developing countries to pursue studies in the country. 
    • Currently, about 98 Indian institutions run training courses in fields such as 
      • Agriculture, 
      • Food and fertilizer, 
      • Engineering and technology, and 
      • Environment and climate change. 
      • Oversees defence training programmes, 
      • Study tours, 
      • Aid for disaster relief, 
      • The deputation of Indian experts abroad and 
      • Project-based cooperation. 
    • Africa is a key beneficiary of the programme with nearly 50 percent of the ITEC slots reserved for countries from the region.
    • India-Africa cooperation has also focused on techno-economic capacity building, skill development and capacity building featured prominently in all the India-Africa Forum Summits.
  • Trade & Investment:
    • Trade:
      • India is Africa’s fourth-largest national trading partner, according to Exim Bank and the African Export-Import Bank (Afriexim Bank)
      • Merchandise trade grew by 34 percent from USD 67 billion in 2019-20 to USD 89 billion in 2021-22.
    • Investment:
      • India is among the top 5 investors in Africa.
      • The Ministry of External Affairs said that 38 African nations have benefited from India’s Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) scheme which provides duty-free access to 98.2 percent of India’s total tariff lines.
  • COVID 19:
    • India has also aided African countries amid crises, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • India has provided 270 metric tonnes of food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
    • Supplied essential medicines (including hydroxychloroquine and paracetamol) to over 25 African countries. 
    • The Indian government also organised e-ITEC training courses for healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and management protocols. 
    • Vaccine diplomacy – Even as developed countries have focussed on securing large vaccine supplies for their own populations, India is being hailed for its vaccine diplomacy — it has exported over 1.6 crore doses of vaccines globally, of which about 62.7 lakh doses (or about 37 percent) are as grant assistance. 
United Nations Security Council (UNSC)It is one of the UN’s six main organs and is aimed at maintaining international peace and security.It held its first session on 17th January 1946 in Westminster, London.Headquarters: New York City.Membership: The Council is composed of 15 Members:Permanent members with veto power: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.More than 50 United Nations Member States have never been Members of the Security Council.UN ReformsDemand of reform:Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues: Categories of membership, The question of the veto held by the five permanent members, Regional representation, The size of an enlarged Council and its working methods, and The Security Council-General Assembly relationship. Why?Equitable World Order: There is a need for a more equitable world in order to uphold the principles of democracy at the global level.Inclusivity: Developing countries like the African countries, need to be made stakeholders in the multilateral institutions and involved in the decision-making process.Mitigation of New Threats: With rising protectionism, increased incidents of terrorism and the threat of climate change, the multilateral system must become more resilient and responsive.How?Any reform of the Security Council would require the agreement of at least two-thirds of UN member states in a vote in the General Assembly and must be ratified by two-thirds of Member States. All of the permanent members of the UNSC (which have veto rights) must also agree.

World Health Summit: Global leaders pledge $2.5 billion for Polio Eradication

In News

  • Recently, Global leaders pledged $2.5 billion for polio eradication at the World Health Summit.

Key Points

  • World Health Summit:
    • It is an international health conference which was held in Berlin, Germany, from October 16-18, 2022. 
    • Leaders pledged to give about Rs 19 crore. 
  • Pledging:  
    • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.2 billion to the largest international public health initiative, Global Polio Eradication Initiative  (GPEI). 
    • Humanitarian organization Rotary International pledged $150 million, 
    • the United States pledged 114 million, 
    • Germany over $70 million and 
    • France over $49 million.
  • Funding will help: 
    • The funding will support global efforts to overcome the final hurdles to polio eradication, 
    • Help vaccinate 370 million children annually over the next five years and 
    • Continue disease surveillance across 50 countries.
    • It would also be able to deliver additional health services and immunizations alongside polio vaccines to underserved communities
    • Full funding: The initiative needed $4.8 billion to implement its 2022-2026 strategy fully. If fully funded, the strategy can save up to $33.1 billion in health cost savings this century compared to the price of controlling outbreaks.
  • Declaration: 
    • A declaration endorsing the 2022-2026 strategy was also released by a group of more than 3,000 influential scientists, physicians, and public health experts from around the world. 
    • It called on donors to stay committed to eradication and ensure GPEI is fully funded.
    • The group points to new tactics contained in the programme’s strategy, like the continued roll-out of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), that make them confident in GPEI’s ability to end polio.
      • Five hundred million doses of nOPV2 have already been administered across 23 countries and field data continued to show its promise as a tool to more sustainably stop outbreaks of type 2 circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV).
  • Polio Virus and variants:
    • It is endemic in just two countries — Pakistan and Afghanistan. 
    • However, after just six cases were recorded in 2021, 29 cases have been recorded so far this year, including a small number of new detections in southeast Africa linked to a strain originating in Pakistan.
  • Polio cases in India:
    • India was declared polio-free in January 2014, after three years of zero cases.
    • The eradication was the result of a successful Pulse Polio campaign.
    • The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected in 2011.
    • Subsequently, WHO removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission in 2012.
    • India launched the Pulse Polio immunisation programme in 1995, after a resolution for a global initiative of polio eradication was adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1988.
    • To further prevent the virus from coming to India, the government has since 2014 made the Oral Polio Vaccination (OPV) mandatory for those traveling between India and polio-affected countries, such as Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon.

Global Polio Eradication Initiative  (GPEI)

  • The GPEI is led by national governments with six core partners:
    • Rotary International, 
    • the World Health Organization (WHO), 
    • the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 
    • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 
    • the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 
    • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. 

Wild Poliovirus

  • About:
    • Polio is a highly infectious disease, caused by the virus which multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.
    • Once that happens, the patient is crippled for life because there is no treatment for the affliction. Colloquially they are referred to as wild polio virus.
  • Variants:
    • There are three types of wild poliovirus:
      • Type 1: still exists but efforts are going on to eradicate it.
      • Type 2: eradicated.
      • Type 3: eradicated.
  • Transmission:
    • The virus is transmitted by person-to-person, mainly through the faecal-oral route or less frequently, by a common vehicle (contaminated water or food).
    • Because the virus lives in the faeces of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating.
  • Endemism:
    • Currently, wild poliovirus is endemic in two countries: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    • The detection of Type 1 outside the two countries where the disease is endemic demonstrates the continuous risk of international spread of the disease until every corner of the world is free of Type 1.
  • Symptoms:
    • Minor ones:
      • Tiredness
      • Nausea
      • Headache
      • Nasal congestion
      • Sore throat, cough
      • Stiffness in the neck and back and pain in the arms and legs
    • Major one:
      • Polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis).
      • Polio may be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralysed or if there is an infection of the brain.
  • Cure:
    • Though there is no cure for the polio vaccine. However, it is preventable by a vaccine.

How a country is declared polio-free?

  • There are three variants of the poliovirus, numbered 1 to 3. For a country to be declared polio-free, the wild transmission of all three kinds has to be stopped.
  • For eradication, cases of both wild and vaccine-derived polio infection have to be reduced to zero.
  • Subsequently, WHO removes the country from the list of countries with active wild poliovirus.


  • The new detections of polio this year in previously polio-free countries are a stark reminder that if the goal of ending polio everywhere is not delivered, it may resurge globally.

Increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSP)

In News

Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs under the chairmanship of Prime Minister approved the increase in the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for all mandated rabi crops for marketing season 2023-24.

Key Points

  • Increase in MSPs:
    • Rs 110 per quintal (5.46 per cent) increase for the wheat crop.
    • Other rabi crops — barley, gram, lentil (masur), rapeseed & mustard, and safflower — have increased in the range of 2.01 per cent to 9.09 per cent. 
  • Maximum rise in MSP of:
    • In absolute terms, the highest increase in the MSP has been approved for lentils (masur) at Rs 500 per quintal.
    • Followed by rapeseed and mustard (Rs 400 per quintal), safflower (Rs 209 per quintal), gram (Rs 105 per quintal), and barley (Rs 100 per quintal).
  • Increase in wheat MSP:
    • The increase in the wheat MSP is higher in both absolute and percentage terms compared to last year. 
    • In absolute terms, a hike of Rs 110 per quintal in the MSP of wheat is the highest since 2017-18, when an equal hike was made — from Rs 1,625 to Rs 1,735.
  • In line with Union Budget 2018-19: 
    • It was announced for fixing the MSP at a level of at least 1.5 times of the All-India weighted average cost of production, aiming at reasonably fair remuneration for the farmers. 

Need of Rise in Wheat MSP

  • The increase in the wheat MSP assumes significance in view of lower production and procurement in the just-ended rabi season. 
  • Wheat production is estimated at 106.84 million tonne during 2021-22, which is lower than the target (110 million tonnes) for the year and 109.59 million tonne actual production recorded in 2020-21.
  • While there has been a marginal dip in production during 2021-22, there has been a sharp decline in the procurement of wheat for the Central pool. 
  • There has been a sharp increase in the retail and wholesale prices of wheat and ‘atta’ (wheat flour) in recent months.
Minimum support price (MSP)Meaning:The MSP for a crop is the price at which the government is supposed to procure/buy that crop from farmers if the market price falls below it.MSPs provide a floor for market prices, and ensure that farmers receive a certain “minimum” remuneration so that their costs of cultivation (and some profit) can be recovered.Objective:The government incentivises the production of certain crops, thus ensuring that India does not run out of staple food grains.MSPs create the benchmark for farm prices not just in those commodities for which they are announced, but also in crops that are substitutes.What if the prices in the market are too low?This can often happen if there is a bumper crop that season, or if the international prices of a particular commodity are quite low.In such a scenario, India’s farmers, who are already some of the poorest citizens of the country, will struggle to make ends meet.Apart from their individual troubles, if farmers give up farming as a result of low prices, it can even put the country’s food security at risk.MSPs announced by the government each year are a way to preempt such an eventuality.Support prices:During each cropping season, the government announces minimum support prices for 23 crops.Crops covered:7 types of cereals (paddy, wheat, maize, bajra, jowar, ragi and barley)5 types of pulses (chana, arhar/tur, urad, moong and masoor)7 oilseeds (rapeseed-mustard, groundnut, soyabean, sunflower, sesamum, safflower, nigerseed)4 commercial crops (cotton, sugarcane, copra, raw jute)Who decides what the MSP would be and how?The MSPs are announced by the Union government and as such, it is the government’s decision.But the government largely bases its decision on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).While recommending MSPs, the CACP looks at the following factors:The demand and supply of a commodityIts cost of productionThe market price trends (both domestic and international)Inter-crop price parityThe terms of trade between agriculture and non-agriculture (that is, the ratio of prices of farm inputs and farm outputs)A minimum of 50 per cent as the margin over the cost of production.The likely implications of an MSP on consumers of that product.Three kinds of Production cost:The CACP projects three kinds of production cost for every crop, both at state and all-India average levels.‘A2’: Covers all paid-out costs directly incurred by the farmer in cash and kind on seeds, fertilisers, pesticides, hired labour, leased-in land, fuel, irrigation, etc.‘A2+FL’: Includes A2 plus an imputed value of unpaid family labour.‘C2’: It is a more comprehensive cost that factors in rentals and interest forgone on owned land and fixed capital assets, on top of A2+FL.CACP considers both A2+FL and C2 costs while recommending MSP.

Significance of MSP

  • Better price for their crops: With the increase in the MSP, farmers will get a better price for their crops and procurement will also be done.
  • Promotion to grow oilseeds: As farmers get a secured price for their crops, it will encourage more and more farmers to grow oilseeds as well as prompt them to shift away from grains.
  • Crop Diversification: There are slightly higher increases in the MSP for pulses, oilseeds and coarse cereals which helps in achieving the motive of diversifying crops.
  • Differential Remuneration and protection to farmers: It helps in diversifying the crops in land use pattern. It protects farmers from the unwarranted fluctuation in prices provoked by the international level price variations. Any sharp fall in the market price of a commodity can be handled as MSP acts as a shock absorber.
  • Mend demand supply imbalance: Concerted efforts were made to realign the MSPs in favour of oilseeds, pulses and coarse cereals. It encouraged farmers to shift to larger areas under these crops and adopt best technologies and farm practices, to correct demand – supply imbalance. 
  • Focus on Nutri-Rich crops: The added focus on nutri-rich nutri-cereals is to incentivise its production in the areas where rice-wheat cannot be grown without long term adverse implications for groundwater table.
  • Needs of consumers: MSP ensures that the country’s agricultural output responds to the changing needs of its consumers.  Ex: The government hiked the MSP of pulses to expand sowing of pulses.  
  • Food Crops: The MSP incentivises production of a specific food crop which is in short supply.  
  • Forward chain: The MSP leads to higher farm profits which encourage farmers to spend more on inputs, technology etc.
  • Atma-nirbhar Bharat: To boost pulses and oilseeds production and reduce the country’s dependence on imports, the government increased the support price of tur by Rs 300 to Rs 6,300 per quintal for the 2021-22 crop year from Rs 6,000 per quintal last year.

Challenges associated with MSP

  • Protest by Farmers: Farm unions have been protesting for more than six months on Delhi’s outskirts, demanding legislation to guarantee MSP for all farmers for all crops, and a repeal of three contentious farm reform laws.
  • MSP and Inflation: When announcing the MSP, inflation should be taken into account. But often the price is not increased upto that mark. Example, this time MSP for Maize has not even considered inflation then how it will benefit farmers! Also, frequent increase in the MSPs can lead to inflation too.
  • High Input costs: The input costs have been rising faster than sale prices, squeezing the meager income of the small farmers and driving them into debt.
  • Lack of Mechanism: There is no mechanism that guarantees that every farmer can get at least the MSP as the floor price in the market. So proper mechanisms need to be fixed for all times to come.
  • Restriction in Exports: Even after producing surplus grains, every year a huge portion of these grains gets rotten. This is due to the restrictions under WTO Norms, that grain stocks with the FCI (being heavily subsidised due to MSP) cannot be exported.
  • Limited Awareness: Farmers, specially small and marginalised ones, are less aware about the time of announcement of MSPs. It leads to them being left out of the whole virtuous cycle.
  • Economically Unsustainable: The economic cost of procured rice and wheat is much higher for the FCI than the market price of the same. Due to this, the FCI’s economic burden eventually will have to be borne by the Union government and may subsequently lead to divergence of funds from being invested in agriculture infrastructure.

Way Ahead

  • Agriculture is, perhaps, the only business where there is a high probability of both production and price risks. It may be more worthwhile to consider “how best” to make MSP work for the farmer.
  • Public procurement needs to continue for staple cereals, but farmers of non-staple food crops need to be provided with direct income transfers.

Anti-Smog Guns

In  News

Vehicle-mounted ‘anti-smog guns’ have begun their rounds of Delhi, spraying water in a fine mist.

What is an Anti-smog gun? 

  • It is a device that sprays atomised water into the atmosphere to reduce air pollution. 
  • It is connected to a water tank and mounted on a vehicle. It basically acts like rain to bring down suspended particles.
  • It  could be taken across the city to spray water to settle dust and other suspended particles.
  •  The guns can be transported to any part of the city using tractors and the machines will be operated with the help of a generator.

World Green City Award 2022


  • The city of Hyderabad has bagged the prestigious ‘World Green City Award 2022’ beating Paris, Bogota, Mexico City, Montreal, and Fortaleza in Brazil.


  • Additionally, the city has also won ‘Living Green for Economic Recovery and Inclusive Growth’ at the International Association of Horticulture Producers (AIPH) 2022 held in Jeju, South Korea. 
  • Hyderabad is the only Indian city that was selected for the ‘World Green City 2022,’ award, the best across all six categories.

PMJAY-MA Yojana Ayushman Cards


  • The Prime Minister distributed the PMJDY-MA Yojana Ayushman cards in Gujarat.


  • Gujarat combined the MA/MAV Yojana with the AB-PM-JAY scheme in 2019 and gave it the name PMJAY-MA Yojana (Mukhyamantri Amrutam (MA)).
  • The Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), the largest health insurance scheme in the world, was introduced by the prime minister in 2018. 
  • PMJAY provides coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakh per family per year for primary, secondary and tertiary care hospitalization without any cap on the family size and age.

2022 Booker Prize

In News 

Shehan Karunatilaka has won the Booker Prize 2022 for his second novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.


  • The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida tells the story of a war photographer who has woken up dead in what seems to be a celestial visa office. 
  • He has ‘seven moons’ to try and solve the mystery of his death and to help unveil a cache of photos that will rock war-torn Sri Lanka.  

About Booker Prize

  • The Booker Prize is the world’s leading literary award for a single work of fiction.
  • Founded in the UK in 1969, it initially awarded Commonwealth writers and now spans the globe and it is open to anyone regardless of origin.
  • Each year, the Booker Prize is awarded to what is, in the opinion of our judges, the best sustained work of fiction written in English and published in the UK and Ireland.
  • The winning book is a work that not only speaks to our current times, but also one that will endure and join the pantheon of great literature. 

India’s First Aluminum Freight Rake

In News

  • The Union minister for Railways recently launched India’s first all-aluminium freight rail rakes.

More about the news

  • About:
    • Hindalco has developed these all-aluminium freight rail rakes. 
    • The aluminum rakes have been developed to:
      • Modernise freight transportation and 
      • Enable large carbon savings for Indian Railways.
    • 61-wagon rakes have been flagged off from Bhubaneswar station. 
  • Characteristics:
    • The rakes are 180 tonnes lighter than existing steel rakes.
    • They can carry 5-10% more payload.
    • They consume less energy with relatively negligible wear and tear to rolling stock and rails.
  • Significance:
    • Saving Carbon emissions:
      • The bottom discharge aluminium freight wagon, specifically designed to carry coal, is tipped to reduce the carbon footprint measurably. These wagons save 14,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
      • For every 100 kg weight reduction of the wagon, the lifetime CO2 saving is 8-10 tonnes. This translates to a saving of more than 14,500 tonnes of CO2 for a single rake.
    • Other:
      • These all-aluminium rakes offer 19% higher payload to tare weight ratio, which will have a transformative impact on the Railways’ logistics and operational efficiency.
      • They consume less energy and are corrosion-resistant. 
      • They are 100% recyclable and even after 30 years, they will be as good as new. 
    • Boost for growth of sector:
      • The freight sector in India is expected to grow at more than 7% CAGR to 15-billion tonnes by 2050, with the energy-efficient and eco-friendly Railways expected to notably increase its volume share from the current 18%.
  • Significance of using Aluminium:
    • Aluminium trains command a lion’s share in the United States, Europe and Japan.
      • This is because of its attributes such as sleek, aerodynamic designs.
      • They also have an ability to tilt at high speeds without going off the rails.
    • Aluminium is the preferred choice for metro trains worldwide for their durability and most importantly – passenger safety, as it has improved crashworthiness or superior crash absorption capability
    • Indian Railways have already announced their plans to make aluminium bodied Vande Bharat train sets.

Japan seeks GI tag for nihonshu

In News 

The Embassy of Japan, New Delhi, has filed an application seeking a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for nihonshu/Japanese sake, an alcoholic beverage.

  • This is the first time a product from Japan has filed for a tag at the Geographical Indication Registry in Chennai

About Nihonshu 

  • It is regarded as a special and valuable beverage made from fermenting rice.
  • People traditionally drink nihonshu on special occasions, such as festivals, weddings or funerals, but it is also consumed on a daily basis. 
    • Thus, it is an integral part of the lifestyle and culture in Japan
  • The sake market (almost all are nihonshu) is the second largest brewed liquor (such as beer) market in Japan.

About GI Tag

  • It is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. 
  • In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.
  • In addition, the qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product should be essentially due to the place of origin. 
  • Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.


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