Need for Data Localisation

In News

  • There is always a tussle going on between the need of data localisation requirements and issues associated with it.

What is Data localisation?

  • Data localization is the practice of keeping data within the region it originated from. 
  • Countries mandate data that are created within their borders to remain stored within its territorial boundaries. This process of storing data locally is referred to as data localisation.  
Data localization vs. data residencyData localization and data residency are two terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, although they have slightly different meanings. Data residency refers to the place where data is stored. Data residency requirements may compel organizations to change where their data resides. Data localization is the action of complying with data residency requirements.

What is the need for data localisation?

  • Strengthens the protection: The requirement of data localisation strengthens the protection of personal data, as all of us while using the internet are sending data in some manner or form.
  • General Data Protection Regulation: Obligations under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), obligates businesses in the EU to keep the data secured within the boundaries of the EU.
    • If in any case such data is to be transferred to a different country, they need to have similar protections like those that exist in the EU.
  • Countries like Russia on the other hand have stricter laws pertaining to the cross-border flow of data and emphasises keeping data within the Russian Federation.
  • Control on the data: The motive for different governments to store data locally is not only to protect the privacy of their citizens but also to exercise their control on the data, which is fuelling and driving businesses in their countries, for law enforcement purposes.
  • Data protection Bill: India being one of the most powerful markets in terms of data creation and use, the need for data localisation is essential.
    • The recently withdrawn Bill on data protection also emphasised this fact.
  • Law enforcement agencies in India face a lot of difficulties in getting timely access to data that may be stored elsewhere by businesses operating in India.
  • Payment system data information: Due to the increasing number of digital payments in the country, the Reserve Bank of India has also mandated payment system data information to be stored in India for better monitoring and safety.

Arguments against Data localisation

  • Hindrance of global trade: The present technology-powered age is impacting trade on a different level. Therefore, imposing restrictions in the free flow of data can not only create an impact on the global economy but also become a hindrance for local markets.
  • Data more vulnerable: If governments look at data localisation from the point of security and counter data breaches, it can, due to the forced localisation of data, make data security more vulnerable as the data no longer undergoes sharing.
  • Risk of local surveillance: There can also be an increased risk of local surveillance through the implementation of stringent data localisation laws.
  • Varied nature of compliances: A lot of countries prohibit transfer of data on the account of ‘national interest’ which is a very broad term and could encompass various situations. Such variations can foster a varied set of challenges in different settings and the nature of businesses.
  • Increases the operational costs: the mandate of data localisation increases the operational costs of the businesses.
  • Promotion of monopoly: Another downside of this could be promotion of monopoly and eradication of small and mid-size businesses from the market.
  • High investment and energy costs: the nature of automation followed in the data centres that are set up to store data locally, does not foster employment opportunities but instead incurs high investment and energy costs.

Way forward/ Suggestions 

  • Essential for growth: Data is the enabler of businesses and digitisation that has been essential for growth and innovation.
  • Encryption: Governments should shift to alternate standards (such an encryption) rather than enforcing strict measures on data localisation that could restrict trade and innovation.
  • Glocalization: The ‘glocalization’ approach is one such method in the digital space, wherein laws can be harmonised globally, but by paying attention to local interests.
  • Increasing the efficiency of IT systems: There is no denying the fact that robustness of IT systems should become more important than the geographical location of data storage. 
  • Growing businesses: The cross-border data flow has proven to be an important pillar of strength for established as well as growing businesses.
  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in their Digital Economy Report found that businesses using the internet for global trade have a higher survival rate than those who do not.
  • Multiple stakeholder approach: A way forward could be to move with a multiple stakeholder approach which can not only help in looking at data localisation alone, but also other issues such as privacy and governance. 

Climate Finance

In News

  • Recently, the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) released a report regarding mobilisation of climate finance.

More about the news

  • Issue of climate finance:
    • Over the last few years, developed countries have insisted upon two points on the issue of climate finance.
      • First, they maintain that their commitment is to reach the target of $100 billion in climate finance a year for developing countries.
        • It was first promised in 2009 and is close to being met. 
      • Second, they view the mobilisation of private finance as the critical component of climate finance henceforth.
  • UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) Report:
    • About:
      • The UNFCCC Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) released a report on the progress made by developed countries towards achieving the goal of mobilising $100 billion per year. 
      • According to the report, it is widely accepted that
        • The $100 billion goal has not been achieved in 2020, and 
        • An earlier effort to mobilise private finance by the developed countries has met with comprehensive failure
    • Extended target:
      • Following the dismal failure to meet the $100 billion goal, developed countries pushed the target year for achieving it to 2025 from 2020.
    • Data from other reports:
      • The SCF report relied mainly on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Oxfam reports for aggregate climate finance trends.
  • Private climate finance: 
    • The OECD 2020 data shows that the mobilisation of private climate finance has underperformed against the expectations of developed countries.
    • The SCF report notes that it is unclear
      • to what extent this was due to a lower-than-expected potential to mobilise private finance or 
      • to a relatively lower proportion of projects with mobilisation potential in the overall climate finance portfolio.
About Climate finance What is climate finance?Climate finance refers to local, national or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing—that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.The Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement call for financial assistance from Parties with more financial resources to those that are less endowed and more vulnerable. Significance:It is critical to addressing climate change because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions, notably in sectors that emit large quantities of greenhouse gases. It is equally important for adaptation, for which significant financial resources will be similarly required to allow societies and economies to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of climate change.India’s position on climate finance:Global problem:India firmly believes that climate change is a global collective action problem that can be solved only through international cooperation and multilateralism.Clarity on definition:India also seeks clarity on the definition of climate finance—the absence of which allows developed countries to greenwash their finances and pass off loans as climate-related aid.Capacity building & technology transfer:India expects action from rich countries in terms of climate finance, technology transfer and strengthening the capacity of poor and developing countries to combat climate change.


  • Regarding private climate finance:
    • Demands of developing countries:
      • Developing countries have for a long time insisted that a significant portion of climate finance should come from public funds as private finance will not address their needsand priorities especially related to adaptation.
        • Climate finance already remains skewed towards mitigation and flows towards bankable projects with clear revenue streams. 
    • Issues with adaptation priorities:
      • Adaptation is unlikely to offer commercially profitable opportunities for private financiers. 
      • Vulnerable, debt-ridden and low-income countries with poor credit ratings needing adaptation finance the most, find it challenging to access private finance.
    • Contradictory claims:
      • Many developed countries and multilateral development banks have emphasised the importance of private finance mobilised in their climate finance strategies, including by de-risking and creating enabling environments.
      • According to the reports, these efforts have not yielded results at the scale required to tap into the significant potential for investments by the private sector and deliver on developed countries’ climate ambition.
  • Overall Challenges:
    • Lesser than required supply:
      • Currently available adaptation finance is significantly lower than the needs expressed in the Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by developing countries.
      • This leaves the public sector and countries with weaker resources and  access to capital is a challenge, and social safeguards are relatively weak.
    • Delivering finances:
      • Delivering on climate finance is among the stickiest points of contention between developed and developing countries because of developed countries.

Way Ahead

  • The composition of public climate finance portfolios will progressively change towards a larger share of activities with low to no private finance mobilisation potential.
    • This includes finance for adaptation, and capacity building, as grants, for least developed and small island developing countries
  • Thus, grant-based and concessional international public climate finance will continue to play the key role in addressing the needs and the priorities of developing countries, especially in the face of growing challenges due to extreme weather, food and energy crises.
UNFCCCThe United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was signed in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development It established an international environmental treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. It is also known as the Earth Summit, the Rio Summit.  It has been ratified by 197 countries.It was entered into force in 1994. 

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO)

In News

  • Recently, the Delhi High Court has remarked that POCSO Act is to protect children from sexual exploitation and not meant to criminalise consensual romantic relationships between young adults.
    • The court’s observation came while granting bail to a boy who married a 17-year-old girl and was subsequently apprehended under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.  

About the news

  • The Delhi high court order comes days after the Karnataka high court directed the Law Commission of India to reconsider the age of consent under POCSO.
  • Although the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations in 1989, the offences against children were not redressed by way of any legislation in India till the year 2012. 
  • The POCSO Act cannot be called a complete code in itself and provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Penal Code, 1860, Juvenile Justice Act, and Information Technology Act, 2000 overlap and encapsulate the procedure and specify the offences. 

Background of the POCSO ACT

  • The Act took effect in 2012.
  • The Act has been enacted to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and provide for establishment of Special Courts for trial of such offences and related matters and incidents.
  • These provisions were not covered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or the Goa Children’s Act, 2003, which was the only specific piece of child abuse legislation before the POCSO Act 2012.
  • The act for the first time was amended in 2019 by The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019.
    • This amendment to the Act enhanced the punishment to include death penalty for aggravated penetrative sexual assault of the child. 

Features of the POCSO Act, 2012

  • The Act is gender neutral and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of paramount importance at every stage so as to ensure the healthy physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of the child.
  • It required mandatory police verification of each and every man or woman and the vicinity where children come, like schools, academies, sports activities centers, care homes or day care centers, and many others after regular intervals.
  • Making a number of vocational courses and training curriculum available for the police officials and forensic experts, so that they attain greater expertise in their respective fields.
  • People who traffic children for sexual purposes are also punishable under the provisions relating to abetment in the Act. The Act prescribes stringent punishment graded as per the gravity of the offence, with a maximum term of rigorous imprisonment for life, and fine.
  • Making age-appropriate instructional material the part of their curriculum, to instruct them safety measures, control emotions, etc.
  • The governments have additionally been asked to formulate zero-tolerance protection principle in case of sexual abuse of children.

General principles of the POCSO Act, 2012

  • Right to be treated with dignity: various provisions under the POCSO Act reflect that it is very crucial to treat a child with dignity and utmost compassion 
  • Right to life and survival: Right to life is a fundamental right provided by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It is essential that a child should be protected from the evils of society and could be brought up in a secure environment.
  • Right against discrimination: This is also a crucial fundamental right and an additional duty under the Indian Constitution. A child should not be discriminated against on the basis of sex, religion, culture, etc and the investigative and court procedures should be just and fair. 
  • Right to preventive measures: Children being immature in their growing stages should be well trained so that they become capable of preventing abuses against them thereby differentiating between what is right and what is wrong.
  • Right to be informed: A child should be informed of the legal procedures that are being carried out for the conviction of the accused.
  • Right to privacy: The main objective behind provisions like Section 23 is to protect the right to privacy of a child against whom any offence under the POCSO Act has been committed so as to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings for the best interests of the child victim.

Importance of the POCSO Act, 2012

  • Rising cases: The act was enacted when the cases of sexual abuse against children were rising.
  • Separate legislation: With emerging dangers, it was significant to introduce separate legislation which could provide a reliable system for mitigating the number of such offences and punishing the perpetrators.
  • Robust justice mechanism: The Act has been instrumental in providing a robust justice mechanism for the victims of sexual abuse and has highlighted the significance of child rights and safety.

Shortcomings of the POCSO Act, 2012

  • Problem with the application of the last seen theory:
    • The last seen theory can lead to wrongful conviction in several cases and therefore, it cannot be applied without circumstantial evidence.
    • It was held by the Supreme Court in the case of Anjan Kumar Sarma v. State of Assam that the last seen theory is a weak piece of evidence and cannot be relied upon single-handedly. 
  • Unprepared investigation machinery:
    • The investigation machinery in the child sexual abuse cases is not well acquainted with the procedure which leads to a faulty investigation. 
  • Silent on consensual sexual activities:
    • In case of sexual intercourse with consent, one of which is minor, the partner who is not minor can be prosecuted under the POCSO Act as the consent of a minor is not considered relevant under this Act. 
  • False complaints by children are not punishable:
    • Section 22 of the POCSO Act provides for the punishment to the persons who file a false complaint in order to humiliate, extort, threaten or defame another person. 
    • However, a child is exempted from any such punishment which is a loophole as many people take advantage of this exemption and misuse this provision. 
  • Pending cases:
    • Although, the POCSO Act specifies that “the Special Court shall complete the trial, as far as possible, within a period of one year from the date of taking cognizance of the offence” under Section 35(2) but the number of pending cases is rising which is creating a huge problem in making the justice mechanism effective.  

Way forward

  • The need of the hour is to sensitize the public regarding child sexual abuse so that there is no reluctance in reporting these crimes.
  • The investigating agencies should be well trained and professionals such as medical practitioners involved in the stages of investigation and trial should be efficient so as to leave any scope of negligence on their part.
  • The POCSO Act already makes the procedure child friendly and this approach should be followed by the judicial officers, magistrates, and police officers so that the child victims could repose trust in them.
Recent Significant judicial pronouncementsSatish Ragde v. State of MaharashtraThe court held that pressing the breast of the child aged 12 years without removing the top or without skin to skin touch does not amount to sexual assault as defined under section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act; rather it would constitute an offence u/s 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).Libnus v State of MaharashtraThe court held that unzipping the pants and holding the hands of a minor child does not amount to sexual assault as section 7 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act defines.

Jharkhand Reservation Bill & Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution

In News

  • The Jharkhand Assembly recently cleared a Bill to raise the total reservation in State government posts.

Jharkhand Reservation of Vacancies in Posts and Services (Amendment) Bill, 2022

  • About:
    • The Jharkhand Assembly passed a Bill to raise the total reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) in State government posts to up to 77%. 
  • Amending Ninth schedule:
    • In the Bill passed by the Jharkhand Assembly, the recommendation is to amend the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution accordingly.
    • Why the need to include it in the Ninth Schedule?
      • The 77 percent reservation breaches the 50 percent ceiling set by the Supreme Court in the landmark 1992 Indra Sawhney v Union of India verdict. 
      • However, placing legislation in the Ninth Schedule shields it from judicial scrutiny.
  • 50% ceiling:
    • Without directly referring to the Indra Sawhney judgment of 1993, the Bill passed in Jharkhand Assembly noted that the 50% ceiling set out in the judgment never explicitly prohibited the breaching of the limit. 


  • Indra Sawhney case: 
    • In the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India, popularly known as the Mandal Commission case, the Supreme Court ordered that total reservation should not exceed 50 percent. 
      • Critics believe that the 50 percent ceiling is a constitutional requirement without which the structure of equality of opportunity would collapse.
  • Supreme Court’s recent judgment regarding flexibility on the 50% cap on the reservation: 
    • The bill was cleared in the backdrop of a Supreme Court Constitution Bench’s majority ruling in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) case that the 50% cap on the reservation was not sacrosanct. 
  • Outcome of this judgment: 
    • This ruling of SC has paved the way to give new life to the argument of several other States fighting to increase reservations for Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBC) beyond the 50% mark. 
    • Now, after the Jharkhand Assembly’s move and the EWS judgment on this aspect, other States like Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka are likely to get a fresh impetus to argue for extending reservations for Backward Classes beyond the 50% limit
    • Ninth schedule:
      • Before the EWS judgment once again affirming that the Indra Sawhney decision does not specifically bar a breach of the 50% limit, State governments considered that the only way to raise reservations was through a Constitutional amendment that included their legislations in the Ninth Schedule
103rd Amendment ActAbout:The Parliament amended the Constitution of India (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 to provide for a 10% reservation in education and government jobs in India for a section of the General category candidates.Introduction of Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6):The amendment introduced economic reservation by amending Articles 15 and 16. It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6) in the Constitution to allow reservation for the economically backward in the unreserved category. Article 15(6): Up to 10% of seats may be reserved for EWS for admission in educational institutions. Such reservations will not apply to minority educational institutions.Article 16(6): It permits the government to reserve up to 10% of all government posts for the EWS.

More about the Ninth Schedule

  • About:
    • The Ninth Schedule contains a list of central and state laws which cannot be challenged in courts. 
    • Currently, 284 such laws are shielded from judicial review.
      • Most of the laws protected under the Schedule concern agriculture/land issues.
  • Origin:
    • The Schedule became a part of the Constitution in 1951, when the document was amended for the first time. 
    • It was created by the new Article 31B, which along with 31A was brought in by the government to protect laws related to agrarian reform and for abolishing the Zamindari system.
      • Article 31A extends protection to ‘classes’ of laws, 
      • Article 31B shields specific laws or enactments.
  • Evolution:
    • The First Amendment added 13 laws to the Schedule. 
    • Subsequent amendments in 1955, 1964, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1984, 1990, 1994, and 1999 have taken the number of protected laws to 284.
  • So are laws in the Ninth Schedule completely exempted from judicial scrutiny?
    • While the Ninth Schedule provides the law with a “safe harbour” from judicial review, the protection is not blanket.
    • The Supreme Court ruled in a verdict that while laws placed under Ninth Schedule cannot be challenged on the grounds of violation of fundamental rights, they can be challenged on the ground of violating the basic structure of the Constitution.
    • Basic structure test:
      • The court clarified that the laws cannot escape the “basic structure” test if inserted into the Ninth Schedule after 1973, as it was in 1973 that the basic structure test was evolved in the Kesavananda Bharati case as the ultimate test to examine the constitutional validity of laws.
Related provisions in the constitutionArticle 16(1) and 16(2) assure citizens equality of opportunity in employment or appointment to any government office.Article 15(1) generally prohibits any discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, caste, sex or place of birth.Articles 15(4) and 16(4) state that the equality provisions do not prevent the government from making special provisions in matters of admission to educational institutions or jobs in favour of backward classes, particularly the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs).Article 16(4A) allows reservations to SCs and STs in promotions, as long as the government believes that they are not adequately represented in government services.

17th East Asia Summit (EAS)

In News

  • The Vice President of India recently addressed the 17th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Highlights of the meeting

  • Issues of Indo-Pacific region:
    • India’s Vice President emphasized the role of the EAS mechanism in promoting free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific with freedom of navigation and overflight
    • China’s aggression: 
      • The US, India and several other world powers have been discussing the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military maneuvering in the region.
      • Issues:
        • China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. 
        • Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. 
        • China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea.
    • Opposition by other groupings & nations:
      • The Quad grouping of India, Australia, Japan and the United States has strongly opposed any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Other global concerns:
    • The Vice President also talked about the growing global concerns in the food and energy sector. 
    • He also urged for the contribution of members of the East Asia Summit to the International Year of Millets.
International Year of Millets – 2023About:The United Nations, at the behest of the Government of India, declared 2023 the International Year Millets.Aim:The aim is to create awareness and increase production & consumption of millets. India’s National Year of Millets & proposal to UN:In 2018 the government of India had decided to mark the National Year of Millets. India pitched the proposal to the United Nations for declaring 2023 as the International Year of Millets.With the support of 72 other countries, India’s initiative to promote millet was recognized and the United Nations General Assembly has recently declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets.Significance:Millets have been an integral part of our diet for centuries. In addition to a plethora of health benefits, millets are also good for the environment with low water & input requirements.

More about The East Asia Summit (EAS)

  • About:
    • The East Asia Summit (EAS) is the Indo-Pacific’s premier forum for strategic dialogue. 
    • It is the only leader-led forum at which all key Indo-Pacific partners meet to discuss political, security and economic challenges facing the region, and has an important role to play in advancing closer regional cooperation.
  • Origin:
    • The concept of East Asia Grouping was first promoted in 1991 by the then Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad. 
  • Members:
    • The EAS has 18 members – the ten ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) along with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. 
    • India: 
      • India is one of the founding members of the East Asia Summit.
  • Lead & the Chair position:
    • ASEAN leads the forum, and the chair position rotates between ASEAN Member States annually. 

Importance of East Asia

  • Important Nations: 
    • The eastern region of Asia consists of the Asian nations, Greater China (Greater China consists of the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan), Japan, Mongolia, North Korea and South Korea.
  • Economic benefit: 
    • It represents nearly 50 per cent of the world’s population with 20 percent of global trade, and comprising 16 nations that are on a dynamic path of economic development.
  • Regional Security:
    • Considering tension on the Korean Peninsula, South China and in the Taiwan Strait, among others, it is vital for Japan, China and South Korea to maintain a common stance and to share a common concern for security in the East Asian region.
  • Global Implications: 
    • An East Asia community would play a big role in instilling a sense of responsibility in Asian countries and in leading them jointly in contributing to the resolution of global issues.
‘Hall of Dancers’ at Cambodian city of Siem ReapInauguration of ‘Hall of Dancers’:After addressing the EAS summit, the Vice President inaugurated the completed conservation work of ‘Hall of Dancers’ in Ta Prohm Temple.It is located in the Angkor archaeological complex in the Cambodian city of Siem ReapIndia – Cambodia collaboration Project:The Hall of Dancers is part of a $4-million collaborative project between India and Cambodia for the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage in Cambodia.The restoration work at the sprawling and quiet Buddhist monastery of Ta Prohm has been completed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).Restoration work was commenced in the year 2011.Angkor Heritage Park:Angkor Heritage Park has several of the world’s most renowned places such as the Angkor Wat temple, one of the 10 man-made wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.Ta Prohm Temple:The temple was built between the mid-12th century and early 13th century by the Khmer king Jayavarman VII. Initially constructed as a Buddhist monastery, it was dedicated by King Jayavarman VII to his mother.

Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer

In News 

  • Recently, Senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar and state education minister V Sivankutty traded allegations over erstwhile Travancore Diwan Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer.

About Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer

  • Sir Chetput Pattabhiraman Ramaswamy Iyer, popularly known as ‘Sir CP’, was the Diwan of the erstwhile Travancore princely state from 1936 to 1947.
  • He was a lawyer  who served as the Advocate-General of Madras Presidency from 1920 to 1923
  • He rose to glorious heights as he found favour with both the crown prince Sri Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma and Lord Willingdon, the Viceroy of India. 
  • He served as adviser to the prince between 1931 and 1936
  • Independent Travancore mission
    • On June 3, 1947, Britain announced its intention to quit India, while also accepting demands for the country’s partition.
      • Following this, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 gave princely states the option to accede to the newly divided territories of India or Pakistan, or continue as an independent sovereign state.
    • Maharaja Sri Chithira Thirunal, who wished to stay independent, was supported by Sir CP, who declared his intention of forming an independent state of Travancore that would be open to the idea of signing a treaty with the Indian union
  • Assassination attempt on CP : Amid his dream of an independent state, Sir CP became more unpopular as he proposed an ‘American model’ for Travancore.
    • Communists were opposed to his move and the struggle against the Travancore Kingdom led to the merger of socialist parties, creating a new radical communist party. 
    • The anger and discontent culminated into an assassination attempt on Sir CP on July 25, 1947
      • He survived with multiple stab wounds. 
  • End of end of independent Travancore mission: He agreed to the accession of Travancore state to the Indian Union, following which he resigned and left for London.
    • On July 30, 1947, Travancore joined India.

Sword of Shivaji

In News

  • Recently, the Maharashtra government announced that it is working to bring back the sword of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from London to India.

About Sword

  • The state government would hold discussions with the British Prime Minister to bring back the “Jagdamba” sword of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by 2024, to mark the completion of 350 years of the coronation of the Maratha king.
  • It  was presented to King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, during his tour of India in 1875-76.
  • A catalogue of the weapons of King Edward VII that was printed in London, describes the sword as “a relic of Shivaji the Great”.
  • The sword is part of the Royal Collection Trust at Saint James’s Palace in London.
  • “Bhavani” sword: 
    • Now in Satara, was used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who had at least three swords. 
    • But this sword is different from the one in London, which is called “Jagdamba” in the catalogue of Chhatrapati of Karveer.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj 

  • Early Life:
    • Born on February 19, 1630, at Shivneri Fort in Pune.
    • He was born to Shahaji Bhonsle, a Maratha general who held the jagirs of Pune and Supe under the Bijapur Sultanate.
    • Shivaji’s mother was Jijabai, a pious woman whose religious qualities had a profound influence on him.
    • His name was derived from the name of a regional deity – Goddess Shivai.
  • Kingdom:
    • He carved out an enclave from the declining Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire.
    • Shivaji was crowned emperor (Chhatrapati) of his realm at Raigad fort on June 6, 1674.
    • The kingdom’s security was based on religious toleration and the functional integration of the Brahmans, Marathas, and Prabhus.
    • He had a council of ministers (Asht Pradhan) to advise him on the matters of the state but he was not bound by it. He could appoint or dismiss them.
    • The brave warrior died in 1680 but is still known for his courage and intelligence.

New Regulations for Awarding PhDs

In News

  • Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) notified University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022. 

Key Changes 

  • Abolishing MPhils:
    • Completely abolished MPhil, which has been a gateway for PhD programmes, in line with the recommendation in the National Education Policy 2020. 
  • Changes in the evaluation and assessment criteria for the award of the degree:
    • It has waived the need to mandatorily publish a research paper in a peer-reviewed journal. 
  • Relaxing course work for obtaining PhDs:
    • The new regulations says that all PhD scholars “shall be required to train in teaching/ education/ pedagogy/ writing related to their chosen PhD subject.” 
    • They can also now be assigned 4-6 hours per week of teaching/research assistantship for conducting tutorial, or laboratory work and evaluations.
  • Research work after completing course work:
    • PhD scholars will be required to undertake research work after completing their course work, make a presentation and produce a draft dissertation or thesis.
  • Revision in eligibility criteria for admissions:
    • A candidate can register after completing a one-year (or two semester) master’s degree programme after a four-year (or 8-semester) bachelor’s degree programme 

Major Concerns

  • Impact on socially disadvantaged groups: Experts say that discontinuing MPhils, along with the introduction of four-year BA course and 2-year MA course with multiple exits will hurt socially disadvantaged groups who may not be able to pay for longer-duration courses.
  • Concerns over diminishing scholarships and fellowships to support PhD scholars as well as severe shortage of teachers, impacting the number of research supervisors available.
  • Until the 2009 regulations were notified, the award of PhDs, their evaluation, and course-work was not regulated. However, the changes being brought in the latest regulations take us back to the pre-2009 era.


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