Constitution Day

In News

  • 26th November is being celebrated as Constitution Day to mark the adoption of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly.

Key Points

  • About: 
    • The Constitution of India was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949 for ‘We the people of India’. 
  • Celebrated since: 
    • The day began to be celebrated as Constitution Day in 2015
    • This day is indeed a historic day for the nation, with the framing of a Constitution for the governance of independent India.
  • Soul of the nation: 
    • An enduring constitution is a rare phenomenon, and acts as the soul of a nation or the defining identity of a country. 

Constitution Day

  • About:
    • Constitution Day is also known as ‘Samvidhan Divas’.
    • It is celebrated in the country on 26th November every year to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution of India. 
    • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 19th November 2015 notified the decision of the Government of India to celebrate the 26th day of November every year as ‘Constitution Day’ to promote Constitution values among citizens.
  • Historical Background:
    • The Constituent Assembly, which was the body meant to draft the Constitution, conducted its first session on 9 December 1946
    • The demand of the Constituent Assembly was made in 1934.
      • M.N. Roy, a communist party leader, introduced the idea. 
    • It was taken up by the Congress party and finally, in 1940, the demand was accepted by the British government.
    • Before independence, the Constituent Assembly met for the first time on 9 December 1946.
      • Dr Sachchidananda Sinha was appointed as the first president of the Constituent Assembly. 
    • The Constituent Assembly took two years, eleven months and seventeen days to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India.
      • During this period, it held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days.
        • Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution.
    • Jawaharlal Nehru, the then prime minister, moved the “Objectives Resolution” on 13 December 1946, which was later adopted as the Preamble on January 22, 1947.
    • On 29 August 1947, a Drafting Committee was constituted to prepare a Draft Constitution with Dr B.R. Ambedkar as the Chairman.
    • On 26th November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, which came into effect from 26th January 1950.
  • Significance of the day:
    • The day aims to bring awareness to the importance of the Indian Constitution as well as its main architect, Dr B R Ambedkar.

Constitutional Making: Not an easy task

  • Lengthy Process: India’s constitution-making project took about three years from 1946 to 1949.
  • Difficult conditions: It was written under extraordinarily difficult conditions:
    • The partition of India which resulted in the displacement of millions of people on both sides of the border. 
    • Partition was accompanied by mass deaths, devastation, violence, and brutality. 
    • Amid all this, as refugees flowed into Delhi, our dual-purpose assembly — a parliament by morning and a constituent body in the afternoon drafted our enduring founding instrument. 
    • One that would remain relevant not just for the turbulence of that present, but also would be meaningful for future generations to come.
  • Inspired From: 
    • The Constitution, had its inspiration in sources like Tilak’s Swaraj Bill of 1895 (which included rights to free speech, free press, equality before law) and the Declaration of Rights of 1918 (where the Indian National Congress demanded that civil and political rights to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of press and association and for all this to be included in the Government of India Act 1919).
  • Good will of political leaders: 
    • The drafters deployed the considerable political goodwill enjoyed by key national leaders who were members of the assembly to give legitimacy to the Constitution. 
  • Balance of bold choices and compromises: 
    • For instance, breaking down traditional privileges like the abolition of princely states and royal titles, and crafting the country as a democracy based on universal adult franchise, and ending discrimination on grounds of caste, or sex or religion.
  • Consensus, People oriented: 
    • It was also the consensus-oriented method that found favour with the Constituent Assembly that has helped our Constitution endure. 
    • The framers appreciated the link between consensus in adoption and the legitimacy of the Constitution. 

Way Ahead

  • The Constitution should get due recognition across the educational system
  • Celebrating November 26 as Constitution Day is fine, but we should not restrict ourselves to symbolism. We should look at the substantive issues dealt with by the Constitution, thereby enriching our life.
Indian ConstitutionIt is the longest written constitution in the world.The Constitution of India, with its preamble and 470 articles grouped into 25 parts and 12 schedulesThe Constitution of India was not typeset or printed but was handwritten and calligraphic in both English and Hindi. It was entirely handcrafted by the artists of Shantiniketan under the guidance of Acharya Nandalal Bose, with the calligraphy texts done by Prem Behari Narain Raizada in Delhi.The original copies of the Constitution of India are kept in special helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of IndiaThe Fundamental Duties of citizens were added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the Government. Key Features: Longest written constitutionFederalismParliamentary Form of GovernmentSeparation of PowersFundamental RightsSecularismSingle CitizenshipSovereigntyKey Amendments Made:1st CAA: Added Ninth Schedule laws that cannot be challenged in courts.42nd CAA: Inserted Article 51-A (10 FDs), Socialist, Secular and Integrity added to the Preamble, & new DPSPs added (Article 39, 39A, 43 A, 48A)

Efficacy of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

In News

  • Recently, the Union Government has formed a panel to look into Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)’s efficacy.

Key Points about Committee

  • The Sinha committee (named after former Rural Development secretary Amarjeet Sinha) has now been tasked to study –
    • Various factors behind demand for MGNREGA work, expenditure trends and inter-State variations, and the composition of work. 
    • To look at the argument that the cost of providing work has also shot up since the scheme first started. 
    • To suggest what changes in focus and governance structures are required to make MGNREGA more effective. 

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

  • About:
    • It is a poverty alleviation programme of the Government of India, which provides the legal Right to Work in exchange for money to the citizens of the country.
    • On average, every day approximately 1.5 crore people work under it at almost 14 lakh sites.
  • Aim:
    • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • Funding: 
    • It is shared between the Centre and the States.
    • The Central Government bears 100 per cent of the cost of unskilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of semi-skilled and skilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of materials and 6 percent of the administrative costs.
  • Current employment:
    • There are currently 15.51 crore active workers enrolled under the scheme. 
  • Features:
    • Legal Right to Work: 
      • The Act provides a legal right to employment for adult members of rural households.
    • Women:
      • At least one-third of beneficiaries have to be women. Wages must be paid according to the wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
    • Time-Bound Guarantee of Work: 
      • Employment must be provided within 15 days of being demanded to fail which an ‘unemployment allowance’ must be given.
    • Decentralised Planning: 
      • Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are primarily responsible for planning, implementation and monitoring of the works that are undertaken.
      • Gram Sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50 per cent of the works must be executed by them.
    • Transparency and Accountability: 
      • There are provisions for proactive disclosure through wall writings, Citizen Information Boards, Management Information Systems and social audits (conducted by Gram Sabhas).


  • It is a social security scheme to generate employment for the rural poor and ensure livelihood for people in rural areas.
  • The scheme sees large-scale participation of women, Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and other traditionally marginalised sections of society.
  • It increases the wage rate in rural areas and strengthens the rural economy through the creation of infrastructure assets.
  • It facilitates sustainable development which is very clear by its contribution in the direction of water conservation.
  • Over the last 15 years, three crore assets related to water conservation have been created through the rural jobs scheme with the potential to conserve more than 2,800 crore cubic metres of water.


  • Low Wage Rate: These have resulted in a lack of interest among workers making way for contractors and middlemen to take control.
  • Insufficient Budget Allocation: The funds have dried up in many States due to a lack of sanctions from the Central government which hampers the work in peak season.
  • Payment Delays: Despite Supreme Court orders, various other initiatives and various government orders, no provisions have yet been worked out for calculation of full wage delays and payment of compensation for the same.
  • Corruption and Irregularities: Funds that reach the beneficiaries are very little compared to the actual funds allocated for the welfare schemes.
  • Discrimination: Frequent cases of discrimination against women and people from the backwards groups are reported from several regions of the country and a vast number goes unreported.
  • Non-payment of Unemployment Allowance: There is a huge pendency in the number of unemployment allowances being shown in the Management Information System (MIS).
  • Lack of Awareness: People, especially women, are not fully aware of this scheme and its provisions leading to uninformed choices or inability to get the benefits of the scheme.
  • Poor Infrastructure Building: Improper surveillance and lack of timely resources result in poor quality assets.
  • Non Purposive Spending: MGNREGA has increased the earning capacity of the rural people but the spending pattern of the workers assumes significance because there is hardly any saving out of the wages earned.


  • There is a need to carry out social audits as per rules and effective implementation of the delay compensation system.
  • The participation of women and backwards classes must be increased by raising awareness and making it more inclusive.
  • The people should be sensitised to do away with the discrimination against them.
  • Reasons for poor utilisation of funds should be analysed and steps must be taken to improve them. 
  • In addition, actions should be initiated against officers found guilty of misappropriating funds.
  • Villages must also be allowed to take control of their own water security, noting that catchment areas for many villages are on land controlled and owned by the Forest Department.
  • The frequency of monitoring by National Level Monitors (NLMs) should be increased and appropriate measures should be taken by States based on their recommendations

Same-Sex Marriage

In News

  • The Supreme Court recently issued a notice to the Centre on a plea to grant legal recognition to same-sex marriages and alliances between members of LGBTIQ+ community under the Special Marriage Act.
    • The petition raised the absence of a legal framework which allowed members of the LGBTQ+ community to marry any person of their choice. 

What is Same-Sex Marriage?

  • It is the practice of marriage between two men or between two women.
  • Same-sex marriage has been regulated through law, religion, and custom in most countries of the world.
  • As of 2022, marriage between same-sex couples is legally performed and recognized in more than 30 countries.
    • The most recent country legalising it is Mexico. 

Arguments in favour of legalising Same-Sex Marriage

  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954:
    • It provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law.
  • Fundamental Right: 
    • Right to marry a person of one’s choice is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution of India to each person and has been recognised explicitly by the court.
      • Members of the LGBTQ+ community have the same human, fundamental and constitutional rights as other citizens.
  • Right to equality: 
    • The petitioners have argued that barring them from marriage violates their right to equality.
  • Global practice:
    • According to global think tank Council of Foreign Relations, same sex marriages are legal in at least 30 countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada and France.

Arguments against legalising Same-Sex Marriage 

  • Against Biological relation:
    • Marriage in India can be recognised only if it is between a biological man and a biological woman capable of producing children.
  • Judicial interference:
    • The government has said that any interference by a court in the marital statute based on personal laws will create havoc in society and will run against the intent of Parliament in framing the laws.
  • Fundamental rights are not absolute:
    • Fundamental right cannot be an untrammeled right and cannot override other constitutional principles.
  • Unnecessary hype:
    • The matter is neither of national importance nor has it affected the majority of the population.
  • Absence of civil rights issues: 
    • The 2018 judgment of the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality but did not get into civil rights issues. 
    • As a consequence, same-sex relationships are legal but civil rights such as marriage, inheritance or adoption, are not guaranteed to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community.
  • Lack of legal framework:
    • The legal framework governing the institution of marriage in this country does not presently allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to marry the person of their choice.
    • Couple cannot protect the family, and matters like adoption, opening a joint bank account or admission of children remain uncertain on account of failure of the law to recognise same sex unions.
  • Section 4 of the Special Marriage Act:
    • It although permits any two persons to solemnize a marriage, the subsequent conditions in sub Section (c) therein restrict its application only to males and females. 
  • Counter to global challenges:
    • Legalizing same-sex marriage in India would run counter to a number of global challenges.
      • Recently, Singapore scrapped criminal penalties for gay sex, but stopped short of allowing marriage. 

Way Forward

  • NALSA v. Union of India:
    • Here, Supreme Court categorically held that Indian Constitution protects non-binary individuals and that the protections envisaged under Articles 14, 15, 16, 19 and 21 cannot be restricted to the biological sex of male or female.
  • The issue is a sequel to Navtej Singh Johar (decriminalising Section 377 of IPC) (2018) and K S Puttaswamy (right to privacy) (2017) judgements.
    • Same sex marriage is a continuation of this constitutional journey. 
    • In both the cases the Supreme Court has held that LGBTQ+ persons enjoy the right to equality, dignity and privacy guaranteed by the Constitution on the same footing as all other citizens.
      • So thereby, the right to marry a person of one’s choice should extend to LGBTQ+ citizens, as well.  
The Special Marriage Act of 1954All marriages in India can be registered under the respective personal law Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, Muslim Marriage Act, 1954, or under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an Act of the Parliament of India with provision for civil marriage for people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of religion or faith followed by either party.The couples have to serve a notice with the relevant documents to the Marriage Officer 30 days before the intended date of the marriage.Applicability: Any person, irrespective of religion. Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, or Jews can also perform marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.Inter-religion marriages are performed under this Act.This Act is applicable to the entire territory of India and extends to intending spouses who are both Indian nationals living abroad.Indian national living abroad.

India’s Push for Millets

In News

  • Recently, a pre-launch celebration of the International Year of Millets 2023 was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of External Affairs.
    • In 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.  

What are Millets?

  • The word millets is used to describe small-grained cereals like:
    • Sorghum (jowar)
    • Pearl millet (bajra)
    • Foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet)
    • Little millet (kutki)
    • Kodo millet
    • Finger millet (ragi/ mandua)
    • Proso millet (cheena/ common millet)
    • Barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora)
    • Brown top millet (korale)
  • Millets were among the first crops to be domesticated. In India, millets are mainly a kharif crop.
  • There is evidence for consumption of millets by the Indus valley people (3,000 BC) and several varieties that are now grown around the world were first cultivated in India.
    • West Africa, China, and Japan are home to indigenous varieties of the crop. 
  • Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop. 
    • The major producers of jowar are the United States, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan. 
    • Bajra is another major millet crop in which India and some African countries are major producers.  
Main millets statesJowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.Maharashtra accounted for the largest area and production of jowar during 2020-21.Bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.The highest bajra producing state is Rajasthan.

Major Challenges

  • Distribution is negligible
    • The quantity of coarse grains procured for the Central Pool and distributed under the NFSA has been negligible.
    • The push to distribute coarse grains under the PDS has not gained momentum.
  • Low Stocks
    • The latest data on stocks with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) show only 2.64 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of coarse grain was available in the Central Pool in comparison, the stocks of rice, wheat, and unmilled paddy were 265.97 LMT, 210.46 LMT, and 263.70 LMT respectively. 
  • Consumption patterns
    • In the latest available NSSO household consumption expenditure survey less than 10 percent of rural and urban households reported consumption of millets.

Significance of Millet as a crop

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  • High nutritive value
    • Millets are considered to be powerhouses of nutrition.
    • They are now regarded as Nutri Cereals for the purposes of production, consumption, and trade.
    • Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre.
      • Small millets are more nutritious compared to fine cereals. They contain higher protein, fat and fibre content. 
  • Grown globally
    • Millets are now grown in more than 130 countries, and are the traditional food for more than half a billion people in Asia and Africa.
  • Good for the planet
    • They have a low water footprint and are able to survive in the hottest driest climates and will be important in coping with climate change.
  • Millets under PDS
    • Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, eligible households are entitled to get rice, wheat, and coarse grain at Rs 3, Rs 2, and Re 1 per kg respectively. 
    • While the Act does not mention millets, coarse grains are included in the definition of food grains under Section 2(5) of the NFSA.
  • MSP for millets
    • The government declares a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for jowar, bajra, and ragi. 
  • Good for the farmer
    • Millets can increase yields up to 3 fold, have multiple uses (food, fodder, fuel), and are typically the last crop standing in times of drought being a good risk management strategy for farmers.
  • Political significance
    • Millet is grown mainly in low-income and developing countries in Asia and Africa, and are part of the food basket of about 60 crore people across the globe. 

Way Forward

  • During 2018-19, three millet crops bajra (3.67%), jowar (2.13%), and ragi (0.48%) accounted for about 7 per cent of the gross cropped area in the country.
  • The Centre is looking forward to including millets in the PDS in order to improve nutritional support.
  • By proposing the resolution to celebrate 2023 as the International Year of Millets, India pitched itself as a leader of this group. This is similar to the Indian initiative on the 121-nation International Solar Alliance.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

In News

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi has bestowed special one-time awards commemorating 75 years of India’s independence on 86 artists, apart from selecting 128 performing artists from various fields for its regular annual awards for the years 2019-21.

About Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards are the highest national recognition conferred on practicing artists.
  • The award carries a purse of ?1,00,000.
  • It is given to artists below the age of 40 years and was introduced with the objective of identifying and encouraging outstanding young talents in diverse fields of performing arts and giving them national recognition early in their life, so that they may work with greater commitment and dedication in their chosen fields.


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