Women in Judiciary

In News

  • The third time in the history of the Supreme Court that a bench comprising only women judges was hearing cases.

More about the news

  • All-woman bench of Apex Court:
    • Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud has set up the bench comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Bela M Trivedi.
    • The first time the Supreme Court had an all-woman bench was in 2013 & the second occasion came in 2018.
  • Women Judges in Supreme Court:
    • The apex court had its first woman judge in 1989, when Justice M Fatima Beevi was appointed after her retirement as a judge of Kerala High Court.
      • Since its inception, India has seen only 11 women judges in the Supreme Court and no women CJI for that matter. 
    • The apex court currently has only three women judges: 
      • Justices Kohli, B V Nagarathna, and Trivedi.
      • Justice Nagarathna is set to go on to be the country’s first woman Chief Justice in 2027.

Status of Women in Indian Judiciary

  • Data of representation:
    • High Courts:
      • In High Courts, women judges constitute 11.5%.
      • Out of a total of 37 women candidates recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as high court judges, only 17 have been appointed so far, while the rest of the names are pending with the central government.
      • For the high courts, Collegium has recommended 192 candidates so far.
        • Out of these, 37, that is 19 percent, were women. 
    • Subordinate Courts:
      • About 30 percent are women judicial officers in the subordinate courts.
    • Advocates:
      • Of the 1.7 million advocates, only 15% are women. 
    • Bar Council:
      • Only 2% of the elected representatives in the State Bar Councils are women. 
      • There is no woman member in the Bar Council of India.

Challenges in Women’s participation

  • Stereotypes & lack of infrastructure:
    • As pointed out by the previous Chief Justice Ramana, the lack of infrastructure, gender stereotypes and social attitudes have plagued the entry and progress of women in the legal profession.
    • “Clients’ preference for male advocates, uncomfortable environment within courtrooms, lack of infrastructure, crowded courtrooms, lack of washrooms for women etc. — all these deter women from entering the profession.
      • The survey found out that out of 6,000 trial courts, nearly 22% have no toilets for women
  • Male dominating appointment structure:
    • Presently, many women candidates deserve to be appointed as a Judge, but the main problem lies with the male-dominant collegium structure of the Supreme Court. 
  • Hostile Atmosphere in Courtroom:
    • The hostile and sexist environment at the apex courts makes it extremely difficult for female litigators to grow as professionals. 
  • Domestic responsibilities:
    • Many women advocates had been offered judgeship in the past, but all have declined to hold the office, citing their domestic responsibilities.

Significance of Women’s participation in Judiciary 

  • Need for diversification:
    • Diversification brings positive institutional changes, and the judiciary needs to be more diverse.
  • Balanced justice delivery system:
    • The presence of women as judges and lawyers will substantially improve the justice delivery system. 
  • Balanced and empathetic approach:
    • Improving the representation of women in the judiciary could go a long way towards a more balanced and empathetic approach in cases related to sexual violence.
      • The issue of gender sensitization has been raised many times, especially in cases where male judges failed to show empathy for the female victims.
  • Legitimacy:
    • The judiciary will not be trusted if it is viewed as a bastion of elitism, exclusivity and privilege. 
    • Therefore, the presence of women is essential for the legitimacy of the judiciary.

Suggestions & way ahead:

  • More in corporate than in decision making:
    • Women are outnumbering men in law school classrooms and are increasingly joining the corporate sector, but their underrepresentation in such decision-making institutions is deplorable.
  • Suggestions by the previous Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana:
    • 50% representation:
      • Previous CJI also voiced his support for 50% representation for women in judiciary.
    • Legal Education:
      • He has highlighted the need to increase gender diversity in legal education.
      • There should be a fixed number of seats, reserved for women candidates, in all colleges and universities providing law courses.
        • states such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Rajasthan have benefited from such reservation as they now have 40-50% women judicial officers.
    • Availing basic facilities:
      • He said the need for basic facilities, especially for women, need to be addressed immediately.
    • Need of separate entity:
      • He repeatedly pressed for the need to form a separate entity — National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation — to introduce inclusive designs for court complexes and create a more welcoming environment in them.
  • Enhancing transparency:
    • There is a requirement to enhance transparency in the judicial system. 
    • This will create more opportunities for women to prove their mettle and create a level playing field.

India’s G20 Presidency as a Watershed moment

In News

  • India has formally assumed the presidency of G-20 on December 1, 2022.
    • India will hold the presidency till 30th November 2023.
    • India’s theme as stated by the Prime Minister is — “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.

More about the news

  • Agenda:
    • The Prime Minister had described India’s agenda at the G-20 as “inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented”.
  • Sharing India’s experience:
    • He added, “During our G-20 Presidency, we shall present India’s experiences, learnings and models as possible templates for others, particularly the developing world. 
  • Significance of 2023, G20 Summit that is scheduled to be held in New Delhi:
    • The G20 summit would be qualitatively different from any of the previous multilateral summits that India has hosted. 
    • Assembly of World’s largest economies:
      • None of the previous summits had the world’s largest economies assembled in one place nor did they have the entire P-5 (permanent members of the UN Security Council) represented.
        • In that sense, the G-20 summit would be the first of its kind in Indian history.
    • Depoliticisation: 
      • To promote harmony within the human family, we will seek to depoliticise the global supply of food, fertilisers and medical products, so that geopolitical tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises.
Know about G20Origin:The G20 was formed in 1999 in the backdrop of the financial crisis of the late 1990s that hit East Asia and Southeast Asia in particular. Its aim was to secure global financial stability by involving middle-income countries. As stated by the official G20 Website: “On the advice of the G7 Finance Ministers, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors began holding meetings to discuss the response to the global financial crisis that occurred,” Objectives:Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, sustainable growth;To promote financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; andTo create a new international financial architecture.Members & guests: Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. Spain is also invited as a permanent guest.Others: Each year, the Presidency invites guest countries, which take full part in the G20 exercise. Several international and regional organizations also participate, granting the forum an even broader representation. Together, the G20 countries include: 60 percent of the world’s population, 80 percent of global GDP, and 75 percent of global trade.Presidency of G20 & Troika:The presidency of the G20 rotates every year among members.The country holding the presidency, together with the previous and next presidency-holder, forms the ‘Troika’ to ensure continuity of the G20 agenda. 

What can India share with the world during its Presidency?

  • Presenting Diversity:
    • The G20 presidency is an opportunity to present the diversity that is India to the outside world. 
  • Management during pandemic:
    • Among large democracies, India has by far been the best performer in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
      • For the world, the Indian public goods delivery mechanism, at a billion-plus scale, has set a new template. 
    • The management of the economy by India during the pandemic has been extraordinarily prudent with prescient decision-making.
  • Independent foreign policy:
    • India’s independent foreign policy, so visibly demonstrated in the ongoing NATO-Russia (Ukraine) war, has made the world sit up and take notice.
      • The assertion of its national interest is also markedly different from the “glory” days of Non-Aligned Movement.
  • Employment and environment:
    • G20 can act as a forum to exchange experiences on societal benefits and growth as complementary goals would lead to fresh thinking on employment and environment.
    • India has its own initiatives like “LiFE Movement” & “The One Sun One World One Grid” to offer to the world.
  • India’s own success models to offer the world. 
    • From scaling up of a seamless digital payment model built on the public digital infrastructure (UPI) to the unique digital identity, and from the successful financial inclusion model of the bottom quintile to the seamless transition to green energy, India now has many models to showcase, particularly for the developing world.

Global challenges, opportunities & way ahead

  • Currently, there are five challenges plaguing the world that the G20 can attempt to fix.
    • First and the most pressing is the in-your-face Russia–Ukraine conflict.
    • The second challenge is of rising prices, particularly of food.
    • The third challenge is energy.
      • Russia is teaching the world that while sanctions against it could impact its economy in the future, in the short term, these sanctions are failing. 
    • As rising food and energy prices lead to inflation, the fourth challenge is the manner in which countries are attempting to fix the problem
    • The fifth challenge is the threat of stagflation.
  • Opportunities:
    • Hosting the G20 Presidency would also result in economic opportunities in different sectors such as tourism, hospitality, IT and civil aviation among others.
      • The sectors of significant importance would be ranging from energy, agriculture, trade, digital economy, health and environment to employment, tourism, anti-corruption and women empowerment, including in focus areas that impact the most vulnerable and disadvantaged

India Assumes Presidency Of UN Security Council For December

In News

  • Recently, India assumed the monthly presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Key Points

  • About: 
    • This is the second time of monthly presidency in India’s two-year tenure as an elected member of the Council in 2021-22.
    • India had earlier assumed UNSC presidency in August 2021.
  • December Presidency: Two signature events at the ministerial level
    • Reformed Multilateralism:
      • India will hold a “high-level open debate” on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism” at the Security Council. 
      • New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism (NORMS) envisages reforms in the current multilateral architecture, with the UN at its centre, to make it more representative and fit for purpose.
      • This open debate is intended to encourage UN member-states to take this conversation forward by deliberating on the elements of a new orientation for multilateralism, and on how best to move forward in this regard in a time-bound manner.
    • Counter-Terrorism:
      • The theme of this event is “Threats to International Peace and Security Caused by Terrorist Acts: Global Approach to Counter Terrorism — Challenges and Way Forward 
      • The threat of terrorism is grave, universal and transnational in character, this briefing intends to underscore the necessity of collective and coordinated efforts to combat the menace of terrorism. 
      • In recent times there has been a resurgence of terrorist activities and that the existing and emerging threats call for a renewed collective approach to terrorism
      • The briefing will provide an opportunity for (UNSC) members to build on the recent deliberations of the Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee meeting.
    • Overall, during its eighth term as an elected member of the UNSC, India has endeavored to voice the key concerns of the Global South.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

  • About: 
    • 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.
      • Ten non-permanent members: 
        • Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, United Arab Emirates.
        • More than 50 United Nations Member States have never been Members of the Security Council.
  • Functions and Powers:
    • To maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
    • To investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
    • To recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
    • To formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
    • To determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
    • To call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
    • To take military action against an aggressor;
  • About UNSC elections: 
    • Each year the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of 10 in total) for a two-year term.
    • The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis as follows:
      • Five for African and Asian States.
      • One for the Eastern European States.
      • Two for the Latin American and Caribbean States;
      • Two for Western European and other States
    • To be elected to the Council, candidate countries need a two-thirds majority of ballots of the Member States that are present and voting in the Assembly.
    • The UNSC elections were traditionally held in the General Assembly hall with each of the 193 member states casting its vote in a secret ballot. 
  • Membership of UNSC:
    • Since its inception, the UNSC has been enlarged only once.
    • Even after that, P-5 has remained fixed, which is problematic as the membership of the UN has grown almost four times since its formation.
  • Veto Power:
    • It has been the exclusive domain of P-5 members, which has been questioned by a lot of members.
    • Many countries have put question marks on the existence of veto, which is contrary to democratic principles.
  • Methods of Working:
    • For example, before a document is adopted, each document must be translated into six languages, which mostly leads to discussions on the accuracy of these languages. This process has many times delayed the adoption of texts in the UN.
  • Criticisms of UNSC
    • It has been criticised for losing relevance, credibility and narrow leadership.
    • Due to the differences among the P-5 and other countries, the UN is losing coherence and focusing on issues of priority to all member states.
    • The council’s lack of multilateralism has also been criticised in the wake of the Syrian war crisis and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
    • No veto rights leave the non-permanent members toothless as they cannot assert their will on any matter of international concern and can merely persuade or dissuade other member states.
    • India has also constantly pointed to the lack of movement on reforms in the UNSC.
  • Need for UN Reforms:
    • 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.

Challenges for India at UNSC

  • Chinese Challenge: 
    • India is entering the UNSC at a time when China is asserting itself at the global stage much more vigorously than ever. It heads at least six UN organisations — and has challenged the global rules.
    • China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific, as well as the India-China border, has been visible in all of 2020, and India will have to think on its feet to counter China.
    • China has aggressively tried to raise the issue of Kashmir at the UNSC.
  • Unstable West Asia and US-Russia relations:
    • With relations between the US and Russia deteriorating, India has the challenge to balance both.
    • Even India has to opt balanced approach in the case of Israel and Palestinian and West Asia approach.

Way Ahead

  • Asian Conflicts: Four major Asian conflicts are raging and diplomatic analysts say India should focus on resolving the conflicts in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Yemen and find a lasting solution to the troubles in Syria.
  • Focus on demands of those who elected us: India is an elected non-permanent member of the Security Council and had received support from the Asia-Pacific countries during the election. It is therefore hoped that the immediate issues of unfolding conflicts in the nearby areas will find greater attention during August.
  • Promote International Peace: There is a need to generate more focused attention and serve as a call for action in situations where global responses have been insufficient, and poorly coordinated.
  • Uphold rules-based multilateral system: Maintain a rules-based, multilateral system to face today’s many ongoing crises.

Kirit Parikh Panel for Gas Pricing

In News

  • Recently, the government appointed a Kirit Parikh committee to review the gas pricing formula.

Major recommendations of the committee

  • Ceiling price 
    • There is a need for a fixed pricing band for gas from old fields which is called APM (Administrative Price Mechanism) gas.
      • These fields account for two-third of natural gas produced in the country.
    • This would ensure a predictable pricing regime for producers while also lowering prices of CNG and piped cooking gas.
      • The prices have risen by 70% since 2021 due to an increase in input costs.  
    • Currently, the legacy or old fields are governed on a nomination basis without any condition of sharing profits and therefore the government controls its price.
  • Linking the price
    • The panel has sought a link in the gas price to imported oil.
  • Improved profits
    • If the recommendations are implemented then the state-run ONGC and OIL will have to reduce prices from the current level and this will help improve the margins of city gas companies like IGL, MGL and Gujarat Gas.
  • No-cut category
    • The city gas will continue to get top priority in the allocation of APM gas.
      • The sector will be in the ‘no-cut’ category which means that the supplies to other consumers will be cut first in case of a decline in production.
  • Other recommendations:
    • To include gas in GST with compensation for five years.
      • This would be done by subsuming excise duty charged by the central government and varying rates of VAT levied by state governments.
    • Caps on gas prices must be removed in three years.
    • Government should gradually come out of the gas allocation business.
    • No changes to the existing pricing formula for fields with difficult geology.
      • Currently, fields in Deepsea or in high-temperature, high-pressure zones are governed by a different formula that includes an element of imported LNG cost and is subject to a ceiling.
Need of this committeeThe committee was tasked with suggesting a fair price to the end-consumer while ensuring a market-oriented, transparent and reliable pricing regime for India’s long-term vision for ensuring a gas-based economy.The mandate is to suggest a regime that would help raise domestic production to help meet the goal of 15% of energy coming from gas by 2030. 

Way forward

  • The administered pricing mechanism (APM): is still determined by the government on the basis of a formula.
    • The need is that domestic producers must have complete pricing freedom which is the only way to up local production.
  • India needs to increase its share of gas consumption from 6 percent currently and needs to protect consumers from getting implicitly subsidised gas.
  • Lowering import prices will impact domestic producers and the government should look at giving complete freedom on pricing.  
What is Indian Basket (IB)?It is also known as the Indian Crude Basket.It is the weighted average of Dubai and Oman (sour) and the Brent Crude (sweet) crude oil prices. It is used as an indicator of the price of crude imports in India and the Government of India watches the index when examining domestic price issues.

Hornbill Festival

In News

  • Recently, the Vice President Jagdeep inaugurated the 23rd edition of the Hornbill Festival at Naga heritage village in Nagaland.

About the Festival

  • Often cited as “festival of all festivals
  • Hornbill Festival usually takes place between the 1st and the 10th of December every year in Nagaland. 
  • Aim of the festival: To revive and protect the rich culture of Nagaland and display its extravaganza and traditions. 
  • It is held at Naga Heritage Village, Kisama which is about 12 km from Kohima. 
  • The festival gets its name from the Indian Hornbill. 
  • The Hornbill is a common bird among the folklores and tribes of Nagaland and can be commonly seen prancing around in the forests of Nagaland. 
  • Many tribes take part in the festival: Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa Kachari, Garo, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yumchungru, and Zeliang.

Great Hornbill

  • It is also known as the concave-casqued hornbill, great Indian hornbill or great pied hornbill is one of the larger members of the hornbill family.
  • It is found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  • Its impressive size and colour have made it important in many tribal cultures and rituals.
  • The great hornbill is long-lived, living for nearly 50 years in captivity.
  • It is predominantly frugivorous, but is an opportunist and will prey on small mammals, reptiles and birds.
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
Additional InformationTsiiphie – Traditional Naga headgearAmula kaxa – Naga shawl

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

In News

  • Recently, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare stated that it is open to taking pro-farmer changes in Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) in response to the recent climate crisis and rapid technological advances.

More about the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

  • Aim:
    • A flagship scheme of the Government of India, PMFBY aims to provide financial support to farmers suffering crop loss/damage arising out of natural calamities. 
  • Objectives:
    • To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crops as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
    • To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
    • To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
    • To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector
  • Implementing Agency:
    • The Scheme shall be implemented through a multi-agency framework by selected insurance companies under the overall guidance & control of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW).
  • Payment of premium:
    • Farmers have to pay a maximum of 2 percent of the total premium of the insured amount for Kharif crops, 1.5 percent for rabi food crops and oilseeds as well as 5 percent for commercial/horticultural crops.
    • The balance premium is shared by the Union and state governments on a 50:50 basis and on a 90:10 basis in the case of northeastern states.
  • 2020 revamp:
    • The scheme was revamped enabling voluntary participation of the farmers. 
    • It also made it convenient for the farmer to report crop loss within 72 hours of the occurrence of any event – through the Crop Insurance App.
  • Grievance Redressal:
    • Through its State/District Level Grievance Committee’s, the scheme also enables farmers to submit their grievances at the grassroots level.
  • Other Highlights:
    • Claims are worked out on the basis of shortfall in actual yield, vis-a-vis the threshold yield in the notified area.
    • There is no upper limit on Government subsidies
    • The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and the balance premium is paid by the Government to provide the full insured amount to the farmers.
    • The scheme will be launching a doorstep distribution drive to deliver crop insurance policies to the farmers ‘Meri Policy Mere Hath’ in all implementing States.
  • Status & Claims:
    • PMFBY is currently the largest crop insurance scheme in the world in terms of farmer enrolments, averaging 5.5 crore applications every year and third largest in terms of premium received. 
    • Over 36 crore farmer applications have been insured under PMFBY, with over INR 1,07,059 crores of claims have already been paid under the scheme as of 4th February, 2022.

Horticulture Cluster Development Programme

In News

  • Recently, the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has prepared the Horticulture Cluster Development Programme (CDP).


  • Nodal Agency: The National Horticulture Board (NHB)
  • Aim:
    • To improve exports of targeted crops by about 20% and create cluster-specific brands to enhance the competitiveness of cluster crops. 
  • Objectives: 
    • To promote the Agriculture sector in the country and 
    • to increase the income of the farmers by giving them a reasonable price for their produce.
  • Key Features:
    • CDP will support integrated interventions to enhance the competitiveness of targeted clusters.
    • The interventions have been classified into the following three verticals:
      • Pre-production and Production
      • Post-harvest Management and Value Addition
      • Logistics, Marketing and Branding
    • MoA&FW has identified 55 horticulture clusters.
    • The geographical specialization of horticulture clusters will be leveraged.
    • It will promote integrated and market-led development of pre-production, production, post-harvest, logistics, branding, and marketing activities.
  • Implementation Framework:
    • NHB shall provide financial assistance and supervise the overall implementation of the programme.
    • A government/public sector entity, recommended by state/central government, shall be appointed as a Cluster Development Agency (CDA) for each identified cluster for the implementation of CDP. 
    • CDA will establish a Cluster Development Cell (CDC) with a dedicated team of officers within the CDA for smooth implementation of the programme. 
  • Significance:
    • The CDP will benefit around 10 lakh farmers and related stakeholders along the value chain.
    • The interest of the farmers should be paramount in the center of any programme/scheme.
    • The overall development of horticulture in the country would be focused with the help of the implementation of this Programme.
  • Way Ahead:
    • Emphasizing crop diversification and linking this ambitious programme with the market for produce sale and capacity building.
    • There is a need for geo-tagging of infrastructure for benefitting small and marginal farmers, tracking of activities implemented in the fields, monitoring purpose, etc.

Zombie Virus

In News

  • Recently, the French scientists have warned of the onset of another outbreak after they revived a 48,500-year-old zombie virus buried under a frozen lake in Russia.
    • This has broken the previous record held by a 30,000-year-old virus discovered by the same team in Siberia in 2013.

What is a Zombie Virus?

  • Zombie virus is the term given to a virus that is frozen in ice and therefore dormant.
  • The virus emerged due to the thawing of permafrost as the global temperature is rising.
  • It is a group of viruses which have been dormant for thousands of years
  • It is dubbed Pandoravirus yedoma after the mythological character Pandora which was 48,500 years old and has the potential to infect other organisms.
    • It was discovered below the bottom of a lake in Yukechi Alas in Yakutia, Russia.

What could be the cause of it?

  • One-quarter of the Northern hemisphere is underlain by permanently frozen ground which is referred to as permafrost.
    • Due to climate warming, irreversibly thawing permafrost is releasing organic matter frozen for up to a million years and most of which decomposes into carbon dioxide and methane which further enhances the greenhouse effect.
    • Part of this organic matter also consists of revived cellular microbes (prokaryotes, unicellular eukaryotes) as well as viruses that remained dormant since prehistoric times. 

Is the virus potentially harmful?

  • All of the zombie viruses have the potential to be infectious and hence pose a health danger.
  • It is believed that pandemics like Covid-19 will become more common in the future as melting permafrost releases long-dormant viruses.


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