Prison Reforms

In News

  • Recently, the  Prime Minister suggested prison reforms at the annual police meet in New Delhi.

More about the news

  • Prison reforms:
    • The PM recommended Prison reforms to improve jail management and suggested repealing obsolete criminal laws.
  • Police Reforms:
    • He also suggested making the police forces more sensitive and training them in emerging technologies. 
    • Enhancing cooperation:
      • He also emphasised on enhanced cooperation between the State Police and Central Agencies to leverage capabilities and share best practices.
  • National Data Governance Framework:
    • He emphasised on the importance of the National Data Governance Framework for the smoothening of data exchange, across agencies.
      • He suggested that while we should further leverage technological solutions like biometrics etc., there is also a need to further strengthen traditional policing mechanisms like foot patrols etc
  • Strengthening Security:
    • He discussed strengthening of border as well as coastal security by organising frequent visits of officials to these locations.

Prison Reforms

  • Issues faced by prisoners in India: 
    • Overcrowding.
      • According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s 2021 statistics, there were 5,54,034 people in prisons across India, as against a capacity of 4,25,609.
        • A similar trend of overcapacity was seen in 2020 and 2019 as well.
    • Prolonged detention of under-trial prisoners
      • A poor man remains in jail for over a year without trial for minor offences such as theft.
      • Many inmates can’t even afford the bail amount. 
    • Other issues includes:
      • Unsatisfactory living conditions.
      • Lack of treatment Programs.
      • The allegations of the indifferent and even inhuman approaches of prison staff have repeatedly attracted the attention of critics over the years. 
  • Model Prison Manual:
    • For this reason, the government in 2016 introduced the ‘Model Prison Manual’ to replace the existing prison manual.
      • In the manual, the government has considered aspects such as human rights, the rehabilitation of prisoners in society, the rights of female prisoners, laws for prison inspection and the right to education even for death row convicts.
  • Recommendations on Jail reforms:
    • Recommendations of Law Commission of India in its 268th report: 
      • The Commission recommended that those detained for offences that come with a punishment of up to seven years of imprisonment should be released on completing one-third of that period and for those charged with offences that attract a longer jail term after they complete half of that period.
      • It also recommended that the police should avoid needless arrests, while magistrates should refrain from mechanical remand orders
    • Justice Amitava Roy Committee Recommendations: 
      • In 2018 The Supreme Court constituted a three-member committee, to be headed by former apex court judge Amitava Roy, to look into the aspect of jail reforms across the country and make recommendations on several aspects, including overcrowding in prisons. It recommended:
        • Special fast-track courts should be set up to deal exclusively with petty offences which have been pending for more than five years. 
        • Further, accused persons who are charged with petty offences and that granted bail, but who are unable to arrange surety should be released on a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond.
        • Launching a National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms.

Police Reforms

  • Need for police reforms:
    • Lack of  confidence in the police: 
      • People, in general, do not have confidence in the police. This is particularly true of the lower strata of society, who feel that there is one law for the poor and another for the rich and powerful. 
    • Complex law and Order problem: 
      • law and order problems are becoming more complex with every passing year.
        • Organised crime has acquired international dimensions. 
        • Arms trafficking and drug trafficking do not observe any borders. 
        • Cybercrimes are increasing in geometrical progression. 
    • Poor infrastructure: 
      • The police are not able to deliver partly because of poor infrastructure.
        • There is huge scope for improvement in transport, communications and forensics as well. 
      • There are huge deficiencies in human resources.
        • Overall, there is a vacancy of more than 5,00,000 personnel. 
    • Work load: 
      • According to the Status of Policing in India Report, 2019, an average policeman works for 14 hours a day and does not get any weekly off.
        • This takes a heavy toll on his mental and physical health. 
      • Poor housing conditions and long working hours have an adverse impact on police performance. 
    • Technological upgradation: 
      • There is enormous scope for technological inputs into the functioning of the police.
      •  These inputs would act as a force multiplier.
  • Supreme Court’s Prakash Singh judgement on police reforms: 
    • In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court in September 2006 had directed all states and Union Territories to bring in police reforms.
      • The ruling issued a series of measures that were to be undertaken by the governments to ensure the police could do their work without worrying about any political interference.
    • Fixing the tenure and selection of the DGP:
      • Fixing the tenure and selection of the DGP to avoid situations where officers about to retire in a few months are given the post. 
      • In order to ensure no political interference, a minimum tenure was sought for the Inspector General of Police so that they are not transferred mid-term by politicians. 
    • Police Establishment Boards (PEB):
      • The SC further directed postings of officers being done by Police Establishment Boards (PEB) comprising police officers and senior bureaucrats to insulate powers of postings and transfers from political leaders
    • State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA):
      • There was a recommendation of setting up the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA) to give a platform where common people aggrieved by police action could approach. 
    • State Security Commissions (SSC):
      • The SC directed separation of investigation and law and order functions to better improve policing, setting up of State Security Commissions (SSC) that would have members from civil society and forming a National Security Commission.
Draft National Data Governance Framework PolicyFocus:The draft policy focuses on improving the institutional framework for:Government data sharing, Promoting principles around privacy and security by design, and Encouraging the use of anonymization tools.Aim:To standardise the government’s data collection and management while catalysing AI and Data led research and a startup ecosystem.India Data Management Office (IDMO):The draft includes plans for setting up the India Data Management Office (IDMO) on the lines of the US Federal Data Management Office.Sharing of data:The policy also seeks to ‘encourage’ private companies to share non-personal data with startups as part of the effort.IDMO shall notify protocols for sharing of non-personal datasets while ensuring privacy, security and trust. IDMO will notify rules to provide data on priority/exclusively to Indian/ India-based requesting entities.

13th Amendment: A promise of devolution

In News

  • Recently, President  Ranil Wickremesinghe said that  The Sri Lankan government would “fully implement” the 13th Amendment.

About 13th Amendment

  • It is an outcome of the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987, signed by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayawardene, in an attempt to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict that had aggravated into a full-fledged civil war, between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which led the struggle for Tamils’ self-determination and sought a separate state.
    • It was passed in 1987.
  •  It provided for setting up provincial governments across the country — there are nine provincial councils — and made Tamil, too, an official language, and English, a link language.
  • It also sought to address the Tamils’ right to self-determination which, by the 1980s, had become a raging political call.
  • Under this, the Sri Lankan government had committed to a power-sharing arrangement to enable all nine provinces in the country, including Sinhala majority areas, the right to self-govern.


  •  In addition to assuring a measure of devolution, it is considered part of the few significant gains since the 1980s, in the face of growing Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarianism from the time Sri Lanka became independent in 1948.
  • Once implemented fully, the provincial councils will have the right to self-govern over issues such as education, health, agriculture, housing, land, and police. 
  • It will facilitate unity among all the communities in the island nation so that they could live as one.

Why is it contentious?

  • The 13th Amendment carries considerable baggage from the country’s civil war years. 
  • It was opposed vociferously by both Sinhala nationalist parties and the LTTE.
    • The former thought it was too much power to share, while the Tigers deemed it too little. 
    • A large section of the Sinhala polity, including the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which led an armed insurrection opposing it, saw the Accord and the consequent legislation as an imprint of Indian intervention. 
    • Though signed by the powerful President Jayawardene, it was widely perceived as an imposition by a neighbour wielding hegemonic influence.
    • The Tamil polity, especially its dominant nationalist strain, does not find the 13th Amendment sufficient in its ambit or substance. 
    • However, some including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — which chiefly represented the Tamils of the north and east in Parliament in the post-war era until its setback in the recent polls — see it as an important starting point, something to build upon.

India’s Stance 

  • India has always supported both political and economic stability in the island nation.
  • India called upon Sri Lanka to take the necessary steps to address the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community, including by carrying forward the process of reconciliation and the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka, to ensure that the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens are fully protected
  • India considers the full implementation of the 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka “critical” for achieving reconciliation with the minority Tamil community

Conclusion and Way Forward 

  • In its recent meeting with President Wickremesinghe, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has outlined five steps to immediately implement the Amendment in full, including reversing certain laws that reduced provincial powers.
    • They see it as a starting point for negotiating greater power sharing and a final political settlement.
      • Belated, insufficient, but necessary, in their view.
  •  India would “continue to urge” the Sri Lankan Government for the early conduct of elections to the Provincial Councils in keeping with its commitment to devolution of power.

China’s Dam Diplomacy


  • China is constructing a new dam on the Mabja Zangbo river in Tibet, close to the tri-junction which is a matter of concern for both India and Nepal.
    • The new dam is located around 16 km north of the tri-junction and is opposite the Kalapani area of Uttarakhand.
    • The Mabja Zangbo river originates in Nagari county of Tibet and flows through Nepal into the Ghaghara River before joining the Ganga in India.


  • China’s upstream actions like dams (on Brahmaputra, Indus, tributaries of the Ganga), diversion of water, hydropolitics, and power asymmetry poses a security threat to India and water scarcity downstream. 
  • There is no legally binding international treaty on water sharing between India and China.
  • Under CPEC, China plans to build two mega-dams on the Indus, named Bunji Dam and Bhasha Dam.
  • In 2021, China announced that it would construct a massive dam on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo (also known as Brahmaputra) to generate up to 70 GW of power, three times that of the country’s Three Gorges dam, which is the world’s largest hydropower plant in terms of installed capacity.
                                              What is Hydropoliticswater-hegemon, which aims to consolidate control, uses different strategies, tactics, and power resources to achieve this control. When consolidated control is achieved, the water hegemony will have power over the whole basin.Riparian relations are shaped and developed by varied interpretations of the use of river water. Upper riparian nations essentially base their claims on ‘absolute territorial sovereignty’ that is, the right to use rivers unilaterally, regardless of lower riparian concerns.The lower riparian, on the other hand, claim the ‘absolute territorial integrity’ of rivers, stressing that upper riparian actions should not affect the water flowing downstream.

Impact of Building Dams on India 

  • Used as a tool in Hydropolitics: China is a critical player in the hydro-politics of the region. Its hydrological position is one of complete upper riparian supremacy giving it enormous latitude in shaping larger political equations with its riparian neighbours.
    • India is an upper, middle, and lower riparian. India’s middle riparian position increases its dependency (water insecurity) on the headwaters of the rivers such as the Indus, Sutlej, and Brahmaputra which originate in the Tibetan plateau.
    • China wants to maintain continuous pressure on India be it all along the Himalayan range or the Indian Ocean region through building dams alongside border areas.
  • India and its Neighbourhood: China was one of the three countries that did not approve of the 1997 UN Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Waterways.
    • China has built eleven mega-dams on the Mekong River, causing water levels there to fluctuate widely without prior notice in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
    • Impact on earlier signed Treaty:  Treaties have been signed to provide definite amount of water to lower riparian states like the 1960 Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan and the 1996 Ganga Treaty with Bangladesh. 
  • Military threat to India from Border Infrastructure: China’s rapid build-up of infrastructure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India is alarming and adds to overall destabilising and corrosive behaviour along the entire India-China border.
    • The satellite images of the dam on Mabja Zangbo river shows the formation of an embankment type dam with a reservoir leading to a possibility of military establishment by China near the tri-junction already witnessed from Yarlung Zangbo dam.
    • From the multiple intrusions into Indian territory in eastern Ladakh, China has assiduously built and consolidated its military positions and border infrastructure along LAC as well upgraded its air bases facing India. E.g., China construction of a bridge across Pangong Tso in Khurnak Fort Area.
  • Impact on people lives Downstream: China projects alongside Brahmaputra will impact lower riparian states local economy and ecology due to future plans of water diversion and dam projects.
    • China’s construction of hydroelectricity dams in ecologically and seismically active areas shows reassertion of its aggressive ‘supply-side hydraulic’ approach of increasing storage capacity by building dams and reservoirs.
    • These steps can impact food and water security needs of people living in low riparian regions as well increase disaster risk.
  • Water Resources of North-East: Even running of the river hydroelectric dams can reduce water flow downstream, especially during the dry season.
    • India is also worried about the release of water during the monsoons, when north-eastern states such as Assam experience ?oods. 
    • Several species of ?ora and fauna are endemic to the North-East part of India and some of them are critically endangered. The ecosystem in the Himalayan region is already on the decline. 
  • Seismological Impact: The Himalayan region is vulnerable to earthquakes and other seismic activities. The sheer size of the infrastructure projects undertaken there poses a signi?cant threat to the populations living downstream.
    • Chins building hydrological projects along geographical fault lines. E.g., Projects on Yarlung Zangbo river are along the collision boundary of Indian plate and Eurasian plate.
    • The glaciers have been retreating due to climate change. Deforestation, soil erosion and landslides are some of the other issues.
  • Water as a Weapon during Standoff: Being an upstream area, China has a clear advantage in building dams and other infrastructure to store or divert the ?ow of the river system.
    • There is the potential to signi?cantly change the ?ow rate during times of stando? between the countries.
    • During the 2017 Doklam border stando? between India and China, China stopped communication of water ?ow levels from its dams.

Way Forward

  • By terming water resources in Tibet as a ‘commons’, India can draw international attention. China should be pressurized to reconsider signing of 1996 UN Convention on Non- Navigation Use of Water which requires watercourse states to cooperate on the equitable and reasonable use and management of international watercourses.
  • India needs to strengthen agreements with China that require the latter to share hydrological data of the river during monsoon season between May and October to alert downstream areas in the event of ?oods.
  • India to articulate its middle riparian position, first to change the perception in the neighbourhood that India is a ‘water hegemon’.
  • India to draw China into the South Asian water equation through a multi-lateral basin approach, thereby sensitising China to downstream concerns and upstream responsibilities.
  • Water Treaty on lines of Indus and Ganga Treaty need to be devised with China for rivers originating from Tibet region.
  • India should initiate a lower riparian coalition, stretching from the Ganga Brahmaputra Meghna basin to the Mekong, in order to draw China into a water dialogue. 
  • Tibet has an essential influence over Asia, providing sustenance to some of the world’s most productive agricultural zones, so it is the collective responsibility of all riparian states to preserve the ecology of this region.

India’s Roadmap for Electric Vehicles in 2023

In News

  • India’s Electric Vehicle future shines bright with ambitious government targets and advancements in technology.

Roadmap for Electric vehicles

  • India has set an ambitious goal to become a leader in the electric vehicle market by 2030 with the government laying out a comprehensive roadmap to achieve this goal, which includes several initiatives and policies to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in the country.
  • One of the key initiatives is the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme, which provides subsidies to customers who purchase electric vehicles.
  • The government has also set a target to achieve 30% electric vehicle penetration in the country by 2030.
  • In this regard, the government is also taking steps for development of domestic manufacturing capabilities for electric vehicles and their components.

Key indicators: Bright Future

  • Electric vehicle adoption, including four, three, and two-wheelers, and buses, has seen a significant uptick in recent years.
  • Target of net-zero carbon emissions in the future will help promote the e-vehicle industry.
  • Push for electric mobility will reduce dependence on oil imports and free up foreign exchange reserves.
  • Last-mile mobility is a defining sector that will help carry this momentum, with partnerships with companies like Spoctech Green Ventures.
  • Decisive growth in the mass-market category of private vehicles in 2023, particularly in Tier II and III cities will promote demand.
  • Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme extended until March 31, 2024 to provide subsidies will aid electric vehicle adoption.
  • Volumes, mass adoption, and large-scale component manufacturing will drive prices down.

Source: NITI Aayog

Various initiatives to promote e-vehicles

About: In India, the government has implemented several schemes to promote the use of electric vehicles (EVs). These include:

  • FAME I & II: Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles is a government scheme, which provides incentives for the purchase of EVs and the installation of charging infrastructure.
  • NEMMP: National Electric Mobility Mission Plan was launched in 2020, which aims to have at least 30% of vehicles on Indian roads be electric by 2030.
  • Tax benefits: The Government has announced plans to provide an additional income tax deduction of INR 1.5 Lakh on the interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles.
  • PLI: The government has announced a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to boost domestic manufacturing and attract global companies to invest in the Indian market.
  • NTTM: The Government also plans to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission (NTTM) to promote the use of technical textiles in various sectors, including the EV industry.
  • Manufacturing plants: Setting up of battery manufacturing units in India to promote the use of electric vehicles.
  • Public transport: The Government has also announced plans to promote the use of electric vehicles in the public transportation sector, by providing financial assistance to states for the purchase of electric buses.E.g., E-buses in Delhi 
  • Ensuring last-mile connectivity: The government has also identified last-mile mobility as a key sector to drive the adoption of electric vehicles E.g., deployment of a fleet of over 5,000 vehicles in Chennai.
  • Promoting e-vehicles in government:  In an attempt to promote use of electric vehicles in the public sector, the government has plans to replace existing government vehicles with electric vehicles.
  • Phased Manufacturing Programme (PMP): Indigenous manufacturing of electric vehicles, their assemblies/sub-assemblies, and parts/sub-parts/inputs of the sub-assemblies to be promoted over time through a graded duty structure. 
  • National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Storage: Government aims to drive strategies for transformative mobility and Phased Manufacturing Programmes for electric vehicles, electric vehicle Components and Batteries.
Advantages of EVsChallenges of EVs
Lower operating costs: Electric vehicles have lower fuel costs and require less maintenance than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.Environmental benefits: EVs produce zero emissions and can significantly reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.Energy independence: As more renewable energy sources are used to power EVs, it can reduce dependence on fossil fuels.Improved performance: EVs have instant torque, which means they can accelerate quickly, and have a smoother and quieter ride.Government incentives: Many countries and local governments offer tax credits, rebates, and other incentives to encourage the purchase of EVs.Cost reduction: The cost of EVs is constantly reducing as the technology improves and economies of scale increase.Convenience: Many electric vehicles have the ability to charge at home using a standard electrical outlet, eliminating the need to visit a gas station.Energy security: EV’s use domestic electricity to power the car, reducing the need for oil imports.High initial cost: The upfront cost of EVs is still higher than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, making it difficult for many consumers to afford them.Limited charging infrastructure: The lack of charging infrastructure makes it difficult for EV owners to travel long distances.Battery technology: The current battery technology still has some limitations, such as limited driving range and long charging time.Limited domestic manufacturing capabilities: India currently lacks the domestic manufacturing capabilities for electric vehicle components and batteries, making it dependent on imports.Lack of awareness: There is still a lack of awareness about the benefits of EVs among the general public in India.Limited Government initiatives: The Indian Government has set ambitious goals for the adoption of electric vehicles, but the lack of concrete action plans and initiatives has been a hindrance.Lack of standardization: The lack of standardization in charging infrastructure and lack of uniformity in regulations across states and union territories is a challenge.Power Grid infrastructure: India’s power grid infrastructure is not fully developed and is not capable of handling the high-power demand of EV charging stations.

What more can be done?

  • Government can devise strategies for transformative mobility for electric vehicles, electric vehicle Components and Batteries
  • Creating a Phased Manufacturing Program (PMP) to localize production across the entire electric vehicle value chain.
  • Coordination with key stakeholders in Ministries/ Departments/states to integrate various initiatives to transform mobility in India.
  • Ensuring holistic and comprehensive growth of the battery manufacturing industry in India with initial focus on large-scale module and assembly plants on Gigascale manufacturing in future.
  • Preparing roadmap for enabling India to leverage its size and scale to produce innovative, competitive multi-modal mobility solutions that can be deployed globally in diverse contexts


  • In an attempt to leverage the potential of e-vehicles, the Indian Government needs to provide more incentives and subsidies for the purchase of EVs, invest in charging infrastructure and battery technology, and promote domestic manufacturing capabilities for electric vehicles and their components.
  • Overall, electric vehicles offer a cleaner, more efficient, and cost-effective alternative to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, and with the right infrastructure and policies in place, they can play a major role in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while improving energy independence.


World Economic Forum 2023

In News

  • The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting 2023, held in Davos, Switzerland, has concluded.

About Annual Meeting

  • It was the 53rd edition of the Annual meeting of the WEF.
  • The meeting has brought together 2,700 leaders from 130 countries including 52 heads of state/government.
  • The theme of this year was ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’ which is in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war, Climate Change, and changing global political scenarios.

New Initiatives Launched

  • Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA):  It is a global initiative launched by WEF with support of more than 45 partners to fund new and existing public, private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPPs) to help unlock the $3 trillion of financing needed each year to reach net zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050.
  • Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate: It brings together countries to boost international cooperation on climate, trade and sustainable development. It is currently co-led by the trade ministers of Ecuador, the European Union, Kenya and New Zealand and so far consists of ministers from 27 jurisdictions.
  • Global Collaboration Village: It was launched by WEF in collaboration with Accenture and Microsoft as the first global, purpose-driven  metaverse platform to create a new virtual space for strengthening international cooperation.
  • Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI): It set a new 100-day goal for pandemic response.
    • CEPI was launched in 2017 by the governments of Norway and India, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum to accelerate the development of vaccines and other biologic countermeasures against pandemic.
    • It is based in Oslo, Norway.

India at Davos 2023

  • As per the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), India will become the third $10 trillion economy by 2035.
  • Global leaders hailed India’s digital and physical infrastructure prowess and its ability to attract global investments with its policies like Product-Linked Incentives (PLI). But they also highlighted the need for reforms in land and labour markets. 
  • The forum and the Maharashtra Institution for Transformation (MITRA) signed a partnership to work together on the urban transformation agenda. 
  • The forum also launched its first thematic centre on healthcare and life sciences in Telangana.
  • Telangana also signed an agreement with Allox Advance Materials Pvt Ltd for setting up a C-LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) active battery material production unit. 

Other Key Takeaways from the Annual Meeting

  • Global Economic Outlook: Most business leaders were upbeat about the economy, with the US and the European Union (EU) seemingly beyond the risk of a recession now. However, Central banks of the major economies cautioned that concerns still remained, and would keep interest rates high to check inflation.
  • Reopening in China: China ending its Zero-Covid Policy and reopening it’s business has added to the positive outlook. However, this would mean a rise in its energy consumption, thereby driving up energy prices.
  • Friendshoring: The World Trade Organisation has warned the economies to be careful of friendshoring, as the big three trading powers of the United States, Europe and China pushed their new industrial policies. The term refers to the practice of relocating supply chains to countries where the risk of disruption from political chaos is low.
  • Ukraine-Russia War: Ukraine demanded more military aid to fight its war against Russia, and more financial aid to rebuild after the war.
  • Climate Change: Everyone agreed upon the need for green energy and the need for more money to fight climate change.

Critical Analysis of WEF

  • The persistent criticism of WEF annual meetings is that it is an event where the uber-rich and powerful fly in on private jets to talk about poverty alleviation and climate action.
  • However, despite its flaws, the conference is an opportunity for key decision-makers to interact with each other. More conversation and communication is better than less contact and less communication.

Ahom Burial Mounds in Assam

In News

  • Recently, the Union Government has decided to nominate Assam’s Charaideo Maidams for the UNESCO World Heritage Centre.


  • Nomination:
    • It has been selected from among 52 sites across the country seeking the World Heritage Site tag.
  • Charaideo Maidams:
    • Assam’s Charaideo Maidams are the Ahom equivalent of the ancient Egyptian pyramids
    • The maidams represent the late medieval (13th-19th century CE) mound burial tradition of the Tai Ahom community in Assam.
    • The Charaideo Maidams enshrine the mortal remains of the members of the Ahom royalty, who used to be buried with their paraphernalia. 
    • Out of 386 Maidams or Moidams explored so far, 90 royal burials at Charaideo are the best preserved, representative of and the most complete examples of mound burial tradition of the Ahoms.
    • After the 18th century, the Ahom rulers adopted the Hindu method of cremation and began entombing the cremated bones and ashes in a Maidam at Charaideo.
  • Significance:
    • There is currently no World Heritage Site in the category of cultural heritage in the northeast.
    • The nomination of the Charaideo Maidams has attained significance at a time when the country is celebrating the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Barphukan.
  • Ahom Kingdom:
    • The Ahom dynasty was founded by Chao Lung Siu-Ka-Pha in 1253.
    • The Ahom rule lasted for about 600 years until the British annexed Assam in 1826. 
    • Charaideo, more than 400 km east of Guwahati, was the first capital of the Ahom dynasty.

‘Ops Alert’ Exercise

In News

  • Recently, the Border Security Force (BSF) has started a seven-day “Ops Alert” exercise.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Commenced on January 21 and will continue till January 28. 
    • All along the Indo-Pak international border from Sir Creek (marshy area) to the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat and Barmer district of Rajasthan.
    • The BSF will carry out special operations in forward and depth areas as well as creeks and ‘Harami Nalla‘ as part of the exercise. 
    • It has also planned public outreach programmes as part of the exercise.
  • Objectives:
    • To enhance security along the India-Pakistan border in Kutch district of Gujarat and Barmer in Rajasthan.
    • Being carried out to “thwart any ill designs of anti-national elements” during the Republic Day celebrations.
  • Government Efforts:
    • To enhance its security, “permanent vertical bunkers” of concrete are being constructed for the first time to station BSF troops right at the strategically significant Sir Creek and Harami Nalla marshy area.
    • The Union Home Ministry has sanctioned a ?50-crore fund for the construction of eight multi-storey bunkers cum observation posts in this area along the Bhuj sector in view of the constant infiltration of Pakistani fishermen and fishing boats in the area.
Sir CreekOriginally named Ban Ganga, Sir Creek is named after a British representative.It is a 96 km long strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands. It opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan. Pakistan claims the entire width of the estuary, while India says the demarcation should be in the middle.Harami Nalla It is also known as the Sir Creek area. The area is a 22 km long and approximately 8 km wide marshy patch that is navigable most of the time.


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