India-Nepal Cooperation

In News

  • India and Nepal recently agreed to strengthen their economic and development cooperation for the benefit of the two countries and region as a whole.

More about the news

  • India’s Foreign Secretary recently met his Nepalese counterpart holding discussions on strengthening the comprehensive bilateral relations.
    • The visit is in continuation of the regular exchange of visits between the two friendly neighbours.
  • Issues of discussion:
    • Various aspects of Nepal-India relations including the power sector cooperation, trade, transit, education, culture, healthcare and connectivity infrastructure were discussed during the meeting.
    • Issues such as increasing development assistance to Nepal, boosting investment, resolving problems surfacing in connectivity, and bilateral trade as well as the promotion of power trade were mainly featured during the meeting.
  • Provision of international air route:
    • Nepal urged India to provide an international air route for the effective operation of the newly opened Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara International Airport.
  • Proposal of a common voice of the South Asian nations: 
    • Nepal also proposed to form a mechanism for a common voice of the South Asian nations in the international forums regarding climate change issues.
India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policyIndia’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy is an integral component of Indian foreign policy. The policy seeks to build cordial and synergetic relations with India’s South Asian neighbours in various areas such as economy, science and technology, research and education, among others.This policy creates new avenues as well as leverages existing regional cooperation initiatives, such as SAARC, SASEC, BBIN, and BIMSTEC. It compliments India’s Look East policy focused on Southeast Asia and Look West Policy focused on the Middle East.

India-Nepal Relations

  • India & Nepal share close and friendly relations characterised by age-old historical and cultural linkages, open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts.
    • Nepal is important for India in the context of its overall strategic interests in the region, and the leaders of the two countries have often noted the age-old “Roti Beti” relationship.
  • Sharing borders:
    • The country shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states — Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
    • Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services.
  • Trade and economic ties: 
    • India remains Nepal’s largest trade partner, with bilateral trade crossing US$ 7  billion in FY 2019-20. India provides transit for almost the entire third-country trade of Nepal.
      • India’s export to Nepal has grown over 8 times in the past 10 years while exports from Nepal have almost doubled. Despite the difficulties due to the pandemic, India ensured uninterrupted flow of trade and supplies to Nepal. 
      • Nepal is India’s 11th largest export destination, up from 28th position in 2014. 
      • In FY  2021-22, it constituted 2.34% of India’s exports. Infact exports from India constitute almost 22% of Nepal’s GDP. 
  • Development Partnership: 
    • Financial and technical assistance:
      • GoI provides substantial financial and technical assistance to Nepal for  the implementation of large development and infrastructure and connectivity projects,  as well as small development projects/high-impact community development projects in key areas of education, health, irrigation, rural infrastructure, livelihood development, etc. all across the country. 
    • The ‘New Partnership in Agriculture’:
      • It was announced in April 2018, which focuses on collaborative projects in Agriculture,  Education and R&D.
    • Cross-border railway links:
      • India is providing financial and technical assistance for construction of two broad gauge cross-border railway links viz Jayanagar-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar. 
    • India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA):
      • India and Nepal signed a Letter of Exchange (LoE) to the India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA), which enabled all authorised cargo train operators including private container train operators to carry Nepal’s container and other freight.
    • Mahakali River bridge:
      • Recently, a MoU was signed between India and Nepal for the  construction of a motorable bridge across the Mahakali River connecting Dharchula  (India) with Darchula (Nepal), under Indian grant assistance.
  • Operation Maitri & post-earthquake reconstruction assistance:
    • In the wake of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, GoI was the first responder and carried out its largest disaster relief operation abroad (Operation Maitri). 
    • India extended  US$ 1 billion to Nepal as part of its long-term assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction in housing, education, health and culture heritage sectors. 

Issues between India & Nepal

  •  Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950:
    • On 31 July 1950, India and Nepal signed a treaty of peace and friendship in an effort to “strengthen and develop these ties and to perpetuate peace between the two countries”.
      • As time passed, Nepal believed the treaty was “incompatible with national self-respect”.
  • Madhesi Issue:
    • India’s entrenched interests in Nepal suffered a setback in 2015, when a blockade at the borders ensued following protests by Madhesis and some other ethnic groups against marginalisation of their interests in the newly-passed Nepalese Constitution.
  • Kalapani dispute:  
    • The area is in India’s control but Nepal claims the region because of historical and cartographic reasons. The area is the largest territorial dispute between Nepal and India consisting of at least 37,000 hectares of land in the High Himalayas.
  • Susta Border dispute:
    • Susta is a disputed territory between Nepal and India. It is administered by India as part of West Champaran district of Bihar.
    • Nepal claims the area a part of West Nawalparasi District under Susta rural municipality, alleging that over 14,860 hectares of Nepali land in Susta has been encroached upon by India.

Way ahead

  • There are several irritants that have developed, straining this relationship, and for now there seems to be a concerted attempt by both governments to return to bonhomie, with the Indian government seeking to utilise “religious diplomacy” as a means to emphasise the special relationship. 
  • India-Nepal relations need to graduate to a more meaningful partnership on economic and geopolitical issues, with the Indian government continuing to retain a substantial role in partnering the Nepali regime in development projects.

Source: TH

Boost to Border infrastructure focusing China

In News

  • Recently, the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar provided details of India’s projects on border infrastructure and connectivity during an unscheduled briefing in Parliament.


  • The government’s projects on border infrastructure and connectivity will focus on initiatives in the north and east along India’s 3,488 km border with China (Line of Actual Control or LAC).
  • The projects will also include ramping up infrastructure on the Indian side in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Steps will also be taken to revamp projects connecting India to “friendly” neighbouring states such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar.
  • The EAM also highlighted the need to focus on border preparedness, including the quality of structures, technology involved, and maintenance.
  • The report was released in the wake of an official Security Conference report that said Indian forces have lost access to 26 of 65 patrolling points along the LAC since 2020.
  • The briefing is aimed to counter Opposition’s questions on the India-China situation during the parliamentary session besides allaying concerns in neighbouring countries in light of the recent drop in share value and credit ratings of the Adani Group, which has been involved closely with the government’s foreign policy forays, especially in the neighbourhood.
  • The timing is particularly significant as it comes a few weeks before the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang to Delhi for the G-20 Foreign Minister’s Meeting.

Major highlights:

  • The official document highlighted a multi-pronged approach, including improving connectivity to the LAC through roads, bridges, and tunnels
  • India is also looking to improve cross-border connectivity to neighbouring countries via highways, bridges, inland waterways, railroads, electricity lines, and fuel pipelines
  • India is modernizing and constructing integrated check posts (ICPs) at all border crossings to smooth trade
  • India is funding and constructing infrastructure projects in neighbouring countries.

Neighbourhood Projects

  • The report lists dozens of planned, financed, or constructed projects in the neighbourhood, such as railway links to Nepal and Bangladesh, the Mahakali motorable bridge, and the Maitri Setu between Tripura and Bangladesh
  • India is also involved in the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP), which includes a 158 km waterway, the Sittwe port project and road to Mizoram, and South Asia’s first cross-border petroleum products pipeline
  • India is developing a Bhutanese dry port in Pasakha bordering West Bengal under an Indian government grant.
Government Schemes to strengthen Indian BordersBorder Roads Organisation (BRO): It is responsible for developing and maintaining road infrastructure in India’s border areas of strategic importance and improving border management.Bharatmala Pariyojana: It is a centrally-funded scheme that aims to develop 65,000 km of national highways across the country, including in border areas.Border Infrastructure and Management (BIM) – It aims to provide better roads, electricity, and communication infrastructure along the border areas to enhance security.Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) – It aims to improve border infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce while enhancing security by streamlining the process of cargo and passenger movement.Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) – It aims to create a seamless and robust surveillance mechanism along the border areas with the help of advanced technologies.Scheme for Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPF) – It aims to equip state police forces with modern weapons, technologies, and infrastructure to enhance their capability to combat cross-border infiltration and terrorism.Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the North East (SARDP-NE): It aims to provide all-weather road connectivity to the North Eastern Region to enhance security by improving mobility of the military and paramilitary forces.

Importance of Border infrastructure:

  • Border infrastructure is crucial for India’s national security, especially along its border with China (Line of Actual Control or LAC) in the north and east.
  • Improved border infrastructure helps India to enhance its preparedness for any security challenges that may arise.
  • The infrastructure developments along the border also help to improve the connectivity of India’s remote areas with the rest of the country, enabling economic development and reducing regional disparities.
  • Modernization of integrated check posts at border crossings helps to smooth trade with neighbouring countries and promote regional economic integration.
  • The development of connectivity projects with neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka strengthen India’s strategic and economic relationships with these countries.
  • Rapid development of infrastructure along the northern borders with China is a strategic imperative for India in light of the ongoing border disputes and conflicts with China.

Challenges of revamping border infrastructure:

  • Harsh terrain: climate conditions in some border areas, which make construction and maintenance of infrastructure difficult.
  • Security: Projects often have to factor concerns due to ongoing tensions with neighboring countries, which require extra precautions and delays in construction timelines.
  • Corpus: Limited funding and resources often slows down projects and delays completion.
  • Environmental concerns: There is a need to balance development with preservation of natural resources.
  • Geopolitical considerations:  Concerns about China’s influence in the region affects decisions about where and how to invest in infrastructure.

Source: TH

Appointment of Governors

In News

  • New Governors have been appointed recently in 12 states and the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.


  • The appointment of a former Judge of the Supreme Court has raised concerns regarding judicial accountability and independence of the Judiciary.
  • The concerns have been raised since the appointment was made soon after his retirement as SC judge.

SC judge appointment as Governor.

  • The Law Commission in its 14th report was of the view that it is clearly undesirable that SC judges should look forward to other Government employment after their retirement.
  • The Late Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha said almost everyone, bearing a few honourable men, wants a job post-retirement. If we (Parliament) don’t create it, they themselves create it.
  • The desire for a post-retirement job influences pre-retirement judgements. 
  • This is a threat to the independence of the judiciary which adversely impacts the functioning of the Judiciary. 
  • In 2012, the former CJI late J.S. Verma emphasised the need for a post-retirement code of conduct for Judges. 
  • longer cooling-off period can help to set aside quid pro quo between the government (the biggest litigant before the SC) and the retiring Judge.

Criticism of the Governor’s office

  • Political Tussle: When two different political parties are in power at the center and state. Instead of abridging the trust issues, the governor sometimes creates more tension. Governors are unable to shed their political inclinations, predilections, and prejudices while dealing with different political parties within the State.
  • Appointment: The Governor is appointed by the central government and therefore, actions of the Governor are often viewed as interference by the Central government in the functioning of the State government. The post has been reduced to becoming a retirement package for politicians for being politically faithful to the government of the day.
  • Tenure is under the discretion of the Union Government: Since the Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President and the President works on aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. Thus, the office is under the control of the ruling party at the center.
  • Misuse of Discretionary powers: He/she has the power to invite the leader of the largest party after the election to form the government, which has been often misused to favor a political party. Sometimes the Governor is criticised for appointing without consulting the state government. E.g. Vice Chancellors   
  • Reservation of Bills: Under Article 200, the Governor has the discretionary power to reserve bills for the President’s assent. This provision has been used by political parties to serve their partisan interests.

Office of Governor

  • About:
    • Article 153 of the Constitution says “There shall be a Governor for each State”.
    • He/she is the Chief Executive Head of a State.
    • The governor is a nominal (titular or constitutional) head. 
    • Acts as an agent of the central government.
  • Appointment
    • Under Article 155, The Governor of a State shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
    • Under Article 156, the Governor shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.
  • Qualifications and Tenure
    • Under Article 157 only Indian citizens above 35 years of age are eligible for appointment to this office.
    •  The Governor of a State is appointed by the President for a term of five years.
    • The Governor has no security of tenure.
  • Functions
    • Article 163 of the Constitution says the Governor will normally be aided and advised by the Council of Ministers except in those functions which require his discretion.
    • Article 164 of the constitution says the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
  • Powers:
    • Under Article 161 the Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.
    • Legislative Powers: The Governor has the power to prorogue and dissolve the state legislature.
      • Governor appoints one-sixth of the total members of the legislative council from the fields of literature, science, art, cooperative movement, and social service.
      • With respect to the bill introduced in the state legislature, he can give his assent, withhold his assent, return the bill, and reserve the bill for President’s consideration.
    • Executive Powers: All Executive actions in the state by the government are taken in his name.
      • The Chief Minister and Council of Ministers are appointed by him.
      • The Governor appoints the State Election Commissioner, Chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission, Advocate General of State, and Vice-Chancellor of Universities.
      • The President of India imposes President’s rule in any state on the recommendation of the Governor of the concerned state.

Supreme Court’s view on the Governor’s Office

  • In the S.R. Bommai case, the SC ruled that the floor of the Assembly should be the only forum that should test the majority of the government of the day and not the subjective opinion of the Governor.
  • In the same landmark judgement, it was ruled that imposition of the President’s Rule shall be only in the event of a breakdown of constitutional machinery.
  • In the Rameshwar Prasad Case, 2006 the SC held that the Governor could not decide based on his subjective assessments regarding the proclamation of President Rule.
  • In the Nabam Rebia case of Arunachal Pradesh of 2016, the constitutional bench held that the Governor can summon, prorogue and dissolve the House only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head. And not at his own will.

Suggestions to improve

  • Sarkaria Commission made recommendations regarding the appointment of the Governor:
    • The Governor should be an eminent person and must be from outside the state.
    • The Governor must not have been active in politics in the recent past and when there are different parties in the center and state, the governor should not be from the ruling party at the center.
    • The Governor should be appointed in consultation with the Chief Minister of the state, Vice President, and Speaker of Lok Sabha.
    • The Governor’s tenure of office must be guaranteed.
  • M.M. Punchhi Commission 
    • The appointment of the Governor should be entrusted to a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and Chief Minister of the concerned state.
    • The Commission recommended that the doctrine of pleasure should end and be deleted from the constitution.

Demand for Greater Tipraland

In News

  • Demands for greater TIPRALAND rises in the ongoing elections preparations in Tripura.


  • The Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA Motha) chief Pradyot Kishore Debbarma has recently launched the party’s election manifesto for the upcoming Tripura Assembly polls, in Agartala.
  • TIPRA Motha is the newest political party in Tripura and is led by Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, the son of Tripura’s last king.
  • The party’s first electoral attempt in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections in 2021 was successful, securing 18 of 28 seats.
  • The demand for Greater Tipraland has polarized the relationship between the tribals and non-tribals in Tripura.

What is Greater Tipraland?

  • It is the area demanded by TIPRA Motha which aims to carve out a new state “Greater Tipraland” for the 19 indigenous tribes of Tripura under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution.
  • While Articles 2 and 3 authorize the Parliament for creation of new states and alter the areas, boundaries or names of existing states from the territories of an existing state or states.
  • The new state would go beyond the TTAADC areas and include several other villages where the Tiprasa reside in large numbers.
  • TIPRA Motha plans to set up task forces to help with the linguistic, cultural, social, and economic development of Tiprasa living in other regions of the country and the world.

Genesis of the demand

  • The demand for Greater Tipraland is not a rehash of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) demand for Tipraland in 2009.
  • The earlier demand was to carve out a separate state for the tribal population of Tripura from the TTAADC areas.
  • The present demand goes beyond the TTAADC areas and includes at least 36 more villages where the tribal population is in the range of 20 to 36%.
TripuraTripura is a state in northeastern India, bordered by Bangladesh to the north, south, and west, and the Indian state of Assam to the east.The state covers an area of 10,486 square kilometers and has a population of over 4 million people, according to the 2011 Census of India.The capital city of Tripura is Agartala, which is also the largest city in the state.The official languages of Tripura are Bengali and Kokborok.The state has a high literacy rate, with 87.75% of the population being literate, according to the 2011 Census.Tripura is predominantly a rural state, with 83.14% of the population living in rural areas with diverse culture and rich history of art, music, and dance.The economy of the state is largely dependent on agriculture and allied activities, with a significant proportion of the population engaged in agriculture.Tripura is home to several indigenous communities, including the Tripuri, Reang, Jamatia, and Noatia tribes, who have their own distinct cultures and traditions.Major tourist attractions in Tripura include the Ujjayanta Palace, Neermahal, and the Tripura Sundari Temple.

Source: TH

Article 105 of Constitution

In News

  • Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha writes a letter to chairman highlighting privileges of Members of Parliament under Article 105 of the Indian Constitution.


  • Article 105 of the Indian Constitution provides freedom of speech in Parliament, and exempts members from legal action for anything said or done in the course of their duties.
  • The Constitution, however prohibits discussions in Parliament regarding the conduct of judges of the Supreme Court or of a High Court, except upon a motion for presenting an address to the President praying for the removal of the Judge.
  • The immunity of MPs extends to certain non-members, such as the Attorney General for India or a Minister who may not be a member but speaks in the House.
  • The idea of this privilege of Parliament originated from the Government of India Act, 1935, with references to the powers and privileges enjoyed by the House of Commons in Britain.
  • In the 17th-century case of R vs Elliot, Holles and Valentine, the House of Lords provided immunity to Sir John Elliot, a member of the House of Commons, saying that words spoken in Parliament should only be judged therein.
  • This privilege has also been enshrined in the Bill of Rights 1689 by which the Parliament of England definitively established the principle of a constitutional monarchy.
  • The Supreme Court in its ‘Tej Kiran Jain v N Sanjiva Reddy’ case(1970) ruled that the word “anything” in Article 105 is of the widest import and is equivalent to “everything“.
  • At present, the Speaker or the House itself deal with cases where an MP oversteps or exceeds the contours of admissible free speech, as opposed to the court.

Source: IE

Lymphatic Filariasis

In News

  • The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare launched a nationwide Sarva Dawa Sevan or Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF).
    • The campaign aims to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, three years ahead of the global target.

What is Lymphatic Filariasis?

  • Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease. 
  • Lymphatic filariasis impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability, and social stigma.
  • Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through Culex mosquitoes. Infection is usually acquired in childhood causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system.
  • The painful disease, lymphoedema, elephantiasis, and scrotal swelling (hydrocele) occur later in life and can lead to permanent disability.
  • These patients are not only physically disabled but suffer mental, social, and financial losses contributing to stigma and poverty.
  • Lymphatic filariasis can be eliminated by stopping the spread of infection through preventive chemotherapy with safe medicine combinations repeated annually.
  • The campaign will focus on intensive monitoring at the block level. Education institutions, offices, banks, industries, and other congregated areas will be covered followed by door-to-door visits by ASHAs and para-medical staff.


In News

  • Recently, the Prime Minister used the BIMARU term in the context of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh states.


  • The ‘BIMARU’ acronym has been used to refer to Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, to imply they have lagged in terms of economic growth, healthcare, and education.

What do BIMARU states mean?

  • BIMARU means “sickly” in Hindi. The term was used to highlight the backwardness, especially with regard to poor performance in demographic indicators and contribution to population explosion.
  • These states had exceptionally high levels of mortality, morbidity, illiteracy, fertility, undernutrition, and social inequality and lagged behind in per capita income.
  • It was coined by Ashish Bose in 1980 to pinpoint India’s demographic malady.
  • Bose mainly argued that from a family planning and population control perspective, these four states, with their high population growth rates were likely to offset the gains made elsewhere in the country. 

Role of Bimaru states in Population growth

  • On the key demographic indicator Total Fertility Rate (TFR), there are now two distinct Indias, one on the road to achieving replacement levels, and one still a long distance off.
  • The national goal of reaching a “stabilising population”, meaning a TFR of 2.1 was achieved recently.
  • BIMARU states accounted for 41 percent of India’s total population in 2001 and will account for 43.5 percent in 2026 which has political implications.
  • Population in Indian states also dictates the delimitation process or the number of seats allotted to them in Parliament.
  • Currently, the seats are proportional to the Indian population as of the 1971 census. It was frozen until 2001 (extended to 2026) to give states time to meet family planning goals.

How has BIMARU been used over time?

  • The BIMARU tag has been used to criticise the parties in power in these states, and also to showcase success in achieving some progress.
  • In 2012 the average growth rate of the five poorest states exceeded the national average for the first time in any Plan period.
  • NITI Aayog’s 2019-20 Health Index also ranked Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh (in highest to lowest order) at the last four positions out of 19 large states.
  • As per IIM Ahmedabad’s study of total and rural government hospitals per million people, all the BIMARU states were below the national average of 20.74 except Rajasthan.


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