Procedure for the inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list

In the News

  • Recently, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs responded to a question in the Rajya Sabha, which raised concerns about the need for a revision in the criteria and procedure for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list.
Who are Scheduled Tribes?The framers of the Constitution took note of the fact that certain communities in the country were suffering from extreme social, educational, and economic backwardness on account of primitive agricultural practices, lack of infrastructure facilities, and geographical isolation. The Constitution of India in Article 366 (25) prescribes that Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 of the Constitution to be Scheduled Tribes.342(1) Scheduled Tribes — the President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory as the case may be.  (2) Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.

The current procedure and criteria for inclusion

  • According to the modalities, for inclusion first framed in 1999, the proposal for inclusion must originate from the respective State or Union Territorygovernment.
    • Following this, the proposal is sent to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry, which sends it to the Office of the Registrar General of India (ORGI). 
  • If the ORGI approves the inclusion, the proposal is forwarded to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.
    • the ORGI continues to follow the criteria set out by the Lokur Committee in 1965 to decide whether a community can be included in the ST list.
      • These criteria include indications of primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness.
  • Only after the concurrence of these institutions, will the proposal go forward to the Cabinet to bring in the appropriate amendment to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. 
  • The final decision rests with the President’s office issuing a notification specifying the changes under powers vested in it from Articles 341 and 342.

Benefits of Inclusion in ST List / Constitutional Safeguards

  • Reservation in educational institutions has been provided in Article 15(4) of the constitution while reservation in posts and services has been provided in Article 16(4), 16(4A) and 16(4B) of the Constitution.
  • Specific safeguards have been provided in Article 244 read with the provisions contained in the Fifth and Sixth Schedules to the Constitution.
  • Article 243D provides reservation of Seats for Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats.
  • Article 330 provides reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha.


  • Both the procedure and criteria for the inclusion of communities had been strongly criticised by an internal government task force formed in February 2014, for being “obsolete”, “condescending”, “dogmatic” and “rigid”. 
  • The committee, led by then-Tribal Affairs Secretary Hrusikesh Panda had also said that the procedure as it was being followed was “cumbersome” and “defeats the Constitutional agenda for affirmative action and inclusion”.
  •  The task force had concluded that these criteria and procedures were resulting in the exclusion of or delays in the inclusion of nearly 40 communities across the country. 

Government Stands 

  • The Tribal Affairs Ministry insisted that the current procedure for inclusion of communities in the Scheduled Tribes list was “adequate”. 

Supreme Court’s Observations

  • In March 2022, the Supreme Court said it wanted to fix fool-proof parameters to determine if a person belongs to a Scheduled Tribe. It referred this matter to a larger bench.
How many Scheduled Tribes are there officially?According to the Scheduled Tribes in India as revealed in Census 2011, there are said to be 705 ethnic groups listed as Scheduled Tribes under Article 342. Over 10 crore Indians are notified as STs, of which 1.04 crore live in urban areas. The STs constitute 8.6% of the population and 11.3% of the rural population.

What is the McMahon line?

In News

  • Two United States Senators, have introduced a bipartisan resolution reiterating that the US recognises the McMahon Line as the international boundary between China and India in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • The resolution reaffirms India’s well-known and established position that Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls ‘South Tibet’, is an integral part of India.

What is the McMahon Line?

  • The McMahon Line serves as the de facto boundary between China and India in the Eastern Sector. It specifically represents the boundary between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, from Bhutan in the west to Myanmar in the east.
  • China has historically disputed the boundary and claims the state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).


  • The McMahon Line was drawn during the Simla Convention of 1914, officially described as the Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet. The line was determined by Sir Henry McMahon, then Foreign Secretary in the Government of British India, and it is called the McMahon Line after his name.
  • China was represented at the convention by the government of the Republic of China, which was in power in the mainland from 1912 to 1949.

What is the Shimla Treaty?

  • According to the Shimla Treaty, the McMahon Line is the clear boundary line between India and China. On behalf of India, the British rulers considered Tawang of Arunachal Pradesh and the southern part of Tibet as part of India and which was also agreed by the Tibetans. Due to this, the Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh became part of India.

Why doesn’t China accept the McMahon Line?

  • According to China, Tibet has always been a part of its territory, so the representatives of Tibet are not authorised to accept any agreement without Chinese consent. In 1950, China fully occupied Tibet. Now China neither approved nor accepted the McMahon Line.
  • China also argues that China was not involved in the Simla Agreement, therefore the Shimla Agreement is not binding on it. China claimed its right on Arunachal Pradesh only after the occupancy of Tibet in 1950.

India’s stand on McMahon Line

  • India believes that when the McMahon Line was established in 1914, Tibet was a weak but independent country, so it has every right to negotiate a border agreement with any country.
  • Also, when the McMahon Line was drawn, Tibet was not ruled by China. Therefore, the McMahon Line is the clear and legal boundary line between India and China. 
  • Even after the Chinese occupation over Tibet in 1950, the Tawang region remained an integral part of India.

Current status on the McMahon Line

  • India recognizes the McMahon Line and considers it to be the ‘Actual Line of Control (LAC)’ between India and China, while China does not recognize the McMahon Line. China says that the area of the disputed area is 2,000 kilometers while India claims it is 4,000 kilometers.
  • This land dispute between India and China is in Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), which China considers as the Southern part of Tibet. According to the Shimla Agreement it is a part of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh.

Image: India-China disputed areas

Parliament committee slams Budget cuts for MGNREGS

In Context

  • Recently, the Parliamentary panel raised concerns over budget cuts for the MGNREGA scheme.
    • The Committee is concerned to note that Budget Estimates for MGNREGS have been reduced by Rs 29,400 crore for 2023-24 when compared to Revised Estimates of 2022-23.


  • The budget for MGNREGA was higher in 2020-21 to 2022-23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and job and real income losses
  • As per the government, the lower budget for MGNREGA is based on the assumption that the economy has fully recovered from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

What is MGNREGA?

  • About:
    • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005, is a flagship rural job scheme of the Indian government aimed at providing employment opportunities to the rural poor.
    • On average, every day approx. 1.5 crore people work under it at almost 14 lakh sites.
    • The Act provides a legal right to employment for adult members of rural households.
    • At least one-third of beneficiaries have to be women. Wages must be paid according to the wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
  • Aim:
    • To enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • Funding:
    • It is shared between the Centre and the States.
    • The Central Government bears 100 per cent of the cost of unskilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of semi-skilled and skilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of materials and 6 percent of the administrative costs.
  • Time-Bound Guarantee of Work: 
    • Employment must be provided within 15 days of being demanded to fail which an ‘unemployment allowance’ must be given.
  • Decentralised Planning: 
    • Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are primarily responsible for planning, implementation and monitoring of the works that are undertaken.
    • Gram Sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50 per cent of the works must be executed by them.
  • Transparency and Accountability:
    • There are provisions for proactive disclosure through wall writings, Citizen Information Boards, Management Information Systems and social audits (conducted by Gram Sabhas).


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

Internationalisation of the Indian Rupee

In News 

  • RBI Deputy Governor emphasizes the need for better rupee volatility management to deal with risks of internationalization.


  • The Reserve Bank of India is making efforts to reduce the use of the US dollar to stabilize the Indian rupee.
  • One of the initiatives is allowing invoicing of international trade in Indian rupees instead of dollars and other major currencies.
  • The RBI has also set up India’s rupee trade settlement mechanism to attract interest from more countries besides allowing Indian traders to use special Vostro accounts for settling their rupee-denominated trade invoices.
  • The first country to open a special Rupee Vostro account is Russia followed by Sri Lanka and Mauritius which are expected to use the Indian rupee trade settlement mechanism.
  • As the economy grows and becomes more developed, the scope of participation in foreign exchange markets would change.
  • More entities are likely to get exposed to foreign exchange risks with increasing integration with the rest of the world.

What is Internationalisation of Indian Rupee?

  • It refers to the process of making the Indian rupee a globally accepted currency, similar to other major currencies like the US dollar, Euro, and Japanese yen etc.,
  • This process aims to promote India’s economic growth and development by increasing the use of the rupee in cross-border transactions, foreign investment, and global trade.
  • It requires the liberalization of India’s capital account, which means allowing free flow of capital in and out of the country without any restrictions.

Advantages of Internationalization of rupee

  • Increased global acceptance: Internationalization of the rupee can increase its global acceptance, which can lead to more international transactions being conducted in the rupee, thereby reducing the demand for foreign currencies and reducing exchange rate risks.
  • Reduced transaction costs: Internationalization of the rupee can reduce transaction costs for Indian businesses as they will not have to incur exchange rate fees for converting rupees into foreign currencies for international transactions.
  • Boost to trade and investment: Internationalization of the rupee can promote trade and investment by making it easier for foreign businesses to invest in India and for Indian businesses to invest abroad.
  • Enhanced competitiveness: A more freely traded rupee can enhance India’s competitiveness in global markets by allowing the currency to reflect the country’s economic fundamentals and reducing the need for the Reserve Bank of India to intervene in currency markets.
  • Diversification of reserves: Internationalization of the rupee can diversify India’s foreign exchange reserves away from a concentration in US dollars, reducing the risks associated with holding a single currency.

Challenges of Internationalisation of rupee:

  • Exchange rate volatility: It is the primary challenge of internationalising the rupee as it can create risks for businesses and investors that operate in multiple currencies, leading to uncertainty and higher transaction costs.
  • Integration with global financial markets: It requires integration with global financial markets, which can pose challenges in terms of regulatory compliance, market infrastructure, and investor protection.
  • Limited liquidity: The rupee is not yet a widely traded currency, which means there is limited liquidity in global markets making it difficult for investors to buy and sell rupee-denominated assets, which can limit the attractiveness of the currency.
  • Underdeveloped financial markets: India’s financial markets are still relatively underdeveloped compared to other major economies, which can limit the range of products and services available to international investors.
  • Regulatory challenges: It requires a supportive regulatory environment that balances the need for openness with the need for financial stability and regulatory oversigh which is challenging to achieve, especially given the complexities of global financial markets.

Steps taken to promote the internationalisation of the Indian rupee

  • Liberalisation of capital account: The RBI has progressively relaxed restrictions on capital flows to and from India, thereby facilitating greater cross-border investment and trade.
  • Promotion of offshore rupee markets: The RBI has allowed Indian banks to participate in the offshore non-deliverable market for rupee derivatives, which has facilitated the development of offshore rupee markets.
  • Currency swap agreements: The RBI has signed currency swap agreements with several countries, which allow for the exchange of rupee and foreign currency between the central banks of the two countries.
  • Promotion of rupee-denominated bonds: The government has allowed Indian companies to issue rupee-denominated bonds in international markets, which has helped to increase the demand for the rupee.
  • Bilateral trade agreements: The government has signed several bilateral trade agreements with other countries, which has facilitated greater cross-border trade and investment and increased the use of the rupee in international transactions.

Way ahead

  • There is need for careful planning and coordination between policymakers, market participants, and regulators to ensure a smooth and successful transition towards the internationalisation of the Indian rupee.
  • Overall, increase in the international use of the Indian rupee will go a long way in positioning India as a more attractive destination for foreign investment and trade.

 Source: TH

AUKUS Alliance

In News

  • Recently, leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States met  at a  US  naval base  as a  part of AUKUS.


  • AUKUS is a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS).
  • Under the pact, the US and the UK will help Australia to acquire conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines.
  • The pact also includes cooperation on advanced cyber, artificial intelligence and autonomy, quantum technologies, undersea capabilities, hypersonic and counter-hypersonic, electronic warfare, innovation and information sharing.


  • AUKUS aims for freedom and openness in the Indo-Pacific region, including the South China Sea.
  • AUKUS partnership is signed to bolster Australia’s naval power in the Indo-Pacific region as a challenge to  the regional hegemonic ambitions of China.
  • The operationalisation of this security partnership will lead to closer military coordination among the participating nations in the region.
  • China’s  encirclement of  India can be partially mitigated by AUKUS.
  • India may derive secondary benefits from having  top of the class  military know-how in the region .


  • Many of its regional partners such as Indonesia oppose Australian  operating nuclear attack submarines.
  • Virginia class submarines are worlds most potent in terms of capabilities many U.S. policymakers are sceptical about the sale.
  • Integration of three  different systems will prove difficult. 
  • The U.S.’s stringent export control and protocol regime could spoil the technology transfer agreement, particularly in areas related to undersea capabilities and electronic warfare.

Implications for India:

  • India could obtain a better deal from the French who are aggrieved because of Australia cancelling its submarine order.
  • The submarines present India a huge opportunity for coordination during joint military exercises.
  • There is a possibility of crowding of nuclear attack submarines in the Eastern Indian Ocean which could erode India’s regional pre-eminence. 

Right to Repair

In News

  • Union government sets up committee for developing framework on Right to Repair in India.


  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Department of Consumer Affairs has formed a committee to develop a comprehensive framework for the Right to Repair in India.
  • The committee aims to generate employment through the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative and emphasizing the LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) movement.
  • The framework aims to provide easy access to overhauling services not only by original manufacturers but also by reliable third-party technicians to reduce costs and extend the life of devices, equipment, and home appliances.
  • The initiative aims to build a consumer-centric ecosystem to increase reparability and bring transparency through collaboration.
  • Previously, in the US, President Joe Biden issued an executive order in 2021 that included a directive for limits on how tech manufacturers could restrict repairs.

What is Right to repair?

  • It refers to government measures that forbid manufacturers to impose barriers that deny consumers the ability to repair consumer products.
  • The sectors identified for the right to repair include : farming equipment, mobile phones/tablets, consumer durables, and automobiles/automobile equipment.
  • Government has launched a unified portal,, to onboard leading brands and reliable third-party technicians to provide easy access to overhauling services.
  • The portal has onboarded leading brands such as Samsung, Honda, Kent RO Systems, Havells, Hewlett Packard, and Hero MotoCorp.
  • The portal seeks to streamline trade between original equipment manufacturers and third-party sellers.
  • The right to repair has been recognized in many countries across the globe, including the USA, UK, and European Union.

Importance of Right to repair for India

  • Reducing electronic waste: India is one of the largest generators of electronic waste in the world, and the right to repair can help reduce e-waste by extending the lifespan of electronic devices and appliances.
  • Lowering costs for consumers: By providing access to third-party technicians, the right to repair can reduce costs for consumers who may not be able to afford expensive repairs or replacement devices.
  • Promoting transparency and collaboration: The right to repair framework aims to build a consumer-centric ecosystem that promotes transparency and collaboration between manufacturers, sellers, and consumers.
  • Supporting small businesses: The right to repair can also support small businesses that provide repair services, by creating a level playing field with manufacturers who may have previously had a monopoly on repairs.
  • Empowering consumers: By giving consumers the ability to repair their own devices or choose where to have them repaired, the right to repair empowers consumers to make informed choices and take control of their own devices.

Challenges of implementing right to repair in India

  • Lack of Awareness: Consumers lack awareness about their rights to repair and the benefits of repairing their devices leading to a lack of demand for repair services, limiting the growth of the repair industry.
  • Limited Access to Information: Many manufacturers do not provide adequate information to consumers about repair options or how to repair devices, which can make it difficult for consumers to exercise their right to repair.
  • Limited Availability of Spare Parts: The availability of spare parts is often limited in India, particularly for older or less common models of devices makes it difficult for repair technicians to perform repairs or for consumers to find reliable repair services.
  • Opposition from Manufacturers: Some manufacturers may oppose the right to repair, arguing that it could compromise their intellectual property rights or lead to safety concerns making it difficult to pass legislation or regulations to support the right to repair.
  • Lack of Regulation: Currently, there is no comprehensive regulation in India that governs the right to repair which can lead to confusion among consumers and repair technicians about their rights and responsibilities, and may limit the growth of the repair industry.

What more can be done?

  • Government can aim to bring transparency through collaboration and building a consumer-centric ecosystem to increase reparability.
  • Manufacturing companies can take steps to reduce costs and increasing the shelf life of devices, equipment, and home appliances.
  • Empowering consumers through clean energy transitions on World Consumer Rights Day 2023.
  • Restricting manufacturers from imposing barriers that deny consumers the ability to repair consumer products.
  • Streamlining trade between original equipment manufacturers and third-party sellers.
  • Seeking to address the issue of planned obsolescence and the resulting electronic waste in the country.


  • With the rise of electronic waste in India, the right to repair is becoming more crucial than ever. The unified portal has already onboarded leading brands, and the government is taking measures to encourage more companies to join. 
  • The right to repair will not only benefit consumers but also contribute to a circular economy and reduce e-waste.

What is GPT-4 and how is it different from ChatGPT?

In News

  • OpenAI has announced GPT4, the latest version of its large language model that powers key applications like ChatGPT and the new Bing.

What is ChatGPT?

  • ChatGPT is an artificial-intelligence chatbot developed by San Francisco-based AI research company OpenAI in 2022.
  • It is a trained model which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.
  • It can have conversations on topics from history to philosophy, generate lyrics and suggest edits to computer programming code.

Technology Used

  • The technology that underlies ChatGPT is referenced in the second half of its name, GPT, which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. 
  • Transformers are specialized algorithms for finding long-range patterns in sequences of data. 
  • A transformer learns to predict not just the next word in a sentence but also the next sentence in a paragraph and the next paragraph in an essay. This is what allows it to stay on topic for long stretches of text.

Shortcomings of the Previous Models

  • The chatbot isn’t always accurate: Their sources aren’t fact-checked, and they rely on human feedback to improve its accuracy. They can also get facts mixed up and produce misinformation.
  • GPT-3 and ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 were limited to textual input and output, meaning they could only read and write. 
  • GPT-3 and GPT-3.5 only operated in one modality, text, meaning users could only ask questions by typing them out.

What is GPT-4?

  • GPT-4 is a large multimodal model which means it can encompass more than just text and accepts images as inputs.
  • GPT-4 also exhibits human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks.
  • For example, it can answer tax-related questions, schedule a meeting among three busy people, or learn a user’s creative writing style.
  • GPT-4 is also capable of handling over 25,000 words of text, opening up a greater number of use cases that now also include long-form content creation, document search and analysis, and extended conversations.

How is GPT-4 different from GPT-3?

  • GPT-4 can see images now: GPT-4 can be fed images and asked to output information accordingly whereas GPT-3 and ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 were limited to textual input and output.
  • GPT-4 can process a lot more information at a time.
  • GPT-4 has an improved accuracy: GPT-4 significantly reduces hallucinations relative to previous models and scores 40 per cent higher than GPT-3.5 on factuality evaluations. 
  • Hard to trick: It will be a lot harder to trick GPT-4 into producing undesirable outputs such as hate speech and misinformation.
  • Better at understanding languages other than English: GPT-4 is more multilingual which means that users will be able to use chatbots based on GPT-4 to produce outputs with greater clarity and higher accuracy in their native languages.

Foreign lawyers, firms can operate in India: Bar Council

In Context

  • Recently, the Bar Council of India permitted foreign lawyers and law firms to practice in India.
  • The Bar Council of India had notified the Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India, 2022.

About the Rules

  • A foreign lawyer registered under rules shall be entitled to practice law in India in non-litigious matters only.
  • The foreign lawyers and law firms  need to register with BCI to practice in India if they are entitled to practice law in their home countries.
    • But, they have not been permitted to appear before any courts, tribunals or other statutory or regulatory authorities.
  • Section 29 of the Advocates Act, states that only advocates enrolled with BCI can practise law.
  • They are allowed to practice transactional work /corporate work such as joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, drafting of contracts and other related matters on a reciprocal basis.


  • These rules will help to address the concerns expressed about the flow of Foreign Direct Investment in the country and making India a hub of International Commercial Arbitration.
  • Many countries have already allowed foreign lawyers to practice foreign law and diverse international legal issues and arbitration matters in their countries in restricted fields with specific and prescribed conditions.
Bar Council of India (BCI)About: The BCI is a statutory body established under the section 4 of Advocates Act 1961 that regulates the legal practice and legal education in India.Its members are elected from amongst the lawyers in India and as such represents the Indian bar.Functions:It prescribes standards of professional conduct.It also sets standards for legal educationgrants recognition to universities for degree in law Safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocatesPromote and support law reformDeal with and dispose of any matter which may be referred by a State Bar CouncilOrganise and provide legal aid to the poor.Recognise foreign qualifications in law obtained outside India for admission as an advocate.Structure:It consists of members elected from each state bar council, and the Attorney General of India and the Solicitor General of India who are ex officio members.The council elects its own chairman and vice-chairman for a period of two years from among its members.

Eurasian Otter

In News

  • Recently, scientists from Jammu obtained a photographic record of the semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal in a tributary of the Chenab river.


  • Otters are mammals of the family Mustelidae consisting of 13 species. They are found in every continent except Australia and Antarctica. 
  • The Eurasian otter covers the largest range of any Palearctic mammal.
  • The species is persecuted as a pest in countries such as India, China and Nepal, and its populations have declined due to hunting for food and pelt, habitat loss, pollution and climate change,
  • Eurasian otter is classified as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List.It  is regarded as a flagship species and indicator of high-quality aquatic habitats.
PalearcticIt is a zoogeographical region comprising Eurasia north of the Himalayas, together with North Africa and the temperate part of the Arabian peninsula.


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