In Context

  • The Lokpal of India, recently submitted to a parliamentary panel that “it has not prosecuted even a single person accused of graft till date.”

More about the news

  • About:
    • The Lokpal of India,  the country’s first anti-corruption body instituted four years ago to investigate complaints against public functionaries
      • Though the Act was passed in 2013, the country’s first Lokpal, was appointed on March 19, 2019 along with eight other members.
  • Data by the Lokpal office:
    • According to data provided by the Lokpal office to a parliamentary panel on the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), since 2019-20, the anti-corruption body received 8,703 complaints.
      • Out of them, 5,981 complaints were disposed of.
    • Data highlights:
      • As many as 6,775 complaints were rejected for not being in the correct format
      • The office informed that only three complaints were fully investigated, and 36 complaints were at a preliminary stage
      • In 2022-23, as many as 2,760 complaints were received, out of which only 242 were in the prescribed format.
  • Order on formatting issue:
    • Recently, the Lokpal of India issued an order that henceforth, complaints received by the office of the Lokpal of India that were not in the prescribed form would not be entertained at any level.
  • The Committee report: 
    • The Committee infers from the data provided by Lokpal that a large number of complaints are being disposed of on the ground that the complaint is not in the prescribed format. 
    • Lokpal has submitted to the Committee that it has not prosecuted even a single person accused of graft till date.
  • Committee recommendation:
    • The Committee recommends Lokpal not to reject genuine complaints merely on the technical ground that the complaint is not in the prescribed format. 

More about Lokpal & lokayuktas

  • Meaning:
    • The word “Lokpal” is derived from the Sanskrit word “loka” meaning people and “pala” meaning protector or caretaker. Together it means “protector of people”. 
  • Historical Background:
    • The institution of ombudsman originated in Scandinavian countries. 
    • It first came into being in Sweden in 1713 when a “chancellor of justice” was appointed by the king to act as an invigilator to look into the functioning of a wartime government. 
    • The institution of the ombudsman developed and grew most significantly in the 20th century. 
    • Ombudsman institutions were on the increase especially in the period after the Second World War when almost a hundred of them were established. 
  • Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013:
    • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States.
    • The Act states that not less than 50% of the members of the Lokpal should be from among persons belonging to the SCs, the STs, OBCs, minorities and women.
    • The same rules apply to members of the search committee. 
    • Salaries, allowances and service conditions of the Lokpal chairperson will be the same as those for the Chief Justice of India; those for other members will be the same as those for a judge of the Supreme Court.
    • These institutions are statutory bodies without any constitutional status. 
  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2016:
    • The Bill amends the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 in relation to the declaration of assets and liabilities by public servants. 
    • It requires a public servant to declare his assets and liabilities, and that of his spouse and dependent children. 
    • Such declarations must be made to the competent authority within 30 days of entering the office.

Need for Lokpal

  • Lack of Independence: 
    • Most of our agencies like CBI, state vigilance departments, internal vigilance wings of various departments, Anti-corruption Branch of state police etc are not independent. In many cases, they have to report to the same people who are either themselves accused or are likely to be influenced by the accused.
  • Powerless: 
    • Some bodies like CVC or Lokayuktas are independent, but they do not have any powers. They have been made advisory bodies. They give two kinds of advice to the governments: to either impose departmental penalties on any officer or to prosecute him in court. Experience shows that whenever any minister or a senior officer is involved, their advice is rarely followed.
  • Lack of Transparency and internal accountability: 
    • In addition, there is the problem of internal transparency and accountability of these anti-corruption agencies. Presently, there isn’t any separate and effective mechanism to check if the staff of these anti-corruption agencies turns corrupt. That is why, despite so many agencies, corrupt people rarely go to jail. Corruption has become a high profit zero risk business. There is absolutely no deterrence against corruption.


  • Political Influence: 
    • The appointing committee of Lokpal consists of members from political parties that put Lokpal under political influence.
  • No criteria to decide eminent Jurist: 
    • There are no criteria to decide who is an ‘eminent jurist’ or ‘a person of integrity’ which manipulates the method of the appointment of Lokpal. 
  • No proper immunity to Whistle Blowers: 
    • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 failed to provide any kind of concrete immunity to the whistleblowers. 
  • Judiciary excluded: 
    • One of the biggest lacunae is the exclusion of the judiciary from the ambit of the Lokpal.
  • No constitutional backing: 
    • The Lokpal does not have any constitutional backing. 
  • No provisions of appeal: 
    • There are no adequate provisions for appeal against the actions of Lokpal. 

Way ahead

  • At this juncture when India is heading the G20 Anti Corruption Working group, Lokpal should rise to the occasion and make every effort to strengthen the anti corruption landscape in the country.

India Justice Report 2022

In News

  • According to the India Justice Report (IJR) 2022, the State of Karnataka emerged at the top among the 18 large and mid-sized States with populations of over one crore.


  • The India Justice Report (IJR) was initiated by Tata Trusts in 2019, and this is the third edition. The foundation’s partners include the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS-Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and How India Lives, IJR’s data partner.
  • This report is based on overall data of 4 pillars of justice delivery namely Police, Judiciary, Prisons, and Legal Aid.
  • This third IJR also separately assesses the capacity of the 25 State Human Rights Commissions in the country.
  • The 3rd edition also assesses the capacity of the 25 State Human Rights Commissions in the country separately.

Key Highlights

  • Out of the 18 large and medium-sized states having a population of over 1 crore each, Karnataka ranked first in “justice delivery” followed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh, respectively. 
  • Meanwhile, the State of UP is at the lowest rank (18th) among mid-sized and large States having population over 1 crore, while the State of Goa is at the lowest rank (7th) among the small States with a population less than 1 crore.
  • Although states have increased budget allocation for legal aid, legal aid clinics reduced by 44 per cent between 2019 to 2021.
  • Except for two union territories, Delhi and Chandigarh, no state spends more than 1 per cent of its total annual expenditure on the judiciary.
  • Most states have not fully utilised the funds given to them by the Centre and “their own increase in spending on the police, prisons, and judiciary has not kept pace with the overall increase in state expenditure.”
  • Concerning budgets, the report states the national per capita spend on legal aid, including the expenditure of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and the state/UT governments themselves, is a “meagre Rs 4.57 per annum”
  • The report flags the issue of “vacancy” in areas like the police, prison staff, judiciary, and legal aid. 


U.N. Water Conference 2023

In News

  • Recently, the United Nations 2023 Water Conference was held in New York.


  • The Conference was held after a gap of 46 years. It coincided with the  review of Implementation of the UN Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028).
  • The review was necessitated after realisation that   we are not on track to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) no. 6 for water: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.
  • The theme was “Our watershed moment: uniting the world for water”
  • The first water conference was held in 1977 in Mar de Plata, Argentina. It resulted in the first global ‘Action Plan’ recognizing that “all peoples have the right to have access to drinking water in quantities and of a quality equal to their basic needs”.

Initiatives taken at the Conference: 

  • Water Action Agenda : 700 voluntary commitments to form the Water Action Agenda.
  • Climate resilient water and sanitation infrastructure – USA announced a commitment of up to $49 billion in investments to support climate resilient water and sanitation infrastructure and services
  • Quality Infrastructure – Japan announced that it will contribute 500 billion yen to the solution of water-related social issues faced by the Asia-Pacific region by developing quality Infrastructure
  • River basins management and clean running water –Vietnam pledged to develop policies for major river basins management by 2025 and clean running water by 2030
  • Africa’s water investments gap – The African Union Commission and Continental Africa Investment Programme (AIP) aims to close Africa’s water investments gap by mobilising at least $30 billion per year by 2030.
  • European Union (EU) – The EU aims to support 70 million individuals to an improved drinking water source and sanitation facility by 2030.
  • Water Convention and transboundary cooperation – Switzerland submitted 5 commitments in the areas of Water Convention and transboundary cooperation.

Challenges :

  • The commitments are non binding in nature and  unlike 50 years ago, today’s problems are more complex.
  • The water sector is particularly prone to fragmentation because water problems and their solutions tend to be local. Such global mobilisations are not that effective as compared to those in  other fields.
  • The water problems we face today are no longer about access and therefore infrastructure spending no longer translates directly to sustained access to water and sanitation. 
  • The conference failed to address the violence and threats faced by communities trying to protect dwindling water sources.

National Medical Commission

In News

  • Recently, the National Medical Commission has issued  guidelines on professional responsibilities of the medical education fraternity.


  • The guidelines explain the code of conduct for teachers and students while studying/working, relationship between a teacher and student, expectations from the two (personal attributes and conduct) and their collective responsibility to the community. 
  • It reiterates that Sexual orientation, gender and socio-economic class should not be the basis for any discrimination.

National Medical Commission

  • The National Medical Commission Act of 2019 establishes the National Medical Commission (NMC), which is responsible for the creation and regulation of all elements of medical education, practice, and institutions.
  • There are four boards in the National Medical Commission
    • Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB)
    • Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB)
    • Medical Assessment and Rating Board
    • Ethics and Medical Registration Board.
  • National Medical Commission consists of  25 members including
    • The Chairperson, Presidents of Postgraduate Medical Education Boards, and Presidents of Undergraduate Medical Education Boards 
    • Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
    • Director General of Health Services.

Challenges of Medical Education in India

  • Demand-Supply Mismatch: There is a serious demand-supply mismatch as well as inadequate seats in terms of population norms. In private colleges, these seats are priced between Rs 15-30 lakh per year (not including hostel expenses and study material).
  • Lack of skills: Though the institutes are managing to hire professors and lecturers, there is a lack of technical skills. Finding faculties in clinical and non-clinical disciplines is difficult and there are very few faculty development programs for upskilling the existing lot.
  • Lack of research and innovation: The medical research and innovation needs an added push as there haven’t been many ground-breaking research here. The education system needs to focus more on increasing the quality of research. Additionally since industry academia partnership is not available, hence innovation also takes a back-seat.
  • Issues of Skilled Faculty: The government’s initiative to open new medical colleges has run into a serious faculty crunch. Except at the lowest level, where new entrants come, all that the new colleges have done is poach faculty from a current medical college. Academic quality continues to be a serious concern.
  • Backdated syllabus and teaching style: Regular breakthroughs take place in the medical field every day, but the medical studies syllabus in India is not updated accordingly.
  • Lack of Social Accountability: Indian medical students do not receive training which instills in them social accountability as health practitioners.

Govt Initiatives

  • NMC bill: The National Medical Commission Bill, 2019 was passed recently by the parliament. The bill sets up the National Medical Commission (NMC) which will act as an umbrella regulatory body in the medical education system. The NMC will subsume the MCI and will regulate medical education and practice in India. Apart from this, it also provides for reforms in the medical education system.
  • Competency-based medical education : The Medical Council of India (MCI) launched the globally recognized Competency-based medical education (CBME) for MBBS students in 2019. The CBME curriculum seeks to step away from a content-based syllabus and more towards one that is more practical and aligned with the country’s increasing health demands.
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY): 22 new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were developed under this initiative, and MBBS classes have already commenced at 18 of the new AIIMS.

Way Forward

  • The aim of today’s medical education should be able to groom professionals to face medical challenges  of the 21st century. Indian medical education has a long way to go in this regard

India slams OIC

In Context

  • India slammed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for its “communal mindset” and “anti-India” agenda.
    • India’s strong reaction came after the OIC secretariat issued a statement alleging targeting of the Muslim community in several states in India during Ram Navami processions.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

  • About:
    • The Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation is the world’s second-largest multilateral body after the UN.
    • It was established by the First Islamic Summit Conference held in Morocco in September 1969.
    • It was known as the Organisation of Islamic Conference until 2011
  • Objective: 
    • To safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
  • Members:
    • As of now, 57 members, all of them are Islamic countries or Muslim majority members.
    • The Central African Republic, Russia, Thailand, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the unrecognised Turkish Cypriot “state”, have Observer status.

India & OIC

  • India has the world’s second-largest Muslim community, and had been invited to the founding conference at Rabat in 1969, but was humiliatingly rejected at Pakistan’s behest.
  • In 2006, as India turned the economic corner and improved ties with the US, Saudi Arabia invited Delhi to join as an observer
  • However, India refrained from joining citing that it did not want to join an organisation founded on religion. Secondly, there was the risk that improving bilateral relations with individual member states would come under pressure in a grouping, especially on issues such as Kashmir.
  • The OIC is mainly controlled by Saudi Arabia, but Pakistan, as the only Islamic country with nuclear weapons, has had a large say since its inception.

Changing terms

  • After building close ties with powerful members such as UAE and Saudi Arabia, India has been confident of riding over any statement by the grouping. 
  • India has consistently underlined that J&K is an “integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India”, and that the OIC has no locus standi on the issue.
  • In 2019, India made its maiden appearance at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting, as a “guest of honour”.

Significance of OIC for India

  • OIC’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India has become important in recent times.
  • Individually, India has good relations with almost all member nations. Ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

PM SVANidhi Scheme

In News

  • The recent data pertaining to the loans given under PM SVANidhi draws a bleak picture for minority street vendors.

More about the news:

  • Scheme disbursal for minority community:
    • A total of 42.7 lakh loans amounting to ?5,152.37 crore had been disbursed to street vendors under the PM SVANidhi scheme out of which only 3.98 lakh or 9.3% were to hawkers from the minority communities.
    • In 2020-21, 2,10,457 loans were disbursed to minorities while it was 98,973 loans in 2021-22 and 88,609 in 2022-23.  
  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ data:
    • According to the data shared by the Ministry, the State-wise disbursal of loans seemed to be aligned with its population. 
    • Uttar Pradesh disbursed the maximum number of loans at 11,22,397, while Sikkim gave out just one loan.
      • Incidentally, Uttar Pradesh also gave the largest number of loans to hawkers from minority communities at 95,032.

More about the Pradhan Mantri Street Vendors’ Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Yojana

  • About:
    • The PM SVANidhi is a micro-credit scheme which was launched by the government in 2020.
    • The scheme is funded by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • Aim:
    • It was launched with an aim to provide credit for working capital to street vendors who have been affected due to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Scheme highlights:
    • PM SVANidhi facilitates collateral-free loans of ?10,000, with subsequent loans of ?20,000 and ?50,000 with 7% interest subsidy for vendors, and rewards digital transactions. 
    • All street vendors who have been in the business on or before March 24, 2020, are eligible to avail the benefits. 
    • For this scheme launched in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Centre has earmarked a stimulus package of Rs 5,000 crore for nearly 50 lakh vendors.

Street vendors in India

  • Anyone who doesn’t have a permanent shop is considered a street vendor
  • Data:
    • There are an estimated 50-60 lakh street vendors in India, with the largest concentrations in the cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad
    • According to government estimates, street-vending accounts for 14 per cent of the total (non-agricultural) urban informal employment in the country.
  • Challenges faced by Street vendors:
    • Most of them are migrants who typically work for 10–12 hours every day on average.
    • Often, local bodies conduct eviction drives to clear the pavements of encroachers, and confiscate their goods. Fines for recovery are heavy.

Artificial meteor showers could soon be a reality: Report

In News

  • According to a report, Tokyo-based ALE is set to launch the satellite in 2025 and it hopes to give people all over the world “the opportunity to view the world’s first live human-made meteor shower.”


  • The project is called Sky Canvas and it is designed to collect atmospheric data in the mesosphere, which is the third layer of the atmosphere.
    • The Mesosphere is too low to be observed by satellites and too high for weather balloons or aircraft.
    • The mesosphere lies between the thermosphere and the stratosphere
  • ALE hopes to reproduce the effect of natural meteor showers by using metal “shooting star” particles that are around 1 centimetre in size.

Meteor Shower

  • natural meteor shower happens when our planet passes through the trail of debris left by a comet or an asteroid.
  • Meteors are chunks of rocks and ice that are ejected from comets as they orbit the Sun.
  • Around 30 meteor showers that are visible to observers on Earth occur every year and some of them have been observed for centuries.
    • For example, the Perseids meteor shower, which usually happens every year in August, was first observed about 2,000 years ago and was recorded in Chinese annals.

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

In News

  • Recently, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked a made in India  product with contamination of a highly drug-resistant bacteria.
    • These had been allegedly traced to eyedrops under the brand name EzriCare Artificial Tears which has been manufactured by Chennai-based Global Pharma Healthcare.


  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria that can cause disease in plants and animals, including humans.
  • It is a species of considerable medical importance, as it is a multidrug resistant pathogen recognized for its intrinsically advanced antibiotic resistance mechanisms, and its association with  hospital-acquired infections such as ventilator-associated pneumonia and various sepsis syndromes.
  • It is found in soil, water and most human-made environments throughout the world. It thrives not only in normal atmospheres, but also in low-oxygen atmospheres, thus has colonised many natural and artificial environments.


In News

  • Recently  India –Srilanka has participated in an annual bilateral maritime exercise.


  • The 10th edition of India Sri Lanka  annual bilateral maritime Exercise SLINEX-23 is underway  at Colombo .
  • The Indian Navy is represented by INS Kiltan, an indigenous Kamorta class ASW corvette and INS Savitri, an Offshore Patrol Vessel.
  • SLINEX aims at enhancing interoperability, improving mutual understanding and exchanging best practices while jointly undertaking multi-faceted maritime operations.


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