SC ruling on Agnipath scheme

In News

  • The Supreme Court recently dismissed petitions challenging the Delhi High Court judgment which upheld the Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the armed forces.

More about the news

  • The petition:
    • The Delhi High Court judgment recently upheld the Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the armed forces.
    • The petitioners were challenging this judgment.
  • Issue:
    • Some of the petitioners included candidates who were shortlisted in the earlier recruitment process to Army and Air Force.
    • Their names appeared in a provisional list for recruitment to Air Force but the recruitment process was cancelled when Agnipath scheme was notified.
      • There was a written exam, physical test, medical exam conducted under the old recruitment process after which a provisional selection list was published with the ranks.
      • These candidates had got jobs in BSF and other paramilitary organisations, but had refused as they were told that Air Force recruitment letters will be issued.
    • So the petitioners argued that the government must be directed to complete the old process citing the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

Doctrine of promissory estoppel

  • What is the doctrine?
    • Promissory estoppel is a concept developed in contractual laws.
    • A valid contract under law requires an agreement to be made with sufficient consideration
  • Significance:
    • A claim of doctrine of promissory estoppel essentially prevents a “promisor” from backing out of an agreement on the grounds that there is no “consideration.”
  • How?
    • The doctrine is invoked in court by a plaintiff (the party moving court in a civil action) against the defendant to ensure execution of a contract or seek compensation for failure to perform the contract.
    • Checklist for application: 
      • In a 1981 decision in Chhaganlal Keshavlal Mehta v. Patel Narandas Haribhai, the SC lists out a checklist for when the doctrine can be applied.
        • First, there must be a clear and unambiguous promise. 
        • Second, the plaintiff must have acted relying reasonably on that promise. 
        • Third, the plaintiff must have suffered a loss.

SC’s decision on the issue

  • The judges have refused this argument pointing out that “promissory estoppel is always subject to overarching public interest”.
  • They also added that “this is not a contract matter where promissory estoppel in public law was applied, it is a public employment”.
About the Agnipath Recruitment SchemeAbout: Around 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited annually, and most will leave the service in just four years. Of the total annual recruits, only 25 percent will be allowed to continue for another 15 years under permanent commission.Recruits under the scheme will be known as “Agniveers”. Features:Enrolment in all three services: Centralised online system to conduct rallies & campus interviews at recognised technical institutes such as the Industrial Training Institutes, and the National Skills Qualifications Framework.Eligibility criteria: It is only for personnel below officer ranks. On an ‘All India All Class’ basis with the eligibility age ranging from 17.5 to 21 years, with medical and physical fitness standards.Educational qualification: Class X-XIIRecruitment will be done twice a year.Pay and Perks: Annual package of 4.76 lakh in the first year to 6.92 lakh in the fourth year along with hardship allowance.Under the “Seva Nidhi” package (which is exempt from Income Tax), they will receive about 11.71 lakh, including contribution and interest, on completion of service. The recruits will have to contribute 30% of their monthly emoluments to Seva Nidhi, with a matching contribution made by the government. There will be no entitlement to gratuity and pensionary benefits under the scheme. Concerns:No Pilot Project to Test the Scheme; Lead to the militarization of the society. May Dilute professionalismmilitary ethos and fighting spirit (takes 7-8 yrs to become fully ready combat soldier)Will hit the basic ethos of Naam, Namak & Nishan (reputation of Battalion, fidelity & ensign)Tourist soldiering is not a good idea for India’s security challenges.Rationale of the scheme:Enhancing the youthful profile of the Armed Forces:The Centre has defended the Agnipath scheme, saying that its biggest aim was to enhance the youthful profile of the Armed Forces and reduce the average age of soldiers from 32 years to 26 years over a period of time.‘Leader to led’ ratio:With the introduction of the scheme, the ‘leader to led’ ratio will become 1:1 from the current ratio of 1:1.28, the Centre has said.Well thought & studied decision:The government also told the court that the impugned scheme is the result of various studies and deliberations such as the Kargil Review Committee, which proposed the retention of soldiers for a shorter duration of time as opposed to the existing structure of 15 to 20 years. The military intake and retention models of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and France were considered by experts to analyse the efficiency and organisational benefits of short-term military service. Affordability of education:The government believes that this scheme can help the youth in the country who are not able to afford an education.Career choices post Agniveer:The central government has also rolled out a list of career choices for the 75% of Agniveers who will be demobilized after four years of service.Those who wish to work will be given priority in CAPFs, police, Assam rifles and police and allied forces in several states.Furthermore, it will also help the Agniveers to kickstart their second career with necessary bank loans – which will be given on a priority basis.

Source: TH

Miniratna Status

In News

  • Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) has been accorded the status of Miniratna Category-I Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) 
About SECI It was incorporated in the year 2011.It is the primary implementing agency of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for Renewable Energy schemes/projects towards fulfillment of India’s international commitments. It enjoys the highest credit rating of AAA by ICRA.It  has played a Central role in the rapid increase of RE generation capacity in the country and has contributed towards the nation’s climate commitments, carbon emission reduction strategies and sustainable energy transition.

Criteria for grant of Miniratna status to CPSEs

  • The miniratna scheme was initiated in the year 1997. 
  •  Miniratna Category-I status: – The CPSEs which have made a profit in the last three years continuously, pre-tax profit is Rs.30 crores or more in at least one of the three years and have a positive net worth are eligible to be considered for grant of Miniratna-I status.
  • Miniratna Category-II status: – The CPSEs which have made profit for the last three years continuously and have a positive net worth are eligible to be considered for grant of Miniratna-II status.
    • Miniratna CPSEs should have not defaulted in the repayment of loans/interest payment on any loans due to the Government.
    • Miniratna CPSEs shall not depend upon budgetary support or Government guarantees.


  • The Government of India has provided more autonomy and delegation of financial powers to the mini Ratna enterprises to make them efficient and competitive
Additional Information Criteria for grant of Maharatna status to CPSEsHaving Navratna statusListed on Indian stock exchange with minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulationsAn average annual turnover of more than Rs. 25,000 crore during the last 3 yearsAn average annual net worth of more than Rs. 15,000 crore during the last 3 yearsAn average annual net profit after tax of more than Rs. 5,000 crores during the last 3 yearsShould have significant global presence/international operations.Criteria for grant of Navratna status to CPSEsThe CPSEs which are Miniratna I, Schedule ‘A’ and have obtained ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ MOU ratings in three of the last five years and have composite scores of 60 or above in the following six selected performance indicators are eligible to be considered for grant of Navratna status.

3D Printing Technology

In News 

  • The PM appreciated the use of 3D printing technology in the construction of the post office.

About 3D printing technology

  • Three-dimensional (3D) printing is an additive manufacturing process in which a physical object is created from a digital design by printing thin layers of material and then fusing them together.
  • 3D printing technology is a fast-emerging technology. 


  • 3D Printing is widely used in the world. It is increasingly used for the mass customization, and production of any type of open-source designs in the field of agriculture, in healthcare, the automotive industry, the locomotive industry, and aviation industries. 
  • It can print an object layer-by-layer deposition of material directly from a computer-aided design (CAD) model. 
  • It is available for various segments, such as affordable housing up to G+3 floor, military barracks, single-floor schools, warehousing, accommodation, and villas.

Advantages derived from using 3D printing technology

  • Ease of Access:3D printers are becoming more and more accessible with more local service providers offering outsourcing services for manufacturing work
  • Advanced Healthcare: It is being used in the medical sector to help save lives by printing organs for the human body such as livers, kidneys, and hearts. Further advances and uses are being developed in the healthcare sector providing some of the biggest advances in using the technology.
  • Environmentally Friendly: As this technology reduces the amount of material wastage used this process is inherently environmentally friendly. 
  • Cost Effective:  Customise desired products in a short time and therefore costs associated with using different machines for the manufacture
  • Rapid Prototyping: It can manufacture parts within hours, which speeds up the prototyping process.
  • Fast Design and Production
  • Strong and Lightweight Parts
  • Create complex objects and shapes that otherwise might be impossible to create through any conventional method.


  • Design Inaccuracies:  A potential problem with 3D printing is directly related to the type of machine or process used, with some printers having lower tolerances, meaning that final parts may differ from the original design. 
  • Copyright Issues:  As 3D printing is becoming more popular and accessible there is a greater possibility for people to create fake and counterfeit products and it will almost be impossible to tell the difference.
    • This has evident issues around copyright as well as for quality control.
  • Reduction in Manufacturing Jobs: Another of the disadvantages of 3D technology is the potential reduction in human labour, since most of the production is automated and done by printers.
    • However, many third world countries rely on low skill jobs to keep their economies running, and this technology could put these manufacturing jobs at risk by cutting out the need for production abroad.
  • Restricted Build Size:  3D printers currently have small print chambers which restrict the size of parts that can be printed. Anything bigger will need to be printed in separate parts and joined together after production. This can increase costs and time for larger parts due to the printer needing to print more parts before manual labour is used to join the parts together.
  • Limited Materials:  3D Printing can create items in a selection of plastics and metals the available selection of raw materials is not exhaustive
India’s Progress and Steps India has an excellent opportunity as the world begins to adopt the techniques.It can help India become a leading manufacturing hub. To achieve this, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) formulated the ‘National Strategy on Additive Manufacturing’. The Strategy aspires to achieve 5% of Global AM market share and thereto add nearly US$ 1Bn to the GDP by 2025. This will create eco-system for creation of nearly 100 new Start-ups, 10 AM sectors and 1 lakh new skilled manpower, besides, development of 500 AM products and 50 Indian AM technologies on material, machine, process and software. In addition, awareness for adoption of AM products to facilitate this growth will be created.

Way Ahead 

  • 3D Printing has immense potential to revolutionize  India’s  manufacturing and industrial production landscape through digital processes,  communication,  imaging,  architecture, and engineering. 
  • Therefore ,It has been suggested that to get ahead in the additive manufacturing or 3D printing space, India must adopt it in all sectors, including in defence and public sectors.
  •  An apex body that has subject matter experts and leaders from local and global industries could be established to lead the mission

Teja Singh Suntantar

In News

  • Punjab CM unveiled a statue of Teja Singh Sutantar, former MP and revolutionary leader  at Nihalgarh village in Sangrur district.
    • Nearly 784 villages had taken part in the PEPSU Muzara movement, led by Teja Singh. Nihalgarh was one of these villages.

About Teja singh Sutantar

  • Early life:
    • Born as Sumand Singh in Aluana village of Gurdaspur. (16 July 1901 − 12 April 1973).
    • He became Teja Singh when he liberated Veela Teja gurdwara from the clutches of the British-backed Mahants..
    • Sutantar was added to his name when he led ‘Sutantar jatha’, which was at the forefront of gurdwara liberation.
  • Contributions:
    • In early 1923 , Teja Singh went to Kabul as a Sikh missionary. There he came in contact with a few leaders of the Ghadar Party.
      • The Ghadar Movement was an early 20th century international political movement founded by expatriate Indians to overthrow British rule in India.
    • In 1925, he joined the Turkish military academy under the pseudonym Azad Beg.
    • He would eventually be granted Turkish citizenship and be commissioned into the Turkish army.
    • He saved the life of Dr Saifuddin Kitchlew, the hero of Jallianwala Bagh, Kitchlew always referred to Sutantar as a ‘khuda’ who saved his life,”.
    • He contributed revolutionary articles to the party journal, the Kirti, frequently writing about issues that plagued peasants.
    • He edited Lal Jhanda, a monthly magazine in Urdu, Lal Savera, a Punjabi weekly and contributed to various newspapers.
    •  Saved hundreds of Muslims from communal riots during the Partition.
    • He joined the Akali Dal to participate in the movement of liberating gurdwaras from degenerate mahants.formed his own squad called ‘sutantar jatha’ .
    • Post-independence, Teja Singh, who was a prominent leader of the Kisan Sabha, led a number of peasant agitations against the government and landlords.
    • He  formed his Lal (Red) Party with the Kirti group of the Punjab Communist Party as its nucleus
    • He  was a revolutionary leader who led the PEPSU Muzara movement,


  • Back ground:
    • In the 1870, the Maharaja of Patiala implemented the Biswedari system also known as landlord system.
    • Under this system, the Biswedaris were appointed as  the local authorities of villages.
    • They were mostly government officials and were closely related to Maharaja and gradually took possession of the lands.
    • The original owners of the land were reduced to mere status of muzaras or tenants.
    • The muzaras were forced to pay batai and surrender half of the crops to their landlords.
  • Movement:
    • The PEPSU Muzara movement  started in the 1930s and went on till 1952  against the Biswedari system.
    • By landless peasants (muzaras) in PEPSU (Patiala and East Punjab States Union  to obtain ownership rights of the land they had been tilling for generations.
    • For their hereditary property right and democratic right from the British, The native aristocracy .
    • The farmers would finally receive land rights in 1952.

Central Bureau of Narcotics

In News

  • The Revenue secretary launched the unified portal of the Central Bureau of Narcotics.

Features of the portal

  • Cloud-based storage, simplified process, and database integration with other government services, including Bharat Kosh, GST, PAN- NSDL validation, e-Sanchit, and UIDAI.


  • It will instill efficiency, transparency and accountability to reduce the time taken by the pharma industry to get a trade license.
  • To cater the need and synergistic growth of the drugs & pharma sector.
  • Ensure availability of the “essential narcotic drugs” and medicines to the patients & their attendants.

Central Bureau of Narcotics

  • About: 
    • Central Bureau of Narcotics is a subordinate office under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance.
    • HQ: Gwalior
    • It works under the ambit of various United Nations Conventions and the provisions of NDPS Act, 1985.
      • India is a signatory to the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 and  UN Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988 which obligates member countries to monitor the implementation of the United Nations drug control conventions.
  • Functions: 
    • Supervision over licit cultivation of opium poppy in India .
    • Preventive and enforcement functions.
    • Investigation of cases under the NDPS Act 1985
    • Issuance of Export Authorizations/ Import Certificate for export.
    • Issuance of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for import/export of  Precursor Chemicals.
  • Composition:
    • Headed by the Narcotics Commissioner (NC) & assisted by three Deputy Narcotics Commissioners (DNCs).
    • Other officers

Quality Control orders for Technical Textiles

In News

  • The Ministry of Textiles announced the launch of 02 Quality Control Orders (QCOs) for 31 items consisting of 19 Geo Textiles and 12 Protective Textiles in the Phase-I.
    • QCO was the first technical regulation in the country for technical textile products. 
    • In the second phase, the Ministry plans to issue two more QCOs for 28 items that will cover 22 agro textile products and six medical textile items.

Quality Control Orders (QCOs)

  • For ensuring the availability of quality products to consumersQuality Control Orders (QCOs) are issued by various Ministries/Departments of the Government of India in the exercise of the powers conferred by section 16 of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016 stipulating conformity of the products to Indian Standards.
  • The main aim of the QCO is to control the import of sub-quality and cheaper items and to ensure that customers get quality products.
  • QCOs can only be challenged at WTO if they are imposed on grounds of health, safety, environment and deceptive trade practice, or national security.
  • BIS certifies it for International and domestic products.

Benefits of QCOs

  • To increase the standard and quality of geotextiles and protective Textiles.
  • For the protection of the environment, human health, and animal & plant life and health.
  • To encourage the growth of this industry in India. 
  • To provide best value to the users and end consumers, thereby fostering Indian product quality that is comparable to global standards.

Technical Textiles

  • Technical textiles are defined as textile materials and products used primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than their aesthetic or decorative characteristics.
  • Other terms used for defining technical textiles include industrial textiles, functional textiles, performance textiles,engineering textiles, invisible textiles and hi-tech textiles. Technical textiles are used individually or as a component/part of another product.Technical textiles are used individually to satisfy specific functions such as fire retardant fabric for uniforms of firemen and coated fabric to be used as awnings.

Protective Textile

  • Protective Textiles are also known as ProTech, is a kind of technical textile. These textile materials are used to make protective clothing.
  • It includes curtains and drapes, upholstered composites used for non-domestic furniture, bullet resistant jackets, and protective clothing for firefighters.  
  • It is used to protect human life from hazardous and adverse working conditions.

Source: TH

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

In News

  • Currently, engineers are warming up the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) for its third season of operations.

Large Hadron Collider (LHC)

  • The LHC is the world’s largest science experiment that smashes tiny particles called hadrons together at really high speeds. It uses protons as the particles and has a long circular pipe where they’re accelerated.
  • It is built by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).
  • LHC’s goal is to test the Standard Model, the mathematical framework physicists use to describe all of the known fundamental particles in the universe and the forces through which they interact.
  • LHC studies the smallest known building blocks of matter. It fires two beams of protons almost at the speed of light in opposite directions, guided by the magnetic field of superconducting electromagnets.
  • ATLAS is the largest general purpose particle detector experiment at the LHC; the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment is one of the largest international scientific collaborations in history, with the same goals as ATLAS, but which uses a different magnet-system design.

‘God Particle’ & Previous discoveries

  • Ten years ago, on July 4, 2012, scientists at CERN had announced to the world the discovery of the Higgs boson or the ‘God Particle’ during the LHC’s first run.
    • Higgs boson is the fundamental force-carrying particle of the Higgs field, which is responsible for granting other particles their mass.
    • Peter Higgs and his collaborator François Englert were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 2013 for the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
  • Observed exotic particles like pentaquarks and tetraquarks and checked if their properties are in line with theoretical expectations
    • Quarks are elementary particles that usually combine in groups of twos and threes to form hadrons such as the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei.

About CERN

  • European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the world’s largest nuclear and particle physics laboratory.
  • CERN is based in Geneva on the French-Swiss border. It has 23 member states.
  • India in 2016 became an associate member of the CERN. Indian scientists have played a significant role in the ALICE experiment, which is a dedicated experiment for search and study of Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP).


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