Current Affairs 18 November

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18 November

Mullaperiyar Dam
China Plus One Strategy
Collegium System
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund
Environment – Data
Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX)  
GS 1
Art and Culture

Example for Art and Culture

A poet and a tambura-Noted folk singer Prahlad Singh Tipanya, who performs at festivals across the country, explains why he spreads the message of poet Kabir Das

Indian Geography

Mullaperiyar Dam

Context-Mullaperiyar level up, flood warning issued for Kerala

Although the dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by Tamil Nadu following an 1886 lease indenture for 999 years (the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement) that was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India for the Periyar Irrigation works.

Constructed between 1887 and 1895, the dam redirected the river to flow towards the Bay of Bengal, instead of the Arabian Sea and provide water to the arid rain region of Madurai in Madras Presidency.

The dam is located on the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers inKerala’s Idukki district.

Issues Surrounding Mullaperiyar dam-

The lease agreement was renewed in the 1970s by both Tamil Nadu and Kerala giving the former rights to the land and water from the dam, besides the authority to develop hydropower projects at the site. In return, Kerala would receive rent from Tamil Nadu.

  • The first cracks in this agreement surfaced in 1979 when a minor earthquake had resulted in cracks in the dam.
  • The Central Water Commission, under the Government of India, conducted a study and recommended lowering the water stored in the dam’s reservoir to 136 feet from 142 feet.
  • If definitive measures were implemented, only then could the Tamil Nadu administration raise water levels to the dam’s full capacity of 152 feet.

What Tamil Nadu says?

Tamil Nadu claims that although it has undertaken measures to strengthen the dam, the Kerala government has blocked any attempt to raise the reservoir water level – resulting in losses for Madurai farmers.

Kerala’s arguments:

Kerala, however, highlights fears of devastation by residents living downstream in the earthquake-prone district of Idukki.

Scientists have argued that if there is an earthquake in the region measuring above six on the Richter scale, the lives of over three million people will come under grave danger.

Supreme Court verdict:

  1. In 2006, the Supreme court gave Tamil Nadu legal sanction to raise the water level to 142 feet.
  2. In response, Kerala amended the 2003 Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act, restricting the water level to 136 feet.
  3. In 2012, however, an Apex court-appointed committee stated that the dam was “structurally and hydrologically safe” and that the Tamil Nadu government could raise water levels up to 142 feet.
  4. In 2014the court event struck down the amendment to the 2003 Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act, calling it unconstitutional.
  5. The Supreme Court had also directed the Centre and the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to set up three panels to prepare a contingency plan in case of a disaster.
GS 2
Union and States


Context-Bengal BJP misses a ‘welcoming’ Governor

Governor is the Constitutional head of the state. The Executive power of the State is vested in Governor

Article 153 to Article 167 of Part VI (State) deal with the State Executive of which Governor is the titular head and the Chief Minister who heads the Council of Ministers is the real head.

The Governor also acts as an agent of the central government. Therefore, the office of governor has a dual role.

There is no post of deputy or vice Governor like that of Vice-President at the Centre.

The Governor is neither directly elected by the people nor indirectly elected by a specially constituted electoral college as is the case with the President.

He is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal. He is a nominee of the Central government.

Supreme Court in 1979 held that the office of Governor of a state is not an employment under the Central government. It is an independent constitutional office and is not under the control of or subordinate to the Central government.

The Draft Constitution provided for the direct election of the Governor on the basis of universal adult suffrage. However, Constituent Assembly opted for the present system of appointment of Governor by the President.

Indian Judiciary

Collegium System

Context-SC agrees to list plea for Collegium system review

What is the Collegium System?

The Collegium System is a system under which appointments/elevation of judges/lawyers to Supreme Court and transfers of judges of High Courts and Apex Court are decided by a forum of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.’ There is no mention of the Collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments.

The recommendations of the Collegium are binding on the Central Government; if the Collegium sends the names of the judges/lawyers to the government for the second time.

How Collegium System Works?

The Collegium sends the recommendations of the names of lawyers or judges to the Central Government. Similarly, the Central Government also sends some of its proposed names to the Collegium. The Central Government does the fact checking and investigate the names and resends the file to the Collegium.

Collegium considers the names or suggestions made by the Central Government and resends the file to the government for final approval. If the Collegium resends the same name again then the government has to give its assent to the names. But time limit is not fixed to reply. This is the reason that appointment of judges takes a long time.

Government Schemes

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

Context-Weighing in on PMGKAY, the free grains scheme

What is PMGKAY?

PMGKAY is a food security welfare scheme announced by the GoI in March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in India.

The program is operated by the Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

The scale of this welfare scheme makes it the largest food security program in the world.

Targets of the scheme

  1. To feed the poorest citizens of India by providing grain through the Public Distribution System to all the priority households (ration card holders and those identified by the Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme).
  2. PMGKAY provides 5 kg of rice or wheat (according to regional dietary preferences) per person/month and 1 kg of dal to each family holding a ration card.

At what rate are food grains provided under the NFSA?

  1. NFSA beneficiaries are entitled to receive foodgrains at highly subsidised rates.
  2. Under the food law, rice is provided at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg, and coarse grains at Re 1 per kg.

Why was such a scheme needed?

  1. The devastation by pandemic has increased manifold in the second wave resulting into localized restrictions and lockdowns from the States.
  2. This resulted in massive jobs losses in urban areas since the largest employers being construction and hospitality sectors have been completely shut down.
  3. The virus penetrated deeper in the countryside in rural areas halting almost every sources of livelihood.
  4. These areas are such where 60% of the income was earned from non-pharm activities. This resulted in livelihood losses of large section of population.

Success of the scheme

  1. It was the first step by the government when pandemic affected India.
  2. The scheme reached its targeted population feeding almost 80Cr people.
  3. It has proven to be more of a safety net to migrant people who had job and livelihood losses.
  4. This has also ensured nutrition security to children of the migrant workers.


  1. The scheme has been affected by widespread corruption, leakages and failure to distribute grain to the intended recipients.
  2. Several of the states above have claimed that the ineffective distribution has been caused by the beneficiaries, especially migrant workers, not being available to receive their rations.
  3. Out of the 79.25 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), only 55 crore have so far received their 5 kg.
  4. However, almost 90% of beneficiaries have received their regular subsidized grain for the month, raising questions over why the free grain has reached fewer beneficiaries.
  5. Many people were denied their share due to inability to access ration cards.
  6. Livelihood losses led to decline in aggregate demand and resulted into lowest ever consumption expenditure by the people owing to scarcity of cash.
  7. This in turn led to selling of the free grains obtained in the local markets for cash.

Way forward

  1. There should be an all-encompassing database for migrant workers and their family. This should accurately capture the data on migration.
  2. The One Nation One Ration Card should be implemented in true spirit by all the states.
  3. Along with food security, there should be a sustainable income support through schemes like MGNREGS accompanied by free vaccines in nearest future.
  4. The leakages in PDS should be minimized through modernize PDS.
  5. To avoid leakages, there should be food-token system.
International Relations

China Plus One Strategy

China Plus One, also known simply as Plus One, is the business strategy to avoid investing only in China and diversify business into other countries.

GS 3
Infrastructure Sector

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund

Context-FM asks NIIF to guide private capital into infrastructure

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country.

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has already approved NIIF as an alternate investment fund.

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) Limited has been incorporated as a company under the Companies Act, 2013, duly authorized to act as investment manager of National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

The government will invest Rs 20,000 crore into the NIIF from the Budget, with another Rs 20,000 crore expected to come from private investors.

The government’s share of the NIIF’s corpus is envisaged to be under 50%.

Will NIIF invest in stalled projects? Answer: Yes

Will NIIF invest in brownfield projects? Answer: Yes, both greenfield and brownfield, if it’s commercially viable.

NIIF: Objectives

  • Maximize economic impact of each Rupee spent.
  • Mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both Greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects.
  • It could also consider other nationally important projects, for example, in manufacturing, if commercially viable.

Functions of NIIF

  • Fund raising through suitable instruments including off-shore credit enhanced bonds, and attracting anchor investors to participate as partners in NIIF;
  • Servicing of the investors of NIIF.
  • Considering and approving candidate companies/institutions/ projects (including state entities) for investments and periodic monitoring of investments.
  • Investing in the corpus created by Asset Management Companies (AMCs) for investing in private equity.
  • Preparing a shelf of infrastructure projects and providing advisory services.
Environment – Data

India recorded extreme weather events on 241 of the 273 days from January 1 to September 30, 2022, according to the Centre for Science and Environment‘s latest report which captures climate change in India. So, 88% of the days in the first nine months had an extreme weather event in one or more States of India.

Science and Technology

Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis (CTX)

Context-Precision medicine successful in treating rare genetic disease

The CTX is a lipid storage disease characterised by infantile ­onset of diarrhoea, childhood­ onset of cataract, and adolescent ­to adult onset of progressive neurologic dysfunctions.

Apparently, there are only four such cases in the country, all diagnosed in adulthood after the onset of serious neurological conditions with morbidity and mortality. 

While there is no cure for CTX, its progression can be slowed or stopped if detected early by genetic testing, leading to administration of ‘precision medicine’.

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