Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 06 April 2023

Parliamentary panel report on Lokpal
GS Paper -2 (Polity)

Around 68% corruption complaints against public functionaries that landed with the Lokpal of India were “disposed of” without any action in the past four years. Only three complaints were fully investigated, according to information provided by the Lokpal’s office to a parliamentary panel.Nearly 90% complaints were not “in the prescribed format”.

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The Lokpal of India, the country’s first anti-corruption body instituted four years ago to investigate complaints against public functionaries, including the Prime Minister, submitted to a parliamentary panel that “it has not prosecuted even a single person accused of graft till date.”

  • 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 which 5,981 complaints were disposed of.
  • 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.

10 years of Lokpal:

  • The Act was passed in 2013, the country’s first Lokpal, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, was appointed on March 19, 2019 along with eight other members.
  • Justice Ghosh moved out of office in May 2022 after attaining 70 years of age and since then, Pradip Kumar Mohanty has been acting as the Chairperson of Lokpal.
  • The Lokpal was allocated a budget of ₹197 crore in 2022-23 and till January 31, it incurred an expenditure of ₹152 crore. For the current fiscal, it has been allotted ₹92 crore.
  • The panel said the Lokpal was set up to strengthen the legal and institutional mechanisms to deal with corruption in public life, “however, the performance of Lokpal seems to be far from satisfactory”.
  • It said that the Lokpal was established in an effort to promote clean and responsive governance and therefore, the Lokpal should act as an enabler rather than an inhibitor.
  • “The Committee recommends Lokpal not to reject genuine complaints merely on the technical ground that the complaint is not in the prescribed format.
  • 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

GS Paper -2 (Important reports)

India Justice Report (IJR) 2022, the State of Karnataka has achieved the top rank among the 18 large and mid-sized States with populations over one crore. This report is based on overall data of 4 pillars of justice delivery namely Police, Judiciary, Prisons, and Legal Aid.

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  • Each pillar was analysed through the prism of budgets, human resources, workload, diversity, infrastructure, and trends against the state’s own declared standards and benchmarks.
  • The State of Tamil Nadu has ranked in second position and Telangana in Third. The State of Uttar Pradesh is at rank 18 which is the lowest.
  • The State of Gujarat has got the fourth position and Andhra Pradesh is at slot five as per the report.
  • The report said, “The list of Seven Small States with a population less than one crore each was topped by Sikkim which was ranked second in 2020. Sikkim has been followed by Arunachal Pradesh which was at rank 5 in 2020 [2020 and Tripura is at rank three].
  • Tripura was at the rank one in 2020. In this list, the State of Goa is at rank seven which is the lowest.”
  • This report is based on 24-month quantitative research. The IJR 2022, like the previous two, has tracked the performance of States in capacitating their Justice Delivery structures to effectively deliver mandated services.
  • This third IJR also separately assesses the capacity of the 25 State Human Rights Commissions in the country.


  • 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, and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and How India Lives, IJR’s data partner.

Upward lightning process

GS Paper -3 (Science)

Brazilian researchers recently succeeded in taking pictures of positive upward discharges of electricity from lightning conductor rods, travelling to connect with the negative discharge from lightning in the clouds. The event, known as “upward lightning” or upward flashes, has been known for long, but the researchers succeeded in photographing it with high-speed video cameras at very high resolution.

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The phenomenon of upward lightning:

  • Upward lightning is a phenomenon whereby a self-initiated lightning streak develops from a tall object that travels upward toward an overlaying electrified storm cloud.
  • This happens due to storm electrification and the resulting presence of a cloud charge region are enabling factors.
  • The vertical elevation of a tall object accentuates the electric field locally on the ground, resulting in conditions favourable for the initiation of an upward streak (called a leader) from a tall object.
  • It can also develop in response to an electric field change created by a nearby preceding lightning flash.

Multiple studies and observations:

  • According to a paper in Nature on the triggering mechanisms of upward lightning, there have been multiple upward lightning studies that were done in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA and Sao Paulo, Brazil during the summer thunderstorm seasons between 2011 and 2016.
  • The key objectives of these studies were to characterise the triggering of upward positive leaders from tall objects due to proceeding nearby flash activity.
  • The paper concluded that the most effective triggering component is “the propagation of the in-cloud negative leader during the continuing current that follows a positive return stroke”.

About the process: Stepped ladder trigger

  • This process is triggered by the development of the stepped leader (essentially a channel of negative charge that travels downward in a zigzag pattern from a cloud, nearly invisible to the human eye) travelling to the ground in a millisecond, leading to an intensification of the positive charge on the ground.
  • As the streaks of the stepped leader keep streaking towards the ground, the electrical charges between the leader tips and the tops of tall objects on the ground keep on increasing.
  • In due course, these forces cause the air above these tall buildings or towers to ionise and thereby turn more conductive.
  • With the negative charge repeatedly moving toward the ground, the channel of air just above the tall objects turns positively charged, which starts streaking upwards and is called an upward streamer.
  • In due course, the negatively-charged, downward-moving stepped leader makes contact with one of the developing positively-charged upwards streamers.
  • According to the US Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), when contact is eventually made, the lightning channel is complete and charges can flow rapidly from the cloud toward the ground, and it takes just a fraction of a second to go from the stepped leader initiation to the final connection being made with an upwards streamer.

World Bank forecast India’s growth

GS Paper -3 (Economy)

The World Bank in its South Asia Economic Focus: Expanding Opportunities: Toward Inclusive Growth report, has forecast a 6.3% economic growth rate for India in the current fiscal year (FY) which ends March 31 2024, a downgrade of 0.7 percentage points since its October forecast.

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  • The primary reasons are high borrowing costs and slower income growth causing weaker consumption, as well as the government tightening fiscal expenditure.
  • It said India fared better than the rest of the South Asian region; two major concerns were the female labour participation rate, which had dropped to below 20%, and the informal sector neither becoming more productive nor shrinking.
  • The Indian economy is expected to grow at 6.4% in FY 2024-25, an upgrade of 0.3 percentage points from the previous forecast. The South Asia region as whole is expected to grow at 5.6% this calendar year.
  • World Bank Chief Economist for South Asia said that the situation in India is healthier than many of the other countries and banks were “in good shape” and had improved after the pandemic.
  • The main concern is about the female labour participation rate, the size, and (low) productivity of the informal sector.
  • There is still a huge structural agenda in India to make growth more inclusive to increase participation, adding that private investment from abroad needed to be increased, especially in the services sector.
  • According to the World Bank, services sector and then the construction sector were the fastest going industries in India. Investment growth remained strong and business confidence was high in India.
  • The government has done a lot to improve social protection, but there is need of increasing more opportunities in the labour market.

On situation in Sri Lanka and Pakistan:

The outlook for India’s neighbours Sri Lanka and Pakistan, both of them have experienced economic difficulties. The World Bank forecast for Sri Lanka this calendar year was -4.3% (i.e., a contraction) and for Pakistan was 0.4% for the year ending June 30, 2023.

World Bank Lowers India’s Growth Forecast

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

The World Bank has forecast a 6.3% economic growth rate for India in the current fiscal year (FY) which ends March 31 2024, a downgrade of 0.7 percentage points since its October forecast. The primary reasons for this are high borrowing costs and slower income growth causing weaker consumption, as well as the government tightening fiscal expenditure. The World Bank said in its South Asia Economic Focus: Expanding Opportunities: Toward Inclusive Growth report, in Washington DC.

Among South Asian Nation

  • While India fared better than the rest of the South Asian region, two major concerns were the female labour participation rate, which had dropped to below 20%, and the informal sector neither becoming more productive nor shrinking.
  • The Indian economy is expected to grow at 6.4% in FY 2024-25, an upgrade of 0.3 percentage points from the previous forecast. The South Asia region as a whole is expected to grow at 5.6% this calendar year.

India Economy

  • There is still a huge structural agenda in India to make growth more inclusive to increase participation,” adding that private investment from abroad needed to be increased, especially in the services sector.
  • The services sector and then the construction sector were the fastest going industries in India, according to the World Bank.
  • Investment growth remained strong and business confidence was high in India, the report said.
  • “The government has done a lot to improve social protection, but that is by itself not enough. Ultimately, it is about increasing more opportunities in the labor market and there’s still a long way to go”.

Bleak situation for Sri Lanka and Pakistan

  • The outlook for India’s neighbours Sri Lanka and Pakistan, both of which have experienced economic difficulties, was bleeker.
  • The World Bank forecast for Sri Lanka this calendar year was -4.3% (i.e., a contraction) and for Pakistan was 0.4% for the year ending June 30, 2023
  • The political uncertainty in Pakistan made making decisive reforms harder, , adding that it was important to have wide buy-in for the “ reform process”. Islamabad is negotiating the release of a $1.1 billion tranche of a larger $6.5billion bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has been delayed, as the IMF awaits assurances from Pakistan that it can finance this year’s balance of payments deficit.
  • Sri Lanka, which faced economic collapse last year, negotiated a $ 3 billion loan from the IMF at the end of March and is hoping to secure further financing from international institutions.
  • “Sri Lanka can turn the corner now as an IMF program has been put in place which makes it easier also for the World Bank to support Sri Lanka”.