Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 13 May 2023

Maldives Coast Guard Harbour project

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Maldivian counterpart, Mariya Didi recently laid the foundation stone for the Coast Guard ‘Ekatha Harbour’ at Sifavaru in Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) atoll. The development marked a significant milestone in the growing defence ties between the two countries. The project is among the biggest Indian grant-in-aid projects in the Maldives. The UTF project was announced during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit in February 2021.

What makes this project important?

  1. The project marked a major step in the growing defence cooperation between India and Maldives.
  2. In 2021, when Jaishankar and Didi had signed the agreement to “develop, support and maintain” the Coast Guard harbour in UTF atoll, the foreign minister had said that the facility will strengthen the capability of the Maldivian Coast Guard and facilitate regional humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
  3. The Coast Guard of Maldives is the armed maritime force of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

Why is the Maldives important to India?

  1. India has had long-standing ties with the Maldives. In 1988, India helped the Maldives thwart a coup attempt backed by a Sri Lankan militant organisation.
  2. The strategic location of Maldives in the Indian Ocean makes it important for India and that is the reason India has been working to boost ties with the country, especially in matters of defence and security.
  3. The island nation lies close to India’s exclusive economic zone and is in a place from where it can oversee maritime trade emanating from major choke points such as the Strait of HormuzRed Sea to Suez Canal and Mozambique.
  4. Officials said having a friendly and independent Maldives is thus beneficial to India and other nations in the region with common maritime interests, particularly in the backdrop of growing Chinese attempts to expand its influence in the region.

Defence cooperation and other projects

  1. In 2020, India had gifted a Dornier aircraft to the Maldives and in 2019 handed over a patrol vessel. Last year, New Delhi had also given a coastal radar system to Male.
  2. Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will provide 24 vehicles and a naval boat and will build police facilities on 61 islands of the country.
  3. A recent joint statement released by India and Maldives released after Defence Minister Singh’s visit to the country highlighted ongoing defence cooperation between the two neighbours, including joint exercises and exchanges of visits by military officials. It also highlighted the importance of sharing best practices and expertise in areas such as counterterrorismdisaster managementcybersecurity and maritime security.
  4. In August last year, PM Modi and Soli kickstarted the Greater Male Connectivity Project (GMCP)—a $500 million project financed by India—that would comprise a 6.74 km bridge and the causeway link connecting the capital Male with the neighbouring islands.


The sovereignty of India

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

political storm over sovereignty remarks in the run-up to the Karnataka assembly election 2023, Filed a complaint with the Election Commission against former Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi. Gandhi in her speech as part of Congress' campaign ahead of the 10 May polls, said her party will not allow anyone to pose a threat to Karnataka's "reputation, sovereignty or integrity".

What does the word ‘sovereignty’ mean?

  1. Sovereignty is simply the idea of having supreme authority over a defined territory.
  2. From the 17th century onwards, Western philosophers used the concept to describe the supremacy of the state — along with its institutions such as the governmentthe judiciary, and parliament — over the people being governed.
  3. The 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, for instance, believed that in exchange for the protection offered by the government to its people, and its role in keeping society cohesive and at peace through its control over law and order, the state had a legitimate claim to sovereignty.
  4. As territories began getting more defined over the next few centuries, the idea of sovereignty gained further legitimacy.

Under what circumstances did the word ‘sovereignty’ enter India’s Constitution?

  1. The word sovereignty appears in the beginning of the Preamble to the Constitution of India, as the first attribute of the independent republic of India.
  2. Its placement as the first among the core principles of the republic underlines its importance in the Constitution.
  3. Today, the Preamble says, “WETHE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC…IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”


ICMR and AYUSH to work together to boost Ayurveda’s identity

GS Paper -2 (Health- Social sector)

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Health Ministry and Ministry of AYUSH signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to enhance collaboration and cooperation in health research in the field of Integrated Medicine.

More about the news:

It will help Ayush departments in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) evolve into departments of Integrated Medicine across the entire AIIMS infrastructure in India.

Integrative Health Research:

  1. It is a trans-disciplinary, holistic approach to investigate the benefits of co-administering the conventional (modern systems of medicine) and non-conventional(traditional/alternative) medical practices to identify the comprehensive healthcare practices to an individual and the community.
  2. The collaboration would promote high impact integrative research to generate evidence in priority areas of national importance in healthcare utilising modern scientific methods.
  3. Under this, joint efforts will be in place to conduct high-quality clinical trials on identified areas/disease conditions of national importance with promising integrative therapies to generate evidence for wider acceptance.
  4. This would also help Ayurveda to boost and build its identity on the basis of scientific evidence and moving towards offering patients the benefit of integrated medicine in India.

Impact of this integration:

  1. The MoA will also explore the areas of convergence and synergy between the two organisations for integrative health research and strengthening research capacity.
  2. It will look into efforts to conduct high-quality clinical trials jointly on identified areas/disease conditions of national importance with promising therapies of Ayush system to generate evidence for wider acceptance.
  3. Under this, a joint working group shall be created between the Ministry of AYUSH and ICMR which will meet quarterly for exploring further areas of collaboration and work on deliverables.
  4. Under this partnership, both institutions shall formulate and implement joint research projects and programmes and allow joint supervision of the activities as well as design and conduct conferences, workshops, seminars jointly with active participation of researchers interested in the field of Integrative Healthcare.
  5. According to the Ministry, as part of the collaboration, scholars/trainees/researchers/faculties of the organisations will have access to advanced instrumentation systems, and other infrastructural facilities as per the prevailing rules and regulation of the organisations for the duration of the visit/joint research project/programme.
  6. Under it, both shall work towards developing/renewing mutual cooperation for facilitating scientific validation and providing evidence for AYUSH systems by other countries.


SC ruling on Maharashtra

GS Paper -2 (Polity)

In a unanimous judgment, the Supreme Court held that then Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari’s call for a trust vote, which led to the resignation of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government last June, was illegal.

More about the news:

  1. The apex court said that Mr. Koshiyari was “not justified” in calling Chief Minister Uddhav Thackerary to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
  2. The Court also said that it could not reinstate Mr. Thackeray as Chief Minister because he had resigned instead of facing the trust vote.

The case in the SC:

  1. The Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government was toppled and replaced by another government, comprising a faction of the Shiv Sena, which claimed to be the “real” Sena, the Bharatiya Janata Party and several Independent MLAs. The leader of the breakaway Sena faction, Eknath Shinde, became Chief Minister.
  2. The first petition was filed by Mr. Shinde last June after notices were issued by then Deputy Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly, Narhari Zirwal, against 40 rebel MLAs under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution which deals with disqualification on the grounds of defection.
  3. Thereafter, petitions were filed by the Thackeray group challenging the then Maharashtra Governor’s decision to call for a trust vote and the swearing-in of Mr. Shinde as Chief Minister. The election of the new Speaker, Rahul Narwekar, was also challenged.

The Supreme Court decision on a disqualification petition:

  1. The Speaker is the authority to adjudicate petitions for disqualification under the 10th Schedule.
  2. The Court said it cannot ordinarily adjudicate petitions for disqualification under the 10th Schedule. There are no extraordinary circumstances in the instant case that warrant the exercise of jurisdiction by this Court to adjudicate disqualification petitions.
  3. The Speaker must decide disqualification petitions within a reasonable period.

Justification to the floor test:

  1. The Court noted that the Governor was not justified in calling upon Mr. Thackeray to prove his majority on the floor of the House “because Governor did not have reasons based on objective material before him, to reach the conclusion that Mr. Thackeray had lost the confidence of the House.”
  2. The Court also said that “status quo ante cannot be restored” because Mr. Thackeray did not face the floor test and resigned from the post.

Court’s ruling on the role of the political party in relation to the legislature party:

  1. Questions arose on whose whip is binding, if the whip appointed by the political party and the one acting on behalf of the legislature party (the Shinde group in this case) give different instructions to members.
  2. Shinde faction argued that it is the legislature party that appoints the whipThe Court disagreed and said that, if it is the legislature party which appoints the Whip would be to sever the figurative umbilical cord which connects a member of the House to the political party.
  3. The Court ruled that direction to vote in a particular manner or abstain is issued by the political party, and not the legislature party.
  4. The court said,the Whip and the Leader of the party in the House should be appointed only by the political party.


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