Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 18 December 2022

UN ranks Namami Gange initiative

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The National Mission for Clean Ganga initiative also called as Namami Gange initiative has been recognised by the United Nations (UN) as one of the Top 10 World Restoration Flagships programmes aimed at reviving the natural world. The award was received by G. Asok Kumar, the Director General of the Namami Gange project during a function at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada on World Restoration Day on 14 December 2022.


  1. The recognition of Namami Gange as one of the top-10 ecosystem restoration initiatives in the world bears testimony to the concerted efforts being made by the National Mission for Clean Ganga, Government of India for the restoration of the riverine ecosystem.
  2. These initiatives were selected under the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global movement coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  3. It is designed to prevent and reverse the degradation of natural spaces across the planet.
  4. The recognized initiatives, including Namami Gange, will now be eligible to receive UN support, funding or technical expertise.
  5. This has come at a very opportune moment for us as India has taken over the Presidency of the G20 group of nations.


  1. The Namami Gange Programme was started in 2014 after recognizing the need to rejuvenate River Ganga and committed over 5 billion dollars to ensure that the river gets clean.
  2. Ganga is important for India as it is home to 40 per cent of India's population2500 species of flora and fauna and 8.61 billion sq. km. basin, which is home to over 520 million people.
  3. The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has previously won the "Public Water Agency of the Year" in the Global Water Awards, 2019 by Global Water Intelligence 3.
  4. The documentary 'Ganga: River from the Skies' co-produced with National Geographic India, has also received awards under three categoriesBest DocumentaryBest Current Affairs and Best Natural History or Wildlife Programme- in the Asian Academy Creative Awards, 2022.


Satellite for landmark study of Earth's water

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

A satellite lifted off on 16 December 2022 from California on a mission to survey nearly all bodies of water on Earth, offering key insights on how they influence or are impacted by climate change. The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite, a billion-dollar project jointly developed by NASA and France's space agency CNES, took off atop a SpaceX rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base.

What is SWOT and what purpose will it serve

  1. The SWOT satellite, which stands for Surface Water and Ocean Topography, is an advanced radar satellite that aims to provide scientists with a deeper understanding of the water covering the planet and how climate change affects the oceans and life on Earth.
  2. It will start collecting scientific data in about six months after undergoing checks and calibrations.
  3. From a height of 890 kilometers (550 miles), SWOT will have the clearest view yet of the world's oceans, allowing it to track the rise in sea levels, as well as rivers and lakes.
  4. The satellite will measure the height of water in freshwater bodies and the ocean on more than 90 per cent of Earth's surface -- which it will track in its entirety at least once every 21 days.
  5. The satellite will help scientists better understand climate change, and factors such as how much more heat and carbon dioxide oceans can absorb.
  6. The mission is meant to last for three and a half years, but could be extended until five years, or even more.
  7. The breakthrough technology at the heart of the satellite mission is called KaRin, a Ka-band radar interferometer, which is described as "the flagship for a new generation of altimeters in space."
  8. The radar sends down a signal which is reflected back by the water surface. This echo is received by two antennas, resulting in two sets of data providing high accuracy for water detection and resolution.
  9. The US and French space agencies have worked together in the field for more than 30 years. A previous satellite developed by the partners, TOPEX/Poseidon, improved understanding of ocean circulation and its effect on global climate.
  10. It also aided the forecast of the 1997-1998 El Nino weather phenomenons.


The law on acid attacks in India

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

17-year-old girl was attacked with an acid-like substance in Dwarka by three assailants while she was on her way to school, while the victim has suffered 8% burns and disfigurement of the face and neck area, the accused have been arrested by Delhi police.

How prevalent are acid attacks?

  1. Though heinous, acid attacks on women are not as prevalent a crime as others against women.
  2. According to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 150 such cases recorded in 2019105 in 2020 and 102 in 2021West Bengal and UP consistently record the highest number of such cases generally accounting for nearly 50% of all cases in the country year on year.
  3. The charge sheeting rate of acid attacks stood at 83% and the conviction rate at 54% in 2019. In 2020, the figures stood at 86% and 72% respectively. In 2021, the figures were recorded to be 89% and 20% respectively.
  4. In 2015, MHA issued an advisory to all states to ensure speedy justice in cases of acid attacks by expediting prosecution.

What is the law on acid attacks?

  1. Until 2013acid attacks were not treated as separate crimes. However, following amendments carried out in the IPC, acid attacks were put under a separate section (326A) of the IPC and made punishable with a minimum imprisonment of 10 years which is extendable to life along with fine.
  2. The law also has provisions for punishment for denial of treatment to victims of police officers refusing to register an FIR or record any piece of evidence.
  3. Denial of treatment (by both public and private hospitals) can lead to imprisonment of up to one year and dereliction of duty by a police officer is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years.

What is the law on the regulation of acid sales?

  1. In 2013, the Supreme Court took cognizance of acid attacks and passed an order on the regulation of sales of corrosive substances.
  2. On the order, the MHA issued an advisory to all states on how to regulate acid sales and framed the Model Poisons Possession and Sale Rules, 2013 under The Poisons Act, 1919. It asked states to frame their own rules based on model rules, as the matter fell under the purview of states.
  3. According to the MHA’s directions and the model rules, over-the-counter sale of acid was not allowed unless the seller maintains a logbook/register recording the sale of acid.
  4. This logbook was to also contain the details of the person to whom acid is sold, the quantity sold, the address of the person and also specify the reason for procuring acid.
  5. The sale is also to be made only when the buyer produces a photo ID containing his address issued by the government. The buyer must also prove he/she is above 18 years of age.
  6. Sellers are also required to declare all stocks of acid with the concerned Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) within 15 days and in case of undeclared stock of acid. The SDM can confiscate the stock and suitably impose a fine of up to Rs 50,000 for a breach of any of the directions.
  7. In August last yearMHA issued another advisory to all States/ UTs to review and ensure that the retail sale of acids and chemicals is strictly regulated in terms of the Poison Rules so that these are not used in crime.


SC rejected review petition

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

On 17 December 2022, the Supreme Court rejected a review petition filed by Bilkis Bano. The petition challenged the apex court’s May order that permitted the Gujarat government to decide on the remission of the 11 convicts. Bilkis’s plea against the top court’s 13 May judgment claimed that the remission policy of the State of Maharashtra instead of Gujarat should apply in her case, since the trial in the case had happened in Maharashtra.

What is a review petition and when can it be filed?

  1. judgment of the Supreme Court becomes the law of the land, according to the Constitution.
  2. It is final because it provides certainty for deciding future cases. However, the Constitution gives, under Article 137, the Supreme Court the power to review any of its judgments or orders.
  3. This departure from the Supreme Court’s final authority is entertained under specific, narrow grounds. So, when a review takes place, the law is that it is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.
  4. In a 1975 rulingJustice Krishna Iyer said a review can be accepted “only where a glaring omission or patent mistake or like grave error has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility”. Thus, it is generally rare for the Supreme Court to admit reviews.

What if a review petition fails?

  1. As the court of last resort, the Supreme Court’s verdict cannot result in a miscarriage of justice. In Roopa Hurra v Ashok Hurra (2002), the court itself evolved the concept of a curative petition, which can be heard after a review is dismissed to prevent abuse of its process.
  2. A curative petition is also entertained on very narrow grounds like a review petition, and is generally not granted an oral hearing.
  3. It is yet to be seen if Bilkis Bano will take this route. She has also separately filed a writ petition challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to release the convicts.

Book A Free Counseling Session