Print Friendly, PDF & Email



Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Curative petition.

2. Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.

3. Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2020.

4. Nepal’s Seke ‘near-extinct’.


GS Paper 3:

1. Green Credit Scheme.

2. Zero Budget Natural Farming.

3. Revised norms for data-led probes.


Facts for Prelims:

1. Sea Guardians 2020.

2. Operation Sankalp.

3. MILAN 2020.


GS Paper  : 2


Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Curative petition

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Meaning of curative petition.

Context: Curative petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court by two convicts in the Nirbhaya case. The petitions come just days after a Delhi sessions court scheduled the execution of the four convicts at Tihar Jail on January 22.

What is curative petition?

It is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court which is normally decided by judges in-chamber. It is only in rare cases that such petitions are given an open-court hearing.

  • The concept of curative petition was first evolved by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and Anr. (2002)where the question was whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/order of the Supreme Court, after dismissal of a review petition.
  • The Supreme Court in the said case held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in exercise of its inherent powers. For this purpose, the Court has devised what has been termed as a “curative” petition.

To entertain the curative petitions, the Supreme Court has laid down certain specific conditions:

  1. The petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice and fear of the bias of the judge and judgement that adversely affected him.
  2. The petition shall state specifically that the grounds mentioned had been taken in the review petition and that it was dismissed by circulation.
  3. The petition is to be sent to the three senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgement affecting the petition, if available.
  4. If the majority of the judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench (as far as possible) and the court could impose “exemplary costs” to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

Constitutional provisions in this regard:

Article- 137 of the Constitution subjects to the provisions of the guidelines made under Article 145, by which it is clear that the Supreme Court has the ability to review any judgment declared by it.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Overview of the ordinance, how is coal mining regulated in India? Current challenges and ways to address them.

Context: The Union Cabinet has approved the promulgation of Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 that will amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015. 

Under the ordinance:

  1. Allocation of coal/lignite blocks for composite prospecting licence cum mining lease has been provided.
  2. Requirement of previous approval in cases where allocation of blocks was made by Central Govt has been dispensed with.
  3. This will speed up the process of implementation of projects, ease of doing business, simplification of procedure and benefit all the parties in areas where minerals are located.


  • In 2018, the government had allowed commercial mining by private entities but non-coal companies couldn’t participate in the auction.
  • In August 2019, the government announced 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) under the automatic route in coal mining for open sale, besides creating associated infrastructure, such as washeries.

Implications of this move- significance:

  • This opens up the sector to players outside steel and power as well as removes end-use restrictions.
  • It will create an efficient energy market and bring in more competition as well as reduce coal imports. India imported 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal last year, of which 135 mt valued at Rs 171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves.
  • It might also put an end to Coal India Ltd’s monopoly in the sector.
  • It would also help India gain access to high-end technology for underground mining used by miners across the globe.

New mining target:

In 2018, the government allowed commercial mining by private entities and set a mining target of 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020. Out of this, 1 billion tonnes was set to be from Coal India, while 500 million tonnes was to be from non-Coal India entities. This target has now been revised to 1 billion tonnes by 223-24.

 Who grants permission for mining?
The state governments grant permission for mining, known as mineral concessions, for all the minerals located within the boundary of the state, under the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.
However, for minerals specified in the First Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, Central government approval is necessary before granting the mineral concession.

Minerals specified under the First Schedule include hydrocarbons, atomic minerals and metallic minerals such as iron ore, bauxite copper ore, lead precious stones, zinc and gold.

 Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: Indian diaspora.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2020

What to study?

For Prelims: Date, themes and historical background.

For Mains: Significance of the day.

Context: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) is celebrated on 9th January every year to mark the contribution of Overseas Indian community in the development of India.

Why 9th January?

9th January was chosen as the day to celebrate this occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa and eventually led India’s freedom struggle.


PBD conventions are being held every year since 2003. These conventions provide a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and people of the land of their ancestors for mutually beneficial activities.

These conventions are also very useful in networking among the overseas Indian community residing in various parts of the world and enable them to share their experiences in various fields.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Nepal’s Seke ‘near-extinct’

What to study?

For Prelims: About Endangered languages and Seke.

For Mains: Endangered languages- concerns, challenges and ways to address them.

Context: Recently, The New York Times reported that the “near-extinct” Nepalese language Seke has just 700 speakers around the world.

About Nepal’s Seke language and threats to it:

According to the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA), Seke is one of the over 100 indigenous languages of Nepal.

In recent years, Seke has been retreating in the face of Nepali, which is Nepal’s official language and is considered to be crucial for getting educational and employment opportunities outside villages.

  • According to ELA, difficult conditions at home and job prospects elsewhere have brought speakers of Seke to places such as Pokhara, Kathmandu and even New York. Therefore, the vulnerability of the language is linked to the migration of people to places where Seke is not spoken, which has reduced the intergenerational transmission of the language. Furthermore, the younger generation does not find much use in learning the language, giving preference to Nepali and English.

Languages in danger?

UNESCO has six degrees of endangerment. These are:

  1. Safe, which are the languages spoken by all generations and their intergenerational transmission is uninterrupted.
  2. Vulnerable languages, which are spoken by most children but may be restricted to certain domains.
  3. Definitely endangered languages, which are no longer being learnt by children as their mother tongue.
  4. Severely endangered are languages spoken by grandparents and older generations, and while the parent generation may understand it, they may not speak it with the children or among themselves.
  5. Critically endangered languages are those of which the youngest speakers are the grandparents or older family members who may speak the language partially or infrequently.
  6. Extinct languages, of which no speakers are left.

Considering these definitions, Seke may be considered to be a definitely endangered language.

Fact for Prelims:

The last year, 2019, was the International Year of Indigenous Languages, mandated by the United Nations (UN).

As per UNESCO, roughly 57 per cent of the world’s estimated 6,000 languages are safe, about 10 per cent are vulnerable, 10.7 per cent are definitely endangered, about 9 per cent are severely endangered, 9.6 per cent are critically endangered and about 3.8 per cent of all languages are extinct since 1950.

As per the Endangered Languages Project (ELP), there are roughly 201 endangered languages in India and about 70 in Nepal.

Sources: The Hindu.


GS Paper  : 3


Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Green Credit Scheme

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance of the scheme.

Context: Forest Advisory Committee has approved the implementation of Green Credit scheme.

 Key features of the scheme:

It allows “forests” to be traded as a commodity.

It allows the Forest Department to outsource one of its responsibilities of reforesting to non-government agencies.


  1. The scheme allows agencies — they could be private companies, village forest communities — to identify land and begin growing plantations.
  2. After three years, they would be eligible to be considered as compensatory forest land if they met the Forest Department’s criteria.
  3. An industry needing forest land could then approach the agency and pay it for parcels of such forested land, and this would then be transferred to the Forest Department and be recorded as forest land.
  4. The participating agency will be free to trade its asset, that is plantation, in parcels, with project proponents who need forest land.

Present scenario:

  1. In the current system, industry needs to make good the loss of forest by finding appropriate non-forest land — equal to that which would be razed.
  2. It also must pay the State Forest Department the current economic equivalent — called Net Present Value — of the forest land.
  3. It’s then the Forest Department’s responsibility to grow appropriate vegetation that, over time, would grow into forests.

Need for change:

  1. Industries have often complained that they find it hard to acquire appropriate non-forest land, which has to be contiguous to existing forest.
  2. Nearly ₹50,000 crore had been collected by the Centre over decades, but the funds were lying unspent because States were not spending the money on regrowing forests.
  3. The Supreme Court intervened, a new law came about with rules for how this fund was to be administered. About ₹47,000 crore had been disbursed to States until August, but it has barely led to any rejuvenation of forests.


This is not the first time that such a scheme has been mooted. In 2015, a ‘Green Credit Scheme’ for degraded forest land with public-private participation was recommended, but it was not approved by the Union Environment Minister, the final authority.

Benefits of the scheme:

Such a scheme will encourage plantation by individuals outside the traditional forest area and will help in meeting international commitments such as sustainable development goals and nationally determined contributions.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Zero Budget Natural Farming

What to study?

For Prelims: Features of ZBNF.

For Mains: Significance of ZBNF, advantages of ZBNF.

Context: The Andhra Pradesh government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with German firm KfW regarding Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF).

  • The MoU is aimed at encouraging natural farming in the State. As part it, the government has taken a loan of ₹711 crore out of the estimated amount of ₹1,015 crore earmarked for ZBNF.

What is Zero Budget Natural Farming?

It is a method of farming where the cost of growing and harvesting plants is zero.

This means that farmers need not purchase fertilizers and pesticides in order to ensure the healthy growth of crops.

It is, basically, a natural farming technique that uses biological pesticides instead of chemical-based fertilizers.

  • Farmers use earthworms, cow dung, urine, plants, human excreta and such biological fertilizers for crop protection. It reduces farmers’ investment. It also protects the soil from degradation.

Benefits of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF):

  1. As both a social and environmental programme, it aims to ensure that farming – particularly smallholder farming – is economically viable by enhancing farm biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  2. It reduces farmers’ costs through eliminating external inputs and using in-situ resources to rejuvenate soils, whilst simultaneously increasing incomes, and restoring ecosystem health through diverse, multi-layered cropping systems.
  3. Cow dung from local cows has proven to be a miraculous cure to revive the fertility and nutrient value of soil. One gram of cow dung is believed to have anywhere between 300 to 500 crore beneficial micro-organisms. These micro-organisms decompose the dried biomass on the soil and convert it into ready-to-use nutrients for plants.
  4. Zero budget natural farming requires only 10 per cent water and 10 per cent electricity than what is required under chemical and organic farming. ZBNF may improve the potential of crops to adapt to and be produced for evolving climatic conditions.

Four wheels of ZBNF to be implemented in practically:

The “four wheels” of ZBNF are ‘Jiwamrita’, ‘Bijamrita’, ‘Mulching’ and ‘Waaphasa’, says Palekar, a Padma Shri awardee.

  • Jiwamritais a fermented mixture of cow dung and urine (of desi breeds), jaggery, pulses flour, water and soil from the farm bund. This isn’t a fertiliser, but just a source of some 500 crore micro-organisms that can convert all the necessary “non-available” nutrients into “available” form.
  • Bijamritais a mix of desi cow dung and urine, water, bund soil and lime that is used as a seed treatment solution prior to sowing.
  • Mulching, or covering the plants with a layer of dried straw or fallen leaves, is meant to conserve soil moisture and keep the temperature around the roots at 25-32 degrees Celsius, which allows the microorganisms to do their job.
  • Waaphasa, or providing water to maintain the required moisture-air balance, also achieves the same objective.

Government initiatives to support ZBNF:

Government of India has been promoting organic farming in the country through the dedicated schemes of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2015-16 and also through Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

  • In the revised guidelines of PKVY scheme during the year 2018, various organic farming models like Natural Farming, Rishi Farming, Vedic Farming, Cow Farming, Homa Farming, Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) etc. have been included wherein flexibility is given to states to adopt any model of Organic Farming including ZBNF depending on farmer’s choice.
  • Under the RKVY scheme, organic farming/ natural farming project components are considered by the respective State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC) according to their priority/ choice.

Sources: The Hindu.


Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Revised norms for data-led probes

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the guidelines and about GR Network.

For Mains: Need for data preservation and privacy.

Context: The Union Home Ministry has issued revised guidelines to streamline the process of seeking legal assistance from foreign countries in criminal matters.

It has also issued directives on drafting and processing letters rogatory, mutual legal assistance requests and service of summons, notices and other judicial documents.

As per the new guidelines:

  1. Before seeking information about a person’s e-mail account hosted on servers in foreign countries, investigating agencies will have to establish that it is linked to a crime.
  2. All data, including personal, must be obtained and processed fairly and lawfully. The requested country has to be informed about the time period for which the data is required. Such period shall be consented by the requested country.
  3. The transferred data shall be kept for no longer than the period required for the purpose for which it has been received and shall be returned to the requested country or deleted at the end of the period specified.
  4. ‘Data preservation’ shall be the key to the investigation of cyber-offences and those involving digital evidence.
  5. The G-8 countries’ 24/7 Network could be used to place request for preserving data in real time.

 Need for data preservation:

Accessing the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) creates important records and other information such as customer records, connection information and stored data. This is very important evidence to prove the guilt intention of the accused. Since this type of evidence can disappear quickly, it is of paramount importance to get the data preserved expeditiously through appropriate channels.


The Centre introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha last month that seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals and establishes a Data Protection Authority for it.

But, most intermediaries and social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Yahoo!, Twitter and YouTube have their servers outside India.

About G-8 24/7 Network:

It allows law enforcement agencies to make urgent preservation requests of the digital data before it perishes.

  • It is a new mechanism to expedite contacts between the Participating States or other autonomous law enforcement jurisdictions of a State.
  • It is a point to point network for urgent assistance in cybercrime matters.

Sources: The Hindu.


Facts for Prelims:


Sea Guardians 2020:

  • It is a joint naval drill between Pakistan and China.
  • The latest edition is being held in Karachi.
  • It is the sixth in the bilateral series.
  • It will focus on “augmenting interoperability and strategic cooperation.


Operation Sankalp:

  • It is a maritime security operation launched by India to promptly respond to the emergency situations for Indian sea vessels in the Middle East region.
  • It has been launched in order to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels through the Strait of Hormuz.


MILAN 2020:

It will be held in Visakhapatnam in March 2020.

About MILAN 2020:

  • MILAN stands for Multilateral Naval Exercise.
  • It is a multilateral naval exercise aimed to enhance professional interaction between friendly foreign navies and learn from each other’s strengths and best practices in the maritime domain.
  • Of the 41 navies invited, confirmations from over 30 navies have been received towards their participation in MILAN 2020.