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News Analysis

29th February, 2024 (Thursday)

1Adjournment sine dieGS.2: Indian Polity: Sessions of the Parliament
2National Policy of Rare DiseasesGS.2: Health Sector – Policies in News
3Unlawful Activities (Prevention) ActGS.2: Indian Polity & Governance
4Pancheshwar Multipurpose ProjectGS.2: IR: India – Nepal Relations
516th Finance CommissionGS.3: Indian Polity & Economy: Fiscal Federalism
6India’s First Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell VesselGS.3: Science & Technology


Syllabus: GS.2: Indian Polity & Governance

Why it’s in the News: The Himachal Pradesh Congress government narrowly survived by passing the 2024-25 Budget amid controversy, suspending 15 BJP legislators including the Opposition Leader. The Budget Session was abruptly adjourned sine die, a day earlier than planned.

About the Adjournment Sine Die:

  • Adjournment sine die refers to terminating a sitting of Parliament indefinitely, without naming a day for reconvening.
  • This power lies with the presiding officer of the House.
  • The presiding officer may also call a sitting of the House before or after adjourning sine die.
  • Adjournment:
    • Adjournment suspends the work of a sitting for a specified time, which could be hours, days, or weeks.
    • However, adjournment only terminates a sitting, not a session. The presiding officer holds the power of adjournment.


Syllabus: GS.2: Government Interventions in Health Sector

Why in News: The article discusses the challenges faced by individuals with rare diseases, particularly in India, where awareness, diagnosis, and treatment options are limited. Despite efforts like the National Policy for Rare Diseases, issues persist due to undefined disease definitions, delayed diagnosis, and inadequate funding. It calls for government action, including standardizing definitions, increasing funding, and addressing drug pricing. The article emphasizes the urgent need for comprehensive measures to improve access to diagnosis, treatment, and support for those affected by rare diseases.

About Rare Diseases (RDs)

  • RDs affect only a small portion of the population.
  • Lack of a substantial market often hinders the development of treatments, leading to them being termed “orphan diseases.”
  • The World Health Organization defines RDs as debilitating disorders with a prevalence of 1 or less per 1000 population, but definitions vary globally.
  • Challenges Associated with RDs:
    • Early diagnosis is hindered by low awareness and limited diagnostic facilities.
    • Research and development face challenges due to limited understanding of disease pathophysiology.
    • Treatment availability and accessibility remain limited, compounded by high costs and lack of market incentive for drug development.
  • National Policy for Rare Diseases (NPRD), 2021:
    • The government launched NPRD in March 2021, categorizing rare diseases into three groups based on treatment requirements.
    • Salient features include financial support for treatment, identification of Centers of Excellence (CoEs), and promotion of research and development.
    • The NPRD aims to address challenges in RD management, including diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
  • Rare Disease Management:
    • Prevention strategies focus on identifying causal factors and integrating preventive measures into existing healthcare programs.
    • Secondary prevention emphasizes early screening and identification through programs like Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK).
    • Diagnosis and treatment are facilitated through district early intervention centers (DEIC), but challenges remain due to limited treatment options and delayed diagnosis.
  • Rehabilitation and Supportive Services:
    • RD treatment often incurs significant financial burdens, necessitating rehabilitation and supplementary services.
    • Data collection and surveillance are crucial for understanding RD epidemiology and guiding policy decisions.
  • Way Forward:
    • NHM initiatives offer promise for improving RD screening and treatment.
    • Multidisciplinary approaches are necessary for accurate diagnosis and therapy post-screening.
  • In essence, the NPRD aims to address the complex challenges surrounding rare diseases, providing support for patients, promoting research, and strengthening healthcare infrastructure for effective management.


Syllabus: GS.2: Indian Polity & Governance

Why it’s in the News: The Union Home Ministry on Wednesday declared two factions of the Muslim Conference, Jammu and Kashmir (MCJK), led by Abdul Ghani Bhat and Ghulam Nabi Sumji, respectively, as “unlawful association” under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)

  • UAPA, or the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, was enacted by the Union government in 1967 to effectively combat activities aimed at threatening India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Here’s a structured overview:


  • Origin: Enacted in response to the need for stringent measures against secessionist movements and the Naxalbari uprising.
  • Objective: To prevent unlawful activities by individuals and associations.
  • Key Provisions:
  • Definition: Defines unlawful activity as any action intending to disrupt India’s territorial integrity.
  • Central Government Power: Grants absolute authority to the Central government to declare activities as unlawful.
  • Applicability: Applies to both Indian and foreign nationals, regardless of where the offense occurs.


  • 2004 Amendment: Added “terrorist act” to ban organizations involved in terrorism.
  • 2019 Amendment: Strengthened provisions regarding property seizure, investigation authority, and individual designation as terrorists by the NIA.
  • Arguments in Favor:
    • National Security: Empowers preventive action against terrorism, safeguarding the nation.
    • Effective Counterterrorism: Enables freezing of assets and sanctions against designated terrorists, aiding in combating terrorism.
    • Preventive Detention: Crucial for averting potential threats lacking sufficient evidence for trials.
  • Criticisms:
    • Low Conviction Rate: Criticized for a low conviction rate, approximately 2%.
    • Broad Definition of Terrorism: Vague definition potentially encompassing legitimate dissent as terrorism.
    • Preemptive Arrests: Permits arrests based on suspicion, impacting fundamental rights and leading to lengthy pre-trial detention.
  • Way Forward:
    • Supreme Court Guidelines: Emphasize adherence to judgments ensuring individual rights aren’t infringed upon.
    • Balance: Advocate for a balance between national security imperatives and individual rights within a transparent and accountable legal framework.
    • This structured overview provides a concise understanding of UAPA, its amendments, arguments, criticisms, and suggestions for the future.


Syllabus: GS.2: IR – India & Nepal Relations

Why it’s in the News: More than a month after India and Nepal signed the agreement on long-term power sharing; the two sides have not managed to make any forward movement on the stalled negotiations over the landmark Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP).

About the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP)

  • The Pancheshwar project, situated along the Mahakali River, embodies the potential for bilateral cooperation between India and Nepal.
  • However, disagreements over benefit sharing have impeded its progress, highlighting underlying challenges in the relationship.
  • About the Project:
    • The Mahakali River forms the natural boundary between India and Nepal, making the Pancheshwar project significant for both nations.
    • It aims to harness the river’s resources for hydroelectric power generation and irrigation, symbolizing shared development goals.
  • Challenges Hindering Progress:
    • Disputes over benefit sharing, particularly regarding irrigation and flood control, have stalled negotiations.
    • Nepal’s assertion of water as ‘white gold’ and India’s concerns about precedent-setting complicate matters, necessitating nuanced diplomatic solutions.
  • Consequences of Stagnation:
    • The project’s delay carries multifaceted consequences, including environmental and economic ramifications.
    • Seismic risks, environmental degradation, and livelihood impacts underscore the urgency of resolution.
  • Pathways to Progress:
    • Resolving the deadlock requires flexible negotiation frameworks and bilateral dispute resolution mechanisms.
    • Transparency, public participation, and trust-building measures can enhance project implementation.
  • Conclusion:
    • The Pancheshwar project represents an opportunity to strengthen India-Nepal ties through shared prosperity.
    • By addressing challenges collaboratively, both nations can unlock the project’s potential for sustainable development and regional cooperation.


Syllabus: GS.3: Infrastructure – Schemes in News

Why it’s in the News: Recent agitations in Kerala and Karnataka, backed by several State governments, shed light on fiscal federalism issues in India. The 16th Finance Commission faces the task of rectifying increasing vertical and horizontal inequalities in devolution. The Union government’s actions, such as excluding proceeds from the divisible pool and not devolving shares to States as mandated, exacerbate these issues.

About Finance Commission:

  • Established under Article 280 of the Indian Constitution, the Finance Commission is a constitutional body tasked with recommending financial resource allocations between the central government and state governments.
  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission
    • Established on November 27, 2017, the 15th Finance Commission (headed by Shri. N.K. Singh) provided recommendations for the period starting April 1, 2020, until the financial year 2025-26.
    • Its recommendations are valid until the financial year 2025-26.
    • Key Recommendations of 15th Finance Commission:
      • The Commission proposed maintaining states’ share in central taxes at 41% for 2021-26, accommodating Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
      • It recommended limiting the Centre’s fiscal deficit to 4% of GDP by 2025-26 and specific fiscal deficit limits for states as a percentage of GSDP within 2021-26, with access to unutilized borrowing limits in subsequent years.
  • Constitution of the Sixteenth Finance Commission
    • Following Article 280(1) of the Constitution, the Government of India established the Sixteenth Finance Commission with Dr. Arvind Panagariya appointed as its Chairperson.
    • Tasked with recommending a tax-sharing formula for the five-year period starting April 2026, the commission must submit recommendations by October 31, 2025.


Syllabus: GS.3: Science & Technology

Why it’s in the News: India, in its pursuit of sustainable energy sources and carbon neutrality by 2070, took a significant stride on February 28th, 2024. The Prime Minister launched India’s inaugural indigenous green hydrogen fuel cell inland waterway vessel in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, in alignment with the nation’s net-zero commitments.

India’s First Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel

  • Details of the Green Hydrogen Vessel:
    • Manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) under the Harit Nauka initiative, the vessel epitomizes India’s dedication to embracing innovative clean energy solutions. Equipped with an indigenously developed fuel cell power train, it underscores efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
  • Understanding Green Hydrogen:
    • Green hydrogen, produced through electrolysis of water using renewable energy sources like solar and wind, holds immense promise. This process, devoid of greenhouse gas emissions, splits water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gases using electricity.
  • Functionality of the Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel:
    • Operating on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology, the vessel converts hydrogen’s chemical energy into electricity. This process emits only water and warm air, making the vessel emission-free and environmentally sustainable.
  • Origins of India’s First Green Hydrogen Vessel:
    • Funded by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, the project aligns with India’s National Green Hydrogen Mission. Collaboration between Cochin Shipyard Limited, KPIT Technologies, and IRClass facilitated the vessel’s development, demonstrating India’s commitment to innovation and decarbonization.
  • Benefits of the Green Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel:
    • Zero emissions ensure minimal environmental impact during operations.
    • Indigenous technology reduces reliance on imported fuels, fostering energy independence.
    • Economically viable operations due to lower fuel costs compared to diesel vessels.
    • Puts India on the map as an early adopter and innovator in green hydrogen shipping applications.
  • Significance of Green Hydrogen for India:
    • Green hydrogen stands as a pivotal component in India’s goal to increase the share of clean energy sources.
    • As the nation’s energy demand is set to double by 2040, transitioning to green hydrogen can significantly reduce the carbon footprint across various sectors.
  • Challenges and Solutions:
    • Government subsidies and manufacturing incentives can address the high costs.
    • Public investments are crucial for developing renewable energy infrastructure and hydrogen storage/transport facilities.
    • Continued R&D and efficiency improvements are essential for overcoming technological barriers.
  • Future Prospects of Green Hydrogen in India:
    • By aiming to manufacture 5 million tonnes annually by 2030, India anticipates cleaner transportation and decarbonized industries. Furthermore, international collaborations could position India as a major green hydrogen exporter, solidifying its global leadership in sustainable energy.
  • Conclusion:
    • The launch of India’s maiden indigenous green hydrogen vessel at Cochin Shipyard signifies a significant milestone.
    • It underscores India’s commitment to green hydrogen’s potential and highlights the importance of public-private partnerships and indigenous manufacturing in driving sustainable development.

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