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News Analysis

18th February, 2024 (Sunday)

1Ordinance Making Power of the PresidentGS.2: Indian Polity – Union Executive
2Advocating for a Two-State solutionGS. 2: IR – India & West Asia (Israel – Palestine Issue)
3The Raisina DialogueGS. 2: IR –  India & Global Groupings
4Internet Ban in IndiaGS.3: ITC & Cyber Security
5CAR-T Cell TherapyGS.3: Biotechnology
6Outer Space Treaty (OST)GS.3: Space Science – International Treaty
7Food Corporation of India (FCI)GS. 3: Food Security – Important Bodies in News
858th Jnanpith AwardGS.3: Prelims Exclusive – Awards in News


Syllabus: GS.2: Indian Polity – Union Executive

Why it’s in the News: Punjab farmers protest for MSP assurance, camp at Haryana borders, seeking talks with Union Ministers. Demand for MSP ordinance underscores protest’s focus on legal guarantees.

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About Ordinance Making Power of the President

  • Article 123 of the Indian Constitution delegates certain legislative powers to the President of India, empowering them to promulgate ordinances in situations where one of the Houses of Parliament is not in session, rendering it impossible for a law to be passed.
  • Key Features of Ordinances:
    • Equivalent to Parliamentary Acts: Ordinances issued by the President hold the same legal weight as Acts passed by Parliament.
    • Scope of Subjects: They may pertain to any subject within Parliament’s legislative domain, subject to the same restrictions.
    • Retrospective and Modificatory: Ordinances can have retrospective effects and may amend or repeal existing parliamentary laws or other ordinances. However, they cannot amend the Constitution.
    • Withdrawal by the President: The President holds the authority to withdraw an ordinance at any time, usually in consultation with the Council of Ministers.
  • Limitations on Ordinance Making Power:
    • Non-Session of Legislature: Ordinances can only be promulgated when at least one House of Parliament is not in session.
    • Requirement for Immediate Action: The President can issue an ordinance only if immediate action is deemed necessary.
    • Parliamentary Approval: Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of reconvening. Failure to secure approval renders the ordinance void. Additionally, if disapproved by either House, it ceases to operate.
  • Judicial Oversight:
    • In various judicial rulings, the Supreme Court has affirmed that the President’s authority to issue ordinances is subject to judicial review, ensuring that it operates within constitutional bounds.

While the President’s ordinance-making power serves as a vital tool for addressing urgent legislative needs, it remains subject to parliamentary approval and judicial scrutiny.


Syllabus: GS. 2: Indian Polity – Policies and interventions

Why it’s in the News: the Munich Security Conference, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar reiterated India’s call for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, condemning Hamas’s attack as terrorism and emphasizing humanitarian concerns.

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India’s Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict:

  • The Israel-Palestine conflict stands as a testament to the intertwined historical, nationalist, and religious dynamics in the Middle East, marked by territorial and identity struggles.
  • Originating from the rise of Zionism in the late 19th century and paralleled by the emergence of Arab nationalism, the conflict reached its zenith after Israel’s establishment in 1948.
  • Rooted in competing claims to the same land, this conflict has witnessed wars, uprisings, and numerous peace negotiations.
  • Its significance extends beyond geopolitical boundaries, entwining with the narratives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, adding layers of complexity to the ongoing political dispute between Israel and Palestine.

Background of the Conflict:

  • Zionism Zionism, as the national aspiration of the Jewish people, advocates for the restoration of a Jewish homeland, historically identified with Palestine or the Biblical land of Israel.
  • The late 19th century saw the rise of Zionism amid growing European nationalism and anti-Semitic sentiments.
  • Theodor Herzl’s convening of the First Zionist Congress in 1897 marked a pivotal moment, proposing Jewish migration to Palestine and land acquisition from the local population.

Israel-Palestine Map and Governance

  • The region encompassing Israel and Palestine is one of profound geopolitical significance, comprising territories such as the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.
  • Governed by Hamas since 2006, the Gaza Strip remains a coastal Palestinian enclave, while the West Bank, administered by Fatah, is bordered by Israel and Jordan.
  • Jerusalem, a city of paramount religious importance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, remains a focal point of contention, divided between Jewish-majority West Jerusalem and predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem.

Perspectives of Israel and Palestine

  • Both Israel and Palestine hold divergent narratives and interpretations of the conflict.
  • Israelis cite deep-rooted historical and religious ties to the land, underscored by the aftermath of the Holocaust and the UN’s approval of Israel’s establishment in 1947.
  • Security concerns, particularly regarding the West Bank and Gaza, drive Israeli perspectives, with skepticism towards Palestinian leadership’s commitment to address these concerns.
  • In contrast, Palestinians assert historical and cultural bonds with the territory, exacerbated by the displacement of Palestinian refugees following Israel’s foundation.
  • Israel’s control over Gaza and the expansion of settlements in the West Bank are viewed as oppressive and detrimental to the prospects of a Palestinian state.
  • Key to Palestinian demands is the right of return for refugees, anchored in UN Resolution 194, and the recognition of the 1967 borders for a viable Palestinian state.

Timeline of the Conflict

  • Spanning over a century, the Israel-Palestine conflict has evolved through key historical events, including the creation of the British Mandate post-World War I, the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and subsequent wars and peace initiatives such as the Oslo Accords.
  • Despite intermittent periods of diplomatic engagement and armed conflict, lasting resolution remains elusive, characterized by recurrent cycles of violence and peace negotiations.

India’s Stand on the Conflict

  • India maintains a nuanced stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, advocating for a two-state solution while balancing diplomatic relations with both parties.
  • Rooted in historical support for the Palestinian cause, India’s policy underwent a shift post-Cold War, culminating in the establishment of full diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992.
  • Despite burgeoning relations with Israel across various sectors, India continues to support Palestine, evident in its humanitarian aid and advocacy for a peaceful resolution.

Implications for India

  • The Israel-Palestine conflict holds implications for India’s strategic interests, particularly in defense ties with Israel, energy security concerns, and regional economic cooperation.
  • As a proponent of the two-state solution, India’s unwavering position underscores the imperative for a just and lasting resolution to the conflict, emphasizing international cooperation and adherence to established frameworks such as the Madrid Peace Conference.

Challenges and Possible Solutions

  • Numerous challenges hinder peace efforts, including territorial disputes, refugee return, and political fragmentation.
  • However, avenues for resolution exist, including the two-state solution, border realignments, and international collaboration.
  • Sustainable peace necessitates concerted efforts to address underlying grievances, promote dialogue, and foster mutual understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.


  • India’s perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict reflects a commitment to peace, underscored by support for a two-state solution and diplomatic engagement with both parties.
  • As a nation with historical ties to the region and a proponent of international cooperation, India plays a crucial role in advocating for a just and equitable resolution to one of the most protracted conflicts in modern history.


Syllabus: GS. 2: IR – India & Global Groupings

Why in News: The Raisina Dialogue – 2024, organized by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation, will feature Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis as the chief guest.

About the Raisina Dialogue

  • The Raisina Dialogue is India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.
  • Every year, leaders in politics, business, media, and civil society converge in New Delhi to discuss the state of the world and explore opportunities for cooperation on a wide range of contemporary matters.
  • The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, who are joined by thought leaders from the private sector, media and academia.
  • It is organized by Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
  • This effort is supported by a number of institutions, organisations and individuals, who are committed to the mission of the conference
  • Inspiration:
    • Inspired by the spirit of Singapore’s Shangri-La Dialogue, Raisina aspires to cultivate a similar platform for multifaceted deliberations on global challenges.
  • Significance: Echoing India’s Voice
    • Strategic Vision: At its core, the Raisina Dialogue serves as a strategic projection of India’s perspectives on global dynamics.
    • India-Centric Thinking: Embracing the ethos of ‘India First,’ the dialogue articulates India’s narrative, amplifying its role as a key player on the global stage.
    • Diverse Representation: By weaving together a tapestry of voices from around the world, Raisina promotes a rich tapestry of ideas, fostering critical reflections on international policies.
  • Conclusion
    • The Raisina Dialogue attracts leaders from over 100 countries to address shared concerns, with prominent figures such as Greece’s Prime Minister and Italy’s Prime Minister participating, thereby amplifying its global influence.
    • It embodies India’s dedication to shaping global discourse through inclusive collaboration, offering hope for a more interconnected and harmonious world.


Syllabus: GS. 2 & 3: Government Interventions, ITC & Cyber Security

Why it’s in the News: The Central government extended the suspension of Internet services until February 24 in 20 police station jurisdictions of Punjab due to the ongoing farmers’ agitation.

About the Internet Ban in India

  • The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, serves as the foundational legislation governing wired and wireless communications in India.
  • It grants the Government exclusive authority over various communication forms, including telegraphy, telephones, and digital data communications.
  • Additionally, it enables government law enforcement agencies to monitor and intercept communications under specified conditions.
  • Provision for Internet Shutdowns
    • Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act empowers central and state governments to prevent message transmission during public emergencies, ensuring public safety and safeguarding national sovereignty and integrity.
  • Regulatory Framework and Procedures
    • The Rules, issued under the Indian Telegraph Act, mandate that only the Home Secretary of the Union or a state can order an internet shutdown.
    • The order must include reasons and be forwarded to a review committee within five days for assessment.
    • Telecom service providers are required to designate nodal officers to handle such requests.
  • Supreme Court Involvement and Rulings
    • In a case concerning the Kashmir internet shutdown, the Supreme Court emphasized compliance with the Rules and fundamental rights.
    • The court stressed that shutdowns must be temporary, necessary, and proportionate to the situation, with avenues for review and transparency.
  • Pre-2017 Regulatory Landscape
    • Internet shutdowns were previously ordered under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
    • Section 69(A) of the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008, empowered the government to block specific websites, not the entire internet.
    • Despite no nationwide shutdown, India has witnessed numerous shutdowns, particularly in regions like Kashmir.
  • Concerns and Impacts
    • Frequent internet shutdowns adversely affect various sectors like e-commerce and tourism, hindering economic and social activities.
    • Lack of a robust framework and safeguards lead to arbitrary shutdowns, violating citizens’ rights and disrupting daily life.
  • Urgent Need for Reforms
    • The Supreme Court’s recognition of internet access as a fundamental right underscores the necessity for legal reforms.
    • The draft Indian Telecommunications Bill, 2022, although addressing contemporary needs, falls short in reforming internet suspension rules.
    • Recommendations include proactive publication of orders, periodic reviews, inclusive oversight committees, and selective service restrictions.


  • The current legal framework governing internet shutdowns in India requires significant overhaul to ensure transparency, accountability, and adherence to fundamental rights.
  • Reforms should establish clear guidelines, protocols, and mechanisms for assessing the justifiability of shutdowns, aligning with technological advancements and societal needs.


Syllabus: GS. 3: Biotechnology

Why it’s in the News: Researchers have developed a novel variant of cancer-fighting T cells that effectively suppress multiple myeloma tumors in mice. These engineered cells exhibit superior persistence and endurance compared to standard CAR T cell designs. The promising effects and durability of these new cells offer potential treatment options for patients with refractory or relapsed multiple myeloma, addressing a critical need in combating the second most common type of blood cancer in adults.

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About CAR-T Cell Therapy

  • CAR T-cell therapy stands as a revolutionary approach in cancer treatment, harnessing the bodies own immune system to combat tumors.
  • Unlike traditional methods such as chemotherapy, this therapy involves modifying a patient’s T cells to target cancer cells specifically.
  • How it Works:
    • T cells, extracted from the patient’s blood, are genetically engineered in the laboratory to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) on their surface.
    • These receptors enable T cells to recognize and attack cancer cells effectively.
    • Following this modification, the CAR T cells are multiplied in quantity and reintroduced into the patient’s body via infusion.
  • Significance:
    • CAR T-cell therapy boasts exceptional precision, directly engaging the immune system against cancer cells.
    • This personalized approach often leads to improved treatment outcomes, earning CAR T cells the moniker of “living drugs.”
  • Challenges:
    • Preparation:
      • The intricate process of preparing CAR T-cell therapies has hindered their widespread implementation.
      • While initial trials date back a decade, recent advancements, like India’s first indigenous therapy in 2021, highlights ongoing efforts.
    • Side Effects:
      • Despite their efficacy in certain cancers, CAR T-cell therapies can induce severe side effects, including cytokine release syndrome and neurological symptoms, underscoring the need for careful monitoring and management.
    • Affordability:
      • Despite strides in development, concerns persist regarding the accessibility and affordability of CAR T-cell therapy, posing challenges to its adoption, particularly in regions with limited healthcare resources.
NEWS PLUS About T Cells T cells, a subset of white blood cells, play a pivotal role in the immune response, distinguishing and eliminating foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and cancer cells.Types of T Cells:Helper T Cells: These cells orchestrate immune responses by coordinating the actions of other immune cells.Cytotoxic T Cells: Also known as killer T cells, they directly target and destroy infected or abnormal cells, including cancer cells.  


Syllabus: GS. 2: IR – Strategic Ports in News

Why it’s in the News: Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner, raised concerns over a national security threat, hinting at a Russian space-based weapon, potentially violating the Outer Space Treaty (OST).

What is Outer Space?

  • Outer space, also known as celestial space, is the vast vacuum beyond Earth’s atmosphere and between celestial bodies. It’s defined by low density, pressure, and the absence of air or atmospheric elements.Top of Form

About the Outer Space Treaty (OST)

  • The Outer Space Treaty, originally signed by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union on January 27, 1967, and coming into effect on October 10, 1967, lays the foundational principles governing international space law.
  • Initially named the ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other Celestial bodies,’ it serves as the constitution for activities beyond Earth.
  • Key Provisions of the Treaty
    • The treaty prohibits the placement of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in orbit around Earth, the Moon, or any other celestial body.
    • It defines limits on celestial body claims, emphasizing their status as common heritage to humanity.
    • Additionally, it mandates that space exploration should benefit all nations and holds countries responsible for any damages caused by their space activities.
  • Arms Control Provisions
    • Central to the treaty’s arms control measures, Article IV prohibits the placement of nuclear weapons or WMD in orbit or on celestial bodies.
    • It also bans the establishment of military installations on celestial bodies and the testing of any weapons in space.
  • Guiding Principles
    • The treaty underscores the accessibility of space to all nations for scientific exploration and prohibits any national claims of ownership over celestial bodies.
    • Furthermore, it obligates countries to avoid contamination or harm to space environments and requires cooperation and mutual assistance among astronauts.
  • Amendments and Challenges
    • Article XV allows for treaty amendments, requiring majority approval from member states.
    • Additionally, Article XVI outlines the procedure for member withdrawal.
    • Challenges to the treaty, such as the Bogota Declaration in 1976 and China’s satellite destruction in 2007 have tested its provisions.
  • Future Challenges
    • While the treaty has curtailed military activities in space, the proliferation of space infrastructure raises concerns about asset protection.
    • Threats from anti-satellite weapons and terrorism necessitate reassessment of military activities in space, challenging the treaty’s principles.
  • Enforcement and Concerns
    • Despite its binding nature, enforcement of the treaty lacks a mechanism, relying on international cooperation and respect.
    • Concerns persist regarding private exploitation of celestial bodies and conflicts with national legislation, such as the US Space Act of 2015.


  • Despite loopholes and evolving challenges, the Outer Space Treaty remains the cornerstone of international space law, embodying the principles of peaceful cooperation and equitable exploration.
  • Its adaptability to changing political and commercial landscapes will determine its continued relevance in governing outer space activities.
NEWS PLUS: UN Treaties on Outer Space: The “five United Nations treaties on outer space” are:Outer Space Treaty 1967: Governs the principles of exploration and use of outer space.Rescue Agreement 1968: Deals with the rescue and return of astronauts and space objects.Liability Convention 1972: Addresses international liability for damage caused by space objects.Registration Convention 1976: Concerns the registration of objects launched into outer space.Moon Agreement 1979: Governs activities on the Moon and other celestial bodies.   India is a signatory to all five treaties but has ratified only four, excluding the Moon Agreement.


Syllabus: GS. 3: Food Security – Important Bodies in News

Why it’s in the News: The government has raised the authorised capital of state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to ₹21,000 crore, from ₹10,000 crore, to enhance the operational capabilities and fulfill its mandate effectively

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About the Food Corporation of India (FCI)

  • The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is a crucial Public Sector Undertaking operating under the Department of Food & Public Distribution, within the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.
  • Established by the Food Corporation’s Act of 1964, its primary objectives include conducting price support operations, nationwide food grain distribution, and maintaining buffer stocks for national food security.
  • Relevance and Impact
    • FCI plays a pivotal role in implementing the National Food Security Act, addressing hunger and starvation during crises like the Covid pandemic.
    • As the backbone of the Public Distribution System (PDS), it fights malnutrition and poverty, ensuring inclusive growth.
    • By purchasing crops at Minimum Support Prices (MSP), FCI provides financial security to farmers, thus making agriculture economically viable.
  • Challenges
    • FCI faces challenges across procurement, storage, and distribution.
    • Limited farmer access to government procurement systems, excessive buffer stock storage leading to spoilage, and significant leakage within the PDS pose significant hurdles to its effectiveness.
  • Reforms and Recommendations
    • Reforms proposed by the Shanta Kumar Committee advocate for transforming FCI into an innovative food management agency.
    • Recommendations span procurement, storage, and distribution stages, aiming to optimize operations and enhance efficiency.
    • These include outsourcing procurement, improving storage practices, widening PDS coverage, and leveraging technology for better tracking and monitoring.
  • Conclusion
    • Addressing these challenges and implementing recommended reforms will strengthen FCI’s ability to ensure national food security effectively.
    • With streamlined operations and improved efficiency, FCI can continue to play a vital role in safeguarding the food needs of the nation.


Syllabus: GS.3: Prelims Exclusive – Awards in News

Why in News: Renowned Urdu poet Gulzar and Sanskrit scholar Jagadguru Rambhadracharya have been honored with the prestigious 58th Jnanpith Award, as announced by the Jnanpith selection committee.

More about the 58th Jnanpith Award

  • Gulzar’s Achievements:
    • Gulzar is celebrated for his significant contributions to Hindi cinema and is widely regarded as one of the finest Urdu poets of our time.
    • His accolades include the Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu in 2002, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2013, and the Padma Bhushan in 2004.
    • Additionally, he has received at least five National Film Awards for his outstanding works in cinema.
  • Rambhadracharya’s Contributions:
    • Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, the founder and head of Tulsi Peeth in Chitrakoot, is a distinguished Hindu spiritual leader, educator, and prolific writer.
    • He has authored over 100 books, enriching the literary landscape with his profound insights and spiritual wisdom.

About the Jnanpith Award:

  • Instituted in 1961, the Jnanpith Award is the oldest and highest Indian literary honor, recognizing authors for their exceptional contributions to literature.
  • It is bestowed annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to Indian writers composing in languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English, with no posthumous conferral.
  • The inaugural recipient of the award was Malayalam writer G. Sankara Kurup in 1965, honored for his collection of poems, “Odakkuzhal” (The Bamboo Flute).
  • In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to win the award, recognized for her 1965 novel “Prothom Protishruti” (The First Promise), the first in a trilogy.

The recognition of Gulzar and Jagadguru Rambhadracharya with the 58th Jnanpith Award underscores their significant contributions to Indian literature, enriching the cultural tapestry and inspiring generations to come.

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