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India-Nepal Cooperation

In News

• India and Nepal have recently decided to deepen their economic and development cooperation for the mutual and regional benefit.

More about the news

  • Recently, the foreign secretary of India met with his Nepalese colleague to discuss boosting bilateral relations.
  •  This visit continues the usual exchange of visits between the two neighbouring friends.Issues of discussion:
  •  During the summit, several sectors of Nepal-India ties were covered, including power sector cooperation, trade, transit, education, culture, healthcare, and connecting infrastructure.
  •  Increasing development aid to Nepal, expanding investment, resolving connectivity issues, bilateral trade, and promoting power trade were the primary topics of discussion at the summit.
  • Provision of international air route:
  • o Nepal urged India to establish an international aviation route for the effective operation of the recently inaugurated Gautam Buddha International Airport and Pokhara International Airport.
  • Proposal of a common voice of the South Asian nations: 
    • o Nepal also recommended establishing a framework for a unified South Asian voice on climate change issues in international forums.
India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy

• India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy is an integral part of Indian foreign policy.

 • The policy seeks to build cordial and synergistic relations with India’s South Asian neighbours in areas such as the economy, science and technology, research, and education, among others.

 • This policy creates new opportunities and leverages existing regional cooperation initiatives such as SAARC, SASEC, BBIN, and BIMSTEC.

  • It complements India’s Look East and Look West policies, which are focused on Southeast Asia and the Middle East, respectively.

India-Nepal Relations

  • India & Nepal share close and friendly relations characterised by age-old historical and cultural linkages, open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts.
  •  Nepal is significant to India in terms of its general strategic interests in the area, and the leaders of the two nations have frequently referred to their age-old “Roti Beti” relationship.
  • Sharing borders:
    • The country shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states — Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
    • Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services.
  • Trade and economic ties: 
  • India continues to be Nepal’s greatest trading partner, with bilateral trade exceeding $7 billion in 2019-20. Nepal’s trade with third countries is nearly entirely routed through India.
  • Over the previous decade, India’s exports to Nepal have increased by more than eightfold, while exports from Nepal have nearly doubled. Despite the problems caused by the pandemic, India ensured that Nepal received uninterrupted trade and supplies.
  • Nepal is the eleventh largest export market for India, up from the 28th position in 2014.
  • In FY 2021-22, it accounted for 2.34 percent of India’s exports. In fact, exports from India account for over 22 percent of Nepal’s GDP.
  • Development Partnership: 
    • Financial and technical assistance:
      • GoI provides substantial financial and technical assistance to Nepal for  the implementation of large development and infrastructure and connectivity projects,  as well as small development projects/high-impact community development projects in key areas of education, health, irrigation, rural infrastructure, livelihood development, etc. all across the country. 
    • The ‘New Partnership in Agriculture’:
    • The April 2018 announcement focuses on joint projects in Agriculture, Education, and R&D.
    • Cross-border railway links:
      • India is providing financial and technical assistance for construction of two broad gauge cross-border railway links viz Jayanagar-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar. 
    • India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA):
      • India and Nepal signed a Letter of Exchange (LoE) to the India-Nepal Rail Services Agreement (RSA), which enabled all authorised cargo train operators including private container train operators to carry Nepal’s container and other freight.
    • Mahakali River bridge:
  • Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between India and Nepal for the construction of a motorable bridge across the Mahakali River between Dharchula (India) and Darchula (Nepal), with aid from an Indian grant.
  • Operation Maitri & post-earthquake reconstruction assistance:
    • In the wake of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, GoI was the first responder and carried out its largest disaster relief operation abroad (Operation Maitri). 
    • India extended  US$ 1 billion to Nepal as part of its long-term assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction in housing, education, health and culture heritage sectors. 

Issues between India & Nepal

  •  Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950:
  • · India and Nepal signed a peace and friendship treaty on July 31, 1950, in an effort to “strengthen and deepen these ties and perpetuate peace between the two countries.”
  • Over time, Nepal came to consider that the pact was “incompatible with national pride.”
  • Madhesi Issue:
  •  India’s entrenched interests in Nepal suffered a blow in 2015, when protests by Madhesis and other ethnic groups against the marginalisation of their interests in the newly-passed Nepalese Constitution led to a blockage at the borders.
  • Kalapani dispute:  
    • The area is in India’s control but Nepal claims the region because of historical and cartographic reasons. The area is the largest territorial dispute between Nepal and India consisting of at least 37,000 hectares of land in the High Himalayas.
  • Susta Border dispute:
    • Susta is a disputed territory between Nepal and India. It is administered by India as part of West Champaran district of Bihar.
    • Nepal claims the area a part of West Nawalparasi District under Susta rural municipality, alleging that over 14,860 hectares of Nepali land in Susta has been encroached upon by India.

Way ahead

• Several irritants have evolved, straining this relationship, and there appears to be a determined effort by both governments to return to amity, with the Indian government aiming to emphasise the special relationship through “religious diplomacy.”

• India-Nepal relations must advance to a deeper partnership on economic and geopolitical concerns, with the Indian government continuing to play a significant role in development projects with the Nepali regime.

Source: TH

Appointment of Governors

In News

• Recently, new governors were appointed in twelve states and the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.


• The appointment of a former Supreme Court justice has prompted worries about the independence and accountability of the judiciary.

Concerns have been raised since the appointment was announced shortly after the judge’s retirement from the Supreme Court.

SC judge appointment as Governor.

  • In its fourteenth report, the Law Commission concluded that it is manifestly undesirable for retired Supreme Court justices to pursue other government positions.

•In Rajya Sabha, the late finance minister Arun Jaitley stated that practically everyone, with the exception of a few honourable men, desires a job after retirement. If we (Parliament) do not create it, they will build it themselves.

•The desire for a post-retirement career influences pre-retirement judgements.

•This poses a threat to the independence of the judiciary and has a negative effect on its operation.

•In 2012, the late former CJI J.S. Verma emphasised the necessity for a code of conduct for retired judges.

•A lengthier cooling-off period can assist in resolving any quid pro quo between the government (the largest plaintiff before the Supreme Court) and the retiring Judge.

Criticism of the Governor’s office

  • Political Tussle: When two different political parties are in power at the center and state. Instead of abridging the trust issues, the governor sometimes creates more tension. Governors are unable to shed their political inclinations, predilections, and prejudices while dealing with different political parties within the State.
  • Appointment: The Governor is appointed by the central government and therefore, actions of the Governor are often viewed as interference by the Central government in the functioning of the State government. The post has been reduced to becoming a retirement package for politicians for being politically faithful to the government of the day.
  • Tenure is under the discretion of the Union Government: Since the Governor holds office during the pleasure of the President and the President works on aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. Thus, the office is under the control of the ruling party at the center.
  • Misuse of Discretionary powers: After the election, he or she has the authority to invite the leader of the largest party to form the government, which has frequently been abused to favour a political party. The Governor is sometimes criticised for making appointments without consulting the state government. Examples: Vice Chancellors
  • Reservation of Bills: Article 200 gives the Governor the discretionary authority to reserve measures for the President’s assent. Political parties have utilised this clause to further their partisan objectives.
  • Office of Governor
  • About:
  • Article 153 of the Constitution states, “Each State shall have a Governor.”
  • He or she is the state’s chief executive officer.
  • The governor is a notional (or constitutional) head of state.
    • Serves as a representative of the federal government.
    • He appoints the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.
    • The Governor appoints the State Election Commissioner, the Chairman and members of the State Public Service Commission, the State’s Attorney General, and the Vice-Chancellor of Universities.
    • The President of India imposes President’s rule in any state based on the recommendation of the state’s Governor.
  • Appointment
  •  According to Article 155, the President appoints state governors by warrant bearing his signature and seal.
  •  According to Article 156, the Governor serves at the pleasure of the President.
  • Qualifications and Tenure
  •  According to Article 157, only Indian citizens above the age of 35 may be appointed to this office.
  •  The President appoints the Governor of a State for a five-year tenure.
  •  The Governor has no tenure security.
  • Functions
  •  Article 163 of the Constitution states that the Governor is typically assisted and advised by the Council of Ministers, with the exception of discretionary responsibilities.
  •  According to Article 164 of the constitution, the Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor, while the other Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. Ministers serve at the Governor’s leisure.
  • Powers:
    •  Under Article 161, the Governor of a State has the authority to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment, as well as to suspend, remit, or commute the sentence of any person convicted of an offence against any law relating to a matter over which the State’s executive power extends.
    • Legislative Powers: The Governor has the power to prorogue and dissolve the state legislature.
      • Governor appoints one-sixth of the total members of the legislative council from the fields of literature, science, art, cooperative movement, and social service.
      • With respect to the bill introduced in the state legislature, he can give his assent, withhold his assent, return the bill, and reserve the bill for President’s consideration.
    • Executive Powers: All Executive actions in the state by the government are taken in his name.

Supreme Court’s view on the Governor’s Office

  • In the S.R. Bommai case, The Supreme Court held that only the floor of the Assembly, and not the subjective view of the Governor, should be used to test the majority of the government of the day.
  • In the same landmark judgement, it was ruled that imposition of the President’s Rule shall be only in the event of a breakdown of constitutional machinery.

• In the Rameshwar Prasad Case of 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the Governor could not declare President Rule based on his subjective evaluations.

• In the 2016 Arunachal Pradesh case of Nabam Rebia, the constitutional bench ruled that the Governor can only summon, prorogue, and dissolve the House with the aid and advice of the Chief Minister-led Council of Ministers. And against his will.

Suggestions to improve

  • Sarkaria Commission made recommendations regarding the appointment of the Governor:
  •  The Governor must be a distinguished individual from outside the state.
  • The Governor must not have been politically involved in the recent past, and when there are distinct parties at the centre and in the state, the governor should not be a member of the center’s ruling party.
  • The Governor should be selected in conjunction with the state’s Chief Minister, the Vice President, and the Lok Sabha Speaker.
  • The tenure of the Governor must be secured.
  • M.M. Punchhi Commission 
    • The appointment of the Governor should be entrusted to a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and Chief Minister of the concerned state.
    • The Commission recommended that the doctrine of pleasure should end and be deleted from the constitution.


Demand for Greater Tipraland

In News

During the ongoing election preparations in Tripura, the demand for more TIPRALAND grows.


• The leader of the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA Motha), Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, unveiled the party’s election platform in Agartala for the 2018 Tripura Assembly elections.

• Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, the son of Tripura’s most recent king, leads the newest political party in Tripura, TIPRA Motha.

• The party’s maiden electoral attempt in the 2021 elections for the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) was successful, capturing 18 of 28 seats.

• The demand for Greater Tipraland has split the tribal and non-tribal relationships in Tripura.

What is Greater Tipraland?

  • It is the area demanded by TIPRA Motha which aims to carve out a new state “Greater Tipraland” for the 19 indigenous tribes of Tripura under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution.

• While Articles 2 and 3 permit the Parliament to create new states and change the regions, boundaries, and names of existing states from the territories of an existing state or states, Article 1 prohibits the creation of new states.

•The new state would extend beyond the TTAADC boundaries and encompass a number of other Tiprasa-dense settlements.

• TIPRA Motha intends to establish task teams to aid in the linguistic, cultural, social, and economic development of Tiprasa in other regions of the country and the world.

Genesis of the demand

  • • The proposal for Greater Tipraland is not a rehash of the 2009 demand for Tipraland by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT).
  • The original demand was to carve up a separate state for the tribal population of Tripura from the TTAADC territories.
  • The current demand extends beyond the TTAADC areas to at least 36 more villages where the tribal population ranges from 20 to 36 percent.

  •  Tripura is a state in northeastern India, bordering on the north, south, and west by Bangladesh and on the east by Assam.
  • •According to the 2011 Indian Census, the state has an area of 10,486 square kilometres and a population of around 4 million people.
  • The capital of Tripura is Agartala, which is also the state’s largest city.
  •  Bengali and Kokborok are the official languages of Tripura.
  • According to the 2011 Census, the state has a high literacy rate, with 87.75% of the population being literate.
  • • Tripura is predominately a rural state, with 83.14 percent of the population living in rural areas with diverse culture and a rich history of art, music, and dance.
  • Tripura is home to several indigenous communities, including the Tripuri, Reang, Jamatia, and Noatia tribes, who have their own distinct cultures and traditions.
  •  The state’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture and allied activities, with a significant proportion of the population engaged in agriculture.
  • The Ujjayanta Palace, Neermahal, and Tripura Sundari Temple are Tripura’s most popular tourist destinations.

Source: TH

Article 105 of Constitution

In News

• The leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha sends a letter to the chairman outlining the privileges accorded to members of parliament by Article 105 of the Indian Constitution.


• Article 105 of the Indian Constitution protects members from legal action for anything they say or do in the course of their official duties.

•The Constitution, however, bans Parliament from discussing the conduct of Supreme Court or High Court judges until a move is made to present an address to the President requesting the Judge’s dismissal.

•Certain non-members, such as the Attorney General for India or a Minister who may not be a member but speaks in the House, enjoy the same protection as members of parliament.

•This privilege comes from the Government of India Act of 1935, which made reference to the powers and privileges enjoyed by the British House of Commons.

•In the 17th-century case R vs. Elliot, Holles, and Valentine, the House of Lords granted Sir John Elliot, a member of the House of Commons, immunity on the grounds that only words said in Parliament may be judged.

•This right was also codified in the Bill of Rights of 1689, by which the English Parliament firmly established the notion of a constitutional monarchy.

•The Supreme Court declared in the 1970 case Tej Kiran Jain v. N Sanjiva Reddy that the word “anything” in Article 105 has the broadest meaning and is comparable to “everything.”

• Currently, the Speaker or the House itself handles matters in which a member of Congress breaches the boundaries of acceptable free expression, as opposed to the courts.

Source: IE

Lymphatic Filariasis

In News

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare rolled out a statewide Sarva Dawa Sevan or Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programme to eradicate lymphatic filariasis (LF).

o The campaign’s objective is to eradicate lymphatic filariasis by 2027, three years earlier than the global goal.

What is Lymphatic Filariasis?

• Elephantiasis, also known as lymphatic filariasis, is a neglected tropical disease.

• Lymphatic filariasis damages the lymphatic system and can result in the abnormal growth of bodily parts, which can cause discomfort, severe disability, and social stigma.

• Infections are caused by the transmission of filarial parasites to people by Culex mosquitoes. Infections are typically acquired throughout childhood, resulting in unseen harm to the lymphatic system.

• The painful diseases lymphoedema, elephantiasis, and scrotal swelling (hydrocele) manifest later in life and can result in chronic impairment.

• Not only are these people physically crippled, but they also experience mental, social, and economical losses that contribute to stigma and poverty.

•Lymphatic filariasis can be eradicated by preventing the spread of the infection with preventative chemotherapy using safe drug combinations administered annually.

•The initiative will emphasise on block-level surveillance. ASHAs and paramedical staff will visit schools, offices, banks, industries, and other concentrated locations, followed by door-to-door inspections.

SourceThe Hindu


In News

• The Prime Minister recently coined the word BIMARU in reference to the states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.


• The abbreviation ‘BIMARU’ has been used to indicate that Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have lagged behind in terms of economic growth, healthcare, and education.

What do BIMARU states mean?

• BIMARU translates to “ill” in Hindi. The term was used to emphasise the backwardness, particularly in terms of poor performance on demographic indices and contribute to the population expansion.

•These states had notably high rates of mortality, sickness, illiteracy, fertility, malnutrition, and social inequality, while their per capita income lagged behind.

Ashish Bose created the term in 1980 to describe India’s demographic malady.

•Bose primarily claimed that, from a family planning and population management standpoint, the high population growth rates in these four states were likely to negate the advances made elsewhere in the country.

Role of Bimaru states in Population growth

• According to the important demographic measure Total Fertility Rate (TFR), there are now two distinct Indias, one on the path to reaching replacement levels and the other still a considerable distance away.

• The national aim of achieving “population stabilisation,” or a TFR of 2.1, was recently attained.

• BIMARU states accounted for 41% of India’s total population in 2001 and will account for 43.5% of India’s total population in 2026, which has political ramifications.

•Population also determines the delimitation process and the number of seats allocated to each Indian state in Parliament.

•As of the 1971 census, the seats are proportional to the Indian population. It was halted until 2001 (extended to 2026) so that states may accomplish their family planning objectives.

How has BIMARU been used over time?

  • The BIMARU tag has been used to criticise the parties in power in these states, and also to showcase success in achieving some progress.
  • • In 2012, for the first time in any Plan period, the average growth rate of the five poorest states topped the national average.
  • NITI Aayog’s 2019-20 Health Index also ranked Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh (in highest to lowest order) at the last four positions out of 19 large states.
  • As per IIM Ahmedabad’s study of total and rural government hospitals per million people, all the BIMARU states were below the national average of 20.74 except Rajasthan.


Boost to Border infrastructure focusing China

In News

• Recently, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar briefed Parliament unannounced on India’s projects pertaining to border infrastructure and connectivity.


• The government’s border infrastructure and connectivity projects would prioritise activities in the north and east of India’s 3,488-kilometer border with China (Line of Actual Control or LAC).

•On the Indian side, infrastructure would be improved in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.

  • In addition, the EAM emphasised the importance of focusing on border readiness, including the quality of infrastructure, technologies involved, and upkeep.

•Since 2020, Indian forces no longer have access to 26 of 65 patrolling points along the LAC, according to a report from the official Security Conference.

•The purpose of the briefing is to answer the Opposition’s questions about the India-China situation during the parliamentary session, as well as to assuage the concerns of neighbouring countries in light of the recent drop in share value and credit ratings of the Adani Group, which has been involved closely with the government’s foreign policy forays, particularly in the neighbourhood.

• The timing is particularly significant, as it comes just a few weeks before the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin.

Major highlights:

• The official document highlighted a multi-pronged approach, which included improving connectivity to the LAC via roads, bridges, and tunnels.

• India is also seeking to improve cross-border connectivity to neighbouring countries via highways, bridges, inland waterways, railroads, electricity lines, and fuel pipelines.

• India is modernising and constructing integrated check posts (ICPs) at all border crossings to facilitate trade.

Neighbourhood Projects

• The report mentions dozens of planned, financed, or completed projects in the vicinity, including railway linkages to Nepal and Bangladesh, the Mahakali motorised bridge, and the Maitri Setu between Tripura and Bangladesh.

• India participates in the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP), which consists of a 158 km waterway, the Sittwe port project and road to Mizoram, and South Asia’s first cross-border petroleum products pipeline.

• India is creating a dry port for Bhutan in Pasakha, which borders West Bengal, using a grant from the Indian government.


Government Schemes to strengthen Indian Borders

  • Border Roads Organisation (BRO): It is responsible for creating and maintaining road infrastructure in strategically significant border regions of India, as well as enhancing border control.
  • Bharatmala Pariyojana: It is a centrally-funded scheme that aims to develop 65,000 km of national highways across the country, including in border areas.
  • Border Infrastructure and Management (BIM) – It aims to provide better roads, electricity, and communication infrastructure along the border areas to enhance security.
  • Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) – It intends to enhance border infrastructure, stimulate trade and commerce, and increase security by streamlining freight and passenger flow.
  • Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) – It aims to create a seamless and robust surveillance mechanism along the border areas with the help of advanced technologies.
  • Scheme for Modernisation of State Police Forces (MPF) – It aims to equip state police forces with modern weapons, technologies, and infrastructure to enhance their capability to combat cross-border infiltration and terrorism.
  • Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for the North East (SARDP-NE): It intends to offer all-weather road access to the North Eastern Region to improve the mobility of the military and paramilitary forces, hence enhancing security.


Importance of Border infrastructure:

• Border infrastructure is vital for India’s national security, particularly along its northern and eastern border with China (Line of Actual Control or LAC).

• Enhanced border infrastructure enables India to be more prepared for potential security threats.

• The expansion of infrastructure along the border also improves the connectivity of India’s distant regions with the rest of the country, hence facilitating economic growth and minimising regional inequities.

• The modernization of integrated border checkpoints facilitates trade with neighbouring nations and promotes regional economic cooperation.

• The development of connectivity projects with neighbouring nations such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka strengthens India’s economic and geopolitical ties with these nations.

• Given the ongoing border disputes and confrontations with China, the rapid development of infrastructure along India’s northern borders with China is a strategic need for India.

Challenges of revamping border infrastructure:

  • Harsh terrain: Some border regions have climate conditions that make development and maintenance of infrastructure problematic.
  • Security: Frequently, persistent tensions with neighbouring countries necessitate extra safeguards and delays in construction schedules, which must be factored into project planning.
  • Corpus: Insufficient finance and resources frequently slow down and postpone the execution of projects.
  • .Environmental concerns: It is necessary to strike a balance between development and conservation of natural resources.
  • Geopolitical considerations:  Concerns over China’s regional influence influence decisions regarding where and how to invest in infrastructure.
  • Source: TH