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Foreign lawyers, firms can operate in India: Bar Council

GS 2 Executive & Judiciary

In Context

  • The Bar Council of India recently authorised foreign lawyers and law firms to practise in India.
  • In 2022, the Bar Council of India published the Rules for Registration and Regulation of Foreign Lawyers and Foreign Law Firms in India.

About the Rules

  • A foreign attorney registered in accordance with the rules may only practise law in India in non-litigious matters.
  • Foreign attorneys and law firms must register with BCI in order to practise law in India if they are licenced to do so in their home countries.
  • However, they are prohibited from appearing before any courts, tribunals, or other statutory or regulatory authorities.
  • Section 29 of the Advocates Act stipulates that only BCI-registered advocates may practise law.
  • On a reciprocal basis, they are permitted to practise transactional/corporate law, including joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property matters, contract drafting, and other related matters.


  • These rules will assist in addressing the apprehensions regarding the influx of FDI into the country and in establishing India as a centre for international commercial arbitration.
  • Numerous nations have already permitted foreign attorneys to practise foreign law, as well as diverse international legal issues and arbitration matters, in restricted fields and under specific conditions.
Bar Council of India (BCI)


    •  Under section 4 of the Advocates Act of 1961, the BCI is a statutory body that regulates legal practise and legal education in India.
    • Its members are elected from among Indian attorneys and, as such, it represents the Indian bar.


·         It prescribes professional conduct standards.

·         It also establishes standards for legal education

·         It grants universities recognition for law degrees

·         It protects the rights, privileges, and interests of advocates o It promotes and supports law reform

·         It handles and disposes of any matter referred by a State Bar Council

·         It organises and provides legal aid to the poor

·         Recognize foreign legal credentials earned outside of India for admission as an advocate.


·          It is comprised of members elected from each state bar council, as well as the Attorney General and Solicitor General of India as ex officio members.

·         The members of the council elect their own chairman and vice-chairman for a two-year term.



Procedure for the inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list

GS 2 Polity and Governance

In the News

  • Recently, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs responded to a question in the Rajya Sabha, which raised concerns about the need for a revision in the criteria and procedure for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list.
Who are Scheduled Tribes?

·         The framers of the Constitution were cognizant of the fact that certain regions of the country suffered from extreme social, educational, and economic backwardness due to primitive agricultural practises, a lack of infrastructure facilities, and geographical isolation.

·         Article 366 (25) of the Constitution of India defines Scheduled Tribes as those tribes or tribal communities that are presumed to be Scheduled Tribes under Article 342.

o   Scheduled Tribes – The President may, with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, designate tribes or tribal communities, or portions or groups within tribes or tribal communities, as Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State or Union Territory.

·         (2) Parliament may, by law, include or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any tribe or tribal community or part or group within any tribe or tribal community; provided, however, that a notification issued under said clause shall not be altered by a subsequent notification.

The current procedure and criteria for inclusion

  • According to the inclusion criteria first outlined in 1999, the inclusion proposal must originate from the respective State or Union Territory administration.

o Following this, the proposal is forwarded to the Office of the Registrar General of India by the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry (ORGI).

  • The proposal is sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes if the ORGI approves the inclusion.

o The ORGI continues to use the Lokur Committee’s 1965 criteria to determine whether a community can be added to the ST list.

These criteria include signs of primitive characteristics, a unique culture, geographical isolation, reluctance to interact with the larger community, and backwardness.

  • The proposal to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, will be presented to the Cabinet only after receiving the approval of these institutions.
  • The final decision rests with the President’s office, which is responsible for issuing a notification outlining the changes authorised by Articles 341 and 342.

Benefits of Inclusion in ST List / Constitutional Safeguards

  • Article 15(4) of the Constitution provides for reservation in educational institutions, while Article 16(4), 16(4A), and 16(4B) of the Constitution provide for reservation in posts and services.
  • Article 244 read with the provisions contained in the Fifth and Sixth Schedules to the Constitution provides for specific safeguards.
  • Article 243D provides for reservation of seats for scheduled tribes in panchayats.


  • Both the procedure and criteria for the inclusion of communities had been strongly criticised by an internal government task force formed in February 2014, for being “obsolete”, “condescending”, “dogmatic” and “rigid”.
  • The committee, led by then-Tribal Affairs Secretary Hrusikesh Panda had also said that the procedure as it was being followed was “cumbersome” and “defeats the Constitutional agenda for affirmative action and inclusion”.
  •  The task force had concluded that these criteria and procedures were resulting in the exclusion of or delays in the inclusion of nearly 40 communities across the country.

Government Stands 

  • The Tribal Affairs Ministry insisted that the current procedure for inclusion of communities in the Scheduled Tribes list was “adequate”.

Supreme Court’s Observations

  • In March 2022, the Supreme Court said it wanted to fix fool-proof parameters to determine if a person belongs to a Scheduled Tribe. It referred this matter to a larger bench.
·         How many Scheduled Tribes are there officially?

According to the Scheduled Tribes in India as revealed by the 2011 Census, 705 ethnic groups are listed as Scheduled Tribes in accordance with Article 342. Over 10 billion Indians are classified as Scheduled Tribes, of which 1.04 billion live in urban areas. 8.6% of the population and 11.3% of the rural population are STs.


What is the McMahon line?

GS 2 India & Foreign Relations

In News

  • Two United States Senators have introduced a resolution affirming that the United States recognises the McMahon Line as the international boundary between China and India in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The resolution restates India’s long-held position that Arunachal Pradesh, which China refers to as “South Tibet,” is an integral part of India.

What is the McMahon Line?

  • In the Eastern Sector, the McMahon Line serves as the de facto border between China and India. It is the precise border between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, extending from Bhutan in the west to Myanmar in the east. China has historically contested the border and asserts that Arunachal Pradesh is a part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).


  • During the Simla Convention of 1914, also known as the Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet, the McMahon Line was established. Sir Henry McMahon, then Foreign Secretary of the Government of British India, established the McMahon Line, which bears his name.
  • The government of the Republic of China, which ruled the Chinese mainland from 1912 to 1949, represented China at the convention.

What is the Shimla Treaty?

  • According to the Shimla Treaty, the McMahon Line clearly separates India and China. The British rulers of India considered Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, and the southern portion of Tibet to be part of India, and the Tibetans agreed. As a result, the Arunachal Pradesh region of Tawang became a part of India.

Why doesn’t China accept the McMahon Line?

  • According to China, Tibet has always been a part of its territory; therefore, Tibet’s representatives are not permitted to accept any agreement without Chinese approval. In 1950, China occupied Tibet completely. China has neither approved nor accepted the McMahon Line at this time.
  • China also argues that since it was not a party to the Simla Agreement, it is not bound by the Shimla Agreement. China did not claim Arunachal Pradesh until 1950, after the occupation of Tibet.

India’s stand on McMahon Line

  • India believes that when the McMahon Line was established in 1914, Tibet was a weak but independent nation; therefore, it has every right to negotiate a border agreement with any nation. When the McMahon Line was drawn, Tibet was not under Chinese control. The McMahon Line is therefore the clear and legal boundary between India and China.
  • Even after the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1950, Tawang remained an integral part of India.

Current status on the McMahon Line

  • India recognises the McMahon Line and considers it the “Actual Line of Control (LAC)” between India and China, while China does not. China asserts that the disputed territory spans a distance of 2,000 kilometres, while India asserts that it spans 4,000 kilometres.
  • India and China have a land dispute in Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), which China considers to be the southern portion of Tibet. According to the Shimla Agreement, it is a part of Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian state.

Image: India-China disputed areas


Parliament committee slams Budget cuts for MGNREGS

GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions

In Context

  • Recently, a parliamentary committee expressed concern regarding budget cuts to the MGNREGA programme.
  • The Committee is alarmed to learn that the MGNREGS budget estimates for 2023-24 have been reduced by Rs 29,400 crore compared to the revised estimates for 2022-23.


  • The MGNREGA budget increased from 2020-21 to 2022-23 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and job and real income losses.
  • According to the government, the reduced MGNREGA budget is based on the assumption that the economy has fully recovered from the pandemic and the Ukraine conflict.

What is MGNREGA?

  • About:
    • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005, is a flagship rural job scheme of the Indian government aimed at providing employment opportunities to the rural poor.
    • On average, every day approx. 1.5 crore people work under it at almost 14 lakh sites.
    • The Act provides a legal right to employment for adult members of rural households.
    • At least one-third of beneficiaries have to be women. Wages must be paid according to the wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
  • Aim:
    • To enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • Funding:
    • It is shared between the Centre and the States.
    • The Central Government bears 100 per cent of the cost of unskilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of semi-skilled and skilled labour, 75 percent of the cost of materials and 6 percent of the administrative costs.
  • Time-Bound Guarantee of Work: 
    • Employment must be provided within 15 days of being demanded to fail which an ‘unemployment allowance’ must be given.
  • Decentralised Planning: 
    • Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are primarily responsible for planning, implementation and monitoring of the works that are undertaken.
    • Gram Sabhas must recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50 per cent of the works must be executed by them.
  • Transparency and Accountability:
    • There are provisions for proactive disclosure through wall writings, Citizen Information Boards, Management Information Systems and social audits (conducted by Gram Sabhas).


  • It is a social security scheme to generate employment for the rural poor and ensure livelihood for people in rural areas.
  • The scheme sees large-scale participation of women, Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and other traditionally marginalised sections of society.
  • It increases the wage rate in rural areas and strengthens the rural economy through the creation of infrastructure assets.
  • It facilitates sustainable development which is very clear by its contribution in the direction of water conservation.
  • Over the last 15 years, three crore assets related to water conservation have been created through the rural jobs scheme with the potential to conserve more than 2,800 crore cubic metres of water.


AUKUS Alliance

GS 2 India & Foreign Relations

In News

  • As part of AUKUS, the leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States recently met at a US naval base.


  • AUKUS is a new trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States for the Indo-Pacific (AUKUS).
  • Under the terms of the agreement, the United States and the United Kingdom will assist Australia in acquiring conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines.
  • In addition, the agreement includes cooperation on advanced cyber, artificial intelligence and autonomy, quantum technologies, undersea capabilities, hypersonic and counter-hypersonic, electronic warfare, innovation, and information sharing.


  • The AUKUS partnership is signed to strengthen Australia’s naval power in the Indo-Pacific region as a challenge to China’s regional hegemonic aspirations.
  • The operationalization of this security partnership will result in enhanced military coordination among the region’s participating nations.
  • The encirclement of India by China can be mitigated in part by AUKUS.
  • India may derive secondary advantages from possessing world-class military expertise in the region.



  • Many of Australia’s regional allies, including Indonesia, oppose the country’s use of nuclear attack submarines.
  • Virginia-class submarines are the world’s most powerful in terms of capabilities, and many U.S. policymakers are sceptical about the sale.
  • Integration of three distinct systems will be challenging.
  • The United States’ stringent export control and protocol regime could jeopardise the technology transfer agreement, especially in the areas of undersea capabilities and electronic warfare.

Implications for India:

  • The submarines offer India a tremendous opportunity for coordination during joint military exercises;
  • India could obtain a better deal from the French, who are displeased that Australia cancelled its submarine order.
  • A proliferation of nuclear attack submarines in the Eastern Indian Ocean has the potential to erode India’s regional preeminence.

Source: IE

Right to Repair

GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions

In News

  • The Indian government establishes a committee to develop a framework for the Right to Repair


  • A committee has been established by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Department of Consumer Affairs to develop a comprehensive framework for the Right to Repair in India.
  • The committee intends to generate employment through the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative and by emphasising the LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) movement.

The initiative aims to construct a collaborative ecosystem centred on the consumer in order to increase reparability and promote transparency.

  • Previously, in the United States, in 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that stipulated restrictions on how technology manufacturers could restrict repairs.

What is Right to repair?

  • It refers to government regulations prohibiting manufacturers from imposing barriers that prevent consumers from repairing consumer products.
  • Farming equipment, mobile phones/tablets, durable consumer goods, and automobiles/automotive equipment are among the identified sectors for the right to repair.
  • The government has launched a unified portal,, to facilitate access to overhauling services for leading brands and reputable third-party technicians.
  • Leading brands such as Samsung, Honda, Kent RO Systems, Havells, Hewlett-Packard, and Hero MotoCorp have joined the portal.
  • The portal intends to facilitate transactions between original equipment manufacturers and third-party vendors.
  • The right to repair has been recognised in numerous nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union.

Importance of Right to repair for India

  • Reducing electronic waste: India is one of the world’s largest producers of electronic waste, and the right to repair can aid in the reduction of e-waste by extending the lifespan of electronic devices and appliances.
  • Lowering costs for consumers: By granting consumers access to third-party technicians, the right to repair can reduce costs for those who cannot afford costly repairs or replacement devices.
  • Promoting transparency and collaboration: The framework for the right to repair aims to develop a consumer-centric ecosystem that promotes transparency and collaboration between manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
  • Supporting small businesses: The right to repair can also support small businesses that provide repair services, by creating a level playing field with manufacturers who may have previously had a monopoly on repairs.
  • Empowering consumers: By giving consumers the ability to repair their own devices or choose where to have them repaired, the right to repair empowers consumers to make informed choices and take control of their own devices.

Challenges of implementing right to repair in India

  • Lack of Awareness: A lack of consumer awareness regarding their rights to repair and the benefits of repairing their devices has led to a lack of demand for repair services, thereby impeding the expansion of the repair industry.
  • Limited Access to Information: Many manufacturers do not provide adequate information to consumers about repair options or how to repair devices, which can make it difficult for consumers to exercise their right to repair.
  • Limited Availability of Spare Parts: The availability of spare parts is often limited in India, particularly for older or less common models of devices makes it difficult for repair technicians to perform repairs or for consumers to find reliable repair services.
  • Opposition from Manufacturers: Some manufacturers may oppose the right to repair on the grounds that it could jeopardise their intellectual property rights or lead to safety concerns, thereby making it difficult to pass legislation or regulations supporting the right to repair.
  • Lack of Regulation: There is currently no comprehensive regulation governing the right to repair in India, which can lead to confusion among consumers and repair technicians regarding their rights and responsibilities and may hinder the expansion of the repair industry.

What more can be done?

  • The government can increase reparability by promoting transparency through collaboration and the development of a consumer-centric ecosystem.
  • Manufacturing companies can reduce costs and extend the shelf life of devices, equipment, and household appliances.
  • Empowering consumers via transitions to clean energy on World Consumer Rights Day 2023.
  • Prohibiting manufacturers from erecting obstacles that prevent consumers from repairing consumer products.
  • Streamlining transactions between original equipment manufacturers and aftermarket vendors.
  • Seeking to address the problem of planned obsolescence and the electronic waste it generates in the country.


  • As electronic waste increases in India, the right to repair becomes more important than ever. Already, leading brands have joined the unified portal, and the government is taking steps to entice more companies to join.
  • The right to repair will not only benefit consumers, but it will also promote a circular economy and reduce e-waste.

Source: LM

What is GPT-4 and how is it different from ChatGPT?

GS 3 Science & Technology

In News

  • OpenAI has announced GPT4, the latest version of its large language model that powers key applications like ChatGPT and the new Bing.

What is ChatGPT?

  • The artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT was developed in 2022 by the San Francisco-based AI research company OpenAI. It is a trained model that converses in a natural manner.
  • The dialogue structure allows you to respond to follow-up questions, admit your mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and decline inappropriate requests.
  • It can converse on topics ranging from history to philosophy, generate lyrics, and suggest code modifications.

Technology Used

  • The second half of ChatGPT’s name, GPT, which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, refers to the technology underlying the programme.
  • Transformers are specialised algorithms for discovering long-distance patterns in data sequences.
  • A transformer learns to predict not only the following word in a sentence, but also the following sentence in a paragraph and the following paragraph in an essay. This is what allows it to remain on-topic throughout lengthy passages of text.

Shortcomings of the Previous Models

  • The chatbot isn’t always accurate: Their sources are not fact-checked, and human feedback is used to improve their accuracy. They can also mix up the facts and spread false information.
  • GPT-3 and ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 were restricted to textual input and output, which meant they could only read and write.
  •  GPT-3 and GPT-3.5 only supported a single mode, text, so users could only submit questions via typing.

What is GPT-4?

  • GPT-4 is a large multimodal model, meaning it can incorporate inputs other than text and images.
  • GPT-4 demonstrates human-level performance on a variety of academic and professional benchmarks.
  • For instance, it can answer tax-related questions, schedule a meeting between three busy individuals, and learn the creative writing style of the user.
  • GPT-4 is also capable of processing more than 25,000 words of text, thereby expanding the number of use cases to include long-form content creation, document search and analysis, and extended conversations.

How is GPT-4 different from GPT-3?

  • GPT-4 can see images now: GPT-3 and ChatGPT’s GPT-3.5 were limited to textual input and output, whereas GPT-4 is able to receive images and produce information accordingly.
  • GPT-4 can process significantly more data simultaneously.
  • GPT-4 has an improved accuracy: GPT-4 reduces hallucinations significantly compared to earlier models and scores 40% higher than GPT-3.5 on factuality evaluations.
  • Hard to trick: It will be considerably more difficult to manipulate GPT-4 to produce undesirable outputs such as hate speech and misinformation.
  • Better at understanding languages other than English: GPT-4 is more multilingual which means that users will be able to use chatbots based on GPT-4 to produce outputs with greater clarity and higher accuracy in their native languages.


Eurasian Otter

GS 3 Species in News

In News

  • Recently, scientists from Jammu captured a photograph of the semi-aquatic carnivorous mammal in a Chenab river tributary.


  • The family Mustelidae consists of thirteen species of otters. Except for Australia and Antarctica, they inhabit every continent.
  • The range of the Eurasian otter is the largest of any Palearctic mammal.
  • The species is considered a pest in India, China, and Nepal, and its populations have decreased due to hunting for food and fur, habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.
  • The IUCN Red List categorises the Eurasian otter as “near threatened.”
  • It is considered a flagship species and an indicator of pristine aquatic habitats.





·          It is a zoogeographic region that consists of Eurasia north of the Himalayas, North Africa, and the temperate portion of the Arabian peninsula.



Internationalisation of the Indian Rupee

GS 3 Indian Economy & Related Issues

In News 

  • RBI Deputy Governor emphasizes the need for better rupee volatility management to deal with risks of internationalization.


  • The Reserve Bank of India is working to reduce the dollar’s use in order to stabilise the rupee. • One of the initiatives permits international trade to be invoiced in Indian rupees as opposed to dollars and other major currencies.
  • In addition to allowing Indian traders to use special Vostro accounts for settling their rupee-denominated trade invoices, the RBI has also established India’s rupee trade settlement mechanism to attract more countries.
  • Russia is the first nation to open a Rupee Vostro account, followed by Sri Lanka and Mauritius, which are anticipated to use the Indian rupee trade settlement mechanism.
  • The scope of participation in foreign exchange markets would change as the economy grows and becomes more developed.
  • As global integration increases, a greater number of entities are likely to be exposed to foreign exchange risks.

What is Internationalisation of Indian Rupee?

  • It refers to the process of making the Indian rupee an internationally accepted currency, comparable to the U.S. dollar, the euro, and the Japanese yen, etc.
  • This process aims to promote India’s economic growth and development by increasing the use of the rupee in cross-border transactions, foreign investment, and global trade.
  • It necessitates the liberalisation of India’s capital account, which entails the unrestricted flow of capital into and out of the country.

Advantages of Internationalization of rupee

  • Increased global acceptance: Internationalization of the rupee can increase its global acceptance, which can lead to more international transactions being conducted in the rupee, thereby reducing the demand for foreign currencies and reducing exchange rate risks.
  • Reduced transaction costs: Internationalization of the rupee can reduce transaction costs for Indian businesses as they will not have to incur exchange rate fees for converting rupees into foreign currencies for international transactions.
  • Boost to trade and investment: Internationalization of the rupee can promote trade and investment by making it easier for foreign businesses to invest in India and for Indian businesses to invest abroad.
  • Enhanced competitiveness: A more freely traded rupee can enhance India’s competitiveness in global markets by allowing the currency to reflect the country’s economic fundamentals and reducing the need for the Reserve Bank of India to intervene in currency markets.
  • Diversification of reserves: Internationalization of the rupee can diversify India’s foreign exchange reserves away from a concentration in US dollars, reducing the risks associated with holding a single currency.

Challenges of Internationalisation of rupee:

  • Exchange rate volatility: It is the primary challenge of internationalising the rupee as it can create risks for businesses and investors that operate in multiple currencies, leading to uncertainty and higher transaction costs.
  • Integration with global financial markets: It requires integration with global financial markets, which can pose challenges in terms of regulatory compliance, market infrastructure, and investor protection.
  • Limited liquidity: The rupee is not yet a widely traded currency, which means there is limited liquidity in global markets making it difficult for investors to buy and sell rupee-denominated assets, which can limit the attractiveness of the currency.
  • Underdeveloped financial markets: India’s financial markets are still relatively underdeveloped compared to other major economies, which can limit the range of products and services available to international investors.
  • Regulatory challenges: It requires a supportive regulatory environment that balances the need for openness with the need for financial stability and regulatory oversigh which is challenging to achieve, especially given the complexities of global financial markets.

Steps taken to promote the internationalisation of the Indian rupee

  • Liberalisation of capital account: The RBI has progressively relaxed restrictions on capital flows to and from India, thereby facilitating greater cross-border investment and trade.
  • Promotion of offshore rupee markets: The RBI has allowed Indian banks to participate in the offshore non-deliverable market for rupee derivatives, which has facilitated the development of offshore rupee markets.
  • Currency swap agreements: The RBI has signed currency swap agreements with several countries, which allow for the exchange of rupee and foreign currency between the central banks of the two countries.
  • Promotion of rupee-denominated bonds: The government has allowed Indian companies to issue rupee-denominated bonds in international markets, which has helped to increase the demand for the rupee.
  • Bilateral trade agreements: The government has signed several bilateral trade agreements with other countries, which has facilitated greater cross-border trade and investment and increased the use of the rupee in international transactions.

Way ahead

  • There is need for careful planning and coordination between policymakers, market participants, and regulators to ensure a smooth and successful transition towards the internationalisation of the Indian rupee.
  • Overall, increase in the international use of the Indian rupee will go a long way in positioning India as a more attractive destination for foreign investment and trade.

Source: TH