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Marriage v/s Civil Union


In News

  • CJI clarified that the scope of the hearing would be limited to defining a “civil union” that receives legal recognition under the Special Marriage Act.

What is Civil Union?

  • A civil union (also known as a civil partnership) is a legally recognized arrangement comparable to marriage, created primarily to provide same-sex couples with legal recognition.

Civil unions would be accompanied by rights such as inheritance rights, property rights, parental rights, employment benefits for spouses, and the right to refrain from testifying against one’s partner, analogous to the spousal privilege granted by Section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act.

Differences between the Civil Union and Marriage

  • For legal purposes, civil partners cannot refer to themselves as “married,” and married couples cannot refer to themselves as “civil partners.”

A dissolution decree terminates civil partnerships. By obtaining a divorce decree, a marriage is terminated.

  • Civil unions are viewed as a precursor to the formal recognition of the legal right to marry.
  • Following the legalization of same-sex marriages, a number of civil unions have been converted into marriages. In Austria, for instance, same-sex couples could establish civil partnerships between 2010 and 2017. In January 2019, civil union marriages were legalized as a result of a court judgment that deemed civil unions to be discriminatory.

Which other countries allow civil unions?

  • In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) legalized same-sex marriages nationwide with its landmark ruling in “Obergefell v. Hodges”
  • Beginning in 1993, couples in Norway had the right to enter into civil unions. Fifteen years later, a new law permitted such couples to marry, adopt children, and undergo state-sponsored artificial insemination.
  • Similarly, countries such as Brazil, Uruguay, Andorra, and Chile recognized the right of same-sex couples to form civil unions prior to recognizing their legal right to marriage.



Special Marriage Act of 1954

  • About:
  •  In India, all marriages can be registered under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, the Muslim Marriage Act of 1954, or the Special Marriage Act of 1954.
  • The Special Marriage Act, 1954 is an act of the Indian Parliament that provides for civil marriage between Indian citizens and Indian nationals abroad, regardless of the religion or faith practiced by either party.
  • Couples are required to provide the Marriage Officer with a notice along with the necessary documents thirty days prior to the intended date of the marriage.
  • Applicability: 

·        Any individual, regardless of religion.

·        Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, and Jews may also administer marriages under the Special Marriage Act of 1954.

·        Under this Act, interreligious marriages are performed.

·        This Act applies to the entire territory of India and to intending spouses residing abroad who are both Indian nationals.

Source: IE

International Day for Monuments and Sites

GS1 Art and Culture GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions Education

In Context

  • World Heritage Day/International Day for Monuments and Sites is observed annually on April 18th.

More about the World Heritage Day

  • About:

o World Heritage Day, also known as the International Day for Monuments and Sites, is a yearly event celebrated on April 18th.

  • Significance:
  • It is observed to bring attention to the significance of cultural heritage and to honor the diversity of our shared human history.
  • This day is dedicated to the preservation of human heritage and the recognition of the organizations that support it.
  • Ancient structures and monuments are a global and national asset. Therefore, World Heritage Day represents an international endeavor to preserve cultural heritage.
  • Theme:
  • “Heritage Changes” is the theme for World Heritage Day 2023.
  • Every year, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) proposes a theme for activities to be organized by its members and associates, as well as anyone else who wishes to participate in commemorating the day.
  • Each year, a different theme is highlighted, and events and activities are held all over the globe to promote the protection and preservation of cultural heritage.


  • History of the day:
  • The day was established by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in Tunisia in 1982 during a seminar and subsequently approved by the United Nations General Assembly at the 22nd session of the UNESCO Conference in 1983.
  • ICOMOS was founded on the principles outlined in the 1964 International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites, also known as the Venice Charter.


About Monuments of National Importance (MNI) of India

  • About:
  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is officially responsible for preserving the MNIs in accordance with The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 2010 (AMASR Act 2010).
  • Issues:
  • According to a 2013 audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General, 24 “untraceable” monuments continue to be considered MNIs. Due to a lack of adequate documentation, the actual number may be higher.
  • This and other problems with India’s monuments are discussed in a recent government report titled ‘Report on Monuments of National Importance: The Urgent Need for Rationalization’.
  • The report identifies various problems with India’s MNIs and suggests ways to fix them.

Report on Monuments of National Importance: The Urgent Need for Rationalization

  • The report identifiesthree main problems with the MNIs:
    • Selection issues;
    • Uneven distribution of national monuments across the country; and
    • Inadequate funding for the protection of MNIs.
  • Selection issues:
  • The criteria based on which a number of monuments were deemed to be of national importance is a key issue with the current list of monuments, with nearly 2,584 monuments in the current list having been shifted en masse from colonial era lists, with most never having been reviewed for cultural significance, historical relevance, or even national importance, over the years.
  • The report calls for these monuments to be visited and reevaluated in order to be placed on the th list.
  • Neither the AMASR Act of 1958 nor the National Policy for Conservation of 2014 define “national importance” adequately.
  • In the absence of clearly articulated criteria, the selection procedure is somewhat arbitrary.
  • Geographically skewed distribution of monuments:
  • Another overarching issue with the current MNI list is the unbalanced distribution of MNIs geographically.
  • Nearly 60% of them (2,238 out of 3,695) are located in only five states: Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.While it is possible that a historically significant city such as Delhi will have a cluster of sites, large forts, and palaces that count as one site, this does not explain why culturally and historically significant states such as Bihar (70), Odisha (80), Chhattisgarh (46), and Kerala (29) have disproportionately fewer MNIs.
  • Inadequate expenditure for the protection of MNIs:
  • India’s total expenditure on MNIs is insufficient for the maintenance of these monumental structures.
  • Furthermore, there is an imbalance in the distribution of these resources across the country, and a significant component of the allocated funds are spent on peripheral activities and annual maintenance.




The remedies & way ahead

  •  Following the identification of the issues, the report provides some recommendations.
  • Review and rationalize the list:
  • To begin with, the ASI should periodically examine and rationalize the existing list. Additionally, it should disseminate a list of notifications containing detailed information about the monuments that make the list.
  • Delegation of work:
  • Another essential recommendation is that the ASI should transfer responsibility for the protection and maintenance of each monument to the respective states and declassify any antiquities that stand alone.
  • These artifacts can be transferred to a museum.
  • Increasing funds:
  •  Efforts should be made to retain the revenue generated from tickets, events, fees, and other sources.
  • Defining criteria for MNIs:
  • The ASI should also develop an exhaustive list of criteria and procedures for designating a monument as an MNI.
  • significance and provenance in terms of history;
  • geographical description;
  • cultural and architectural significance;
  • significance in the evolution of civilization or culture; and
  • significance as a source of inspiration or instruction.

Source: IE


2023 Animal Birth Control Regulations

GS 2 Government Policies & Interventions GS 3 Economics of Animal-rearing

In News

  • In accordance with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 and after repealing the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules of 2001, the Central Government has enacted the Animal Birth Control Rules.

Key highlights of Rules

  • The respective local bodies/municipalities/municipal corporations and panchayats are responsible for the sterilization and immunization of stray dogs as part of the Animal Birth Control Programme. • The Animal Birth Control Programme must be carried out by an AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India)-recognized organization.
  • Municipal Corporations must implement both the ABC and Anti-Rabies Programs simultaneously.
  • Furthermore, the cruelty involved in implementing the ABC program must be addressed.The Rules also provide guidelines for resolving conflicts between humans and stray canines without relocating the dogs.


  • It will help in reducing the stray dog population addressing the animal welfare issues.
  • It also addresses new challenges such as cat population management and resolution of conflict.

Issue of stray dogs 

More than 300 individuals, mostly minors from poor and rural families, have been killed by stray dogs in India over the past five years.

  • Even worse, canines are responsible for over 20,000 rabies-related fatalities.

Other Steps taken by government 

  • Vaccination campaigns to protect strays from maladies like rabies. For example, the 2020 vaccination campaign in Chennai
  • Collaboration with Maharashtra-based NGOs such as the Blue Cross Society to conduct sterilization and vaccination campaigns for stray canines.
  • Government of Delhi awareness campaigns such as “Be a Human, Save a Life” to encourage people to adopt stray canines and help control their population.


Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA), 1960

  •  It is the first law enacted to secure the rights of animals and shield them from pain and suffering inflicted by humans.
  • Definition:
  • The Act has expanded the definition of “animal” to include all non-human life forms as well as various animal species.
  • Offences & punishments:
  • • In order to protect animals from a lifetime of anguish and pain, the Act stipulates punishments for those who cause unnecessary suffering and animal cruelty.
  • The Animal Cruelty Act goes on to describe various forms of animal cruelty, its exceptions, and the procedure for euthanizing an ailing animal when cruelty has been committed in order to prevent further suffering for that animal.
  • Guidelines for experimenting on an animals:
  • The Act underlines the guidelines to be followed while experimenting on an animal for scientific purposes and exhibition of performing animals along with their offences.
  • Animal Welfare Board of India:
  •  Among the provisions of the Act is the establishment of the Animal Welfare Board of India (henceforth AWBI).

Source: PIB


GS 2 Health GS 3 Science & Technology

In News

  • At least one person was confirmed or suspected to be infected with blastomycosis in the United States, resulting in at least one death.


  • About: 
  •  This infection is caused by the fungus Blastomyces. The fungus resides in the environment, specifically in moist soil and decaying organic matter such as wood and foliage.
  • Transmission: 
  • Blastomycosis is contracted by inhaling microscopic fungal spores from the air.
  • Blastomycosis does not transmit between humans or between humans and animals via the air. In exceedingly rare instances, blastomycosis has been transmitted between infected humans or animals via needlesticks, bites, or sexual contact.
  • Symptoms:
  • Fever, Cough, Night sweats, Muscle aches or joint pain.
  • Prevention:
  • There is no vaccine against blastomycosis. Itraconazole is an antifungal medication used to treat mild to moderate blastomycosis.

Source: DTE

Wheat Blast

GS 3 Agriculture

In News

  • A new study indicates that wheat, the most important food commodity in the world, is threatened by a pandemic of blast disease.

What is Wheat Blast?

  • Wheat blast is a fungal disease that affects tropical and subtropical wheat production.Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype Triticum (MoT) is the causative agent. In 1985, it was identified in Brazil.
  • The fungus infects both native and cultivated grasses, including rice and wheat in particular.
  • It spreads through infected seeds, crop residues, and spores that can travel long distances in the air. • It spread to main wheat-producing regions in the United States and then to Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina in South America.Bangladesh reported the first incidence of this pathogenic wheat blast in Asia in 2016.

About Wheat

  • It is India’s primary cereal crop. After rice, it is the second most significant cereal crop in India.
  • The wheat cultivated in India’s central and western regions is typically tough, with a high protein and gluten content.
  • Rabi Crop is sown between October and December and harvested between April and June.
  • Temperature: Between 233°C, and between 16-20°C for optimal tillering.
  • Rainfall: 50 cm to 100 cm rainfall.
  • Soil Type: Clay loam or loam soils with adequate structure and moderate water retention are ideal for wheat cultivation.
  • Wheat cultivating states in India: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat.

Source: Firstpost