Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 10th July 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. Gujarat Detention Law in delhi

  2. Restoring WTO’s Crown Jewel

  3. LVM 3 – The other ISRO rocket

  4. Forest Conservation Act, 1980

  5. Turtles help clean the Ganga




Gujarat Detention Law in delhi


  • Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has cleared a proposal for extension of the Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 1985 to Delhi.
    • He has sent the proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • A proposal from Home Department to LG seeking issuance of notification under Section 2 of the Union Territories (laws) Act, 1950 for extending the Gujarat Law to the city.
    • A similar law from Telangana has also been examined, but ultimately decided to go with Gujarat’s law.
  • The law department observed that the Administrative Department must comply with the Government of National Capital territory of Delhi – GNCTD (Amendment ) Ordinance, 2023 and provisions of Transaction of Business Rules, 1993, which state that draft must be sent to MHA.
  • What does the law say:
  • The law provides for the preventive detention of,
    • Bootleggers,
    • Drug peddlers,
    • Dangerous persons,
    • Immoral traffic offenders and
    • Property grabbers.



Restoring WTO’s Crown Jewel

    • In June 2022, the member-countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) managed to hammer out a face-saving deal — India played a vital role — at the Geneva ministerial conference, thereby keeping faith in trade multilateralism alive. 
      • An important part was resurrecting the WTO’s dispute settlement system (DSS), also called WTO’s ‘crown jewel’, by 2024. Since 2019, the WTO’s two-tiered DSS remains paralysed.
      • The appellate body, which is the second tier of the WTO’s DSS that hears appeals from WTO panels, is non-functional because the United States, single-handedly, has blocked the appointment of its members.
      • The appellate body, from 1995-2019, has upheld the international rule of law by holding powerful countries such as the U.S. and the European Union accountable for international law breaches. 
      • However, the appellate body has become a victim of its success. Its one-time supporter, the U.S., has become its most acerbic critic.

What is the Issue:

  • The U.S. reproaches the appellate body for judicial overreach and exceeding its assigned institutional mandate. Thus it argues that till the time the appellate body’s role is defined precisely, it cannot be resurrected. 
    • One major problem that the U.S. identifies is that the appellate body, contrary to the text of the WTO’s dispute settlement understanding (DSU), has been creating binding precedents through its decisions.
    • It is well-established that there is no rule of stare decisis — i.e., no rule of precedent in international law.
    • The WTO’s DSU also makes this clear in Article 3.2 by stating that the appellate body rulings can neither add nor diminish the rights and obligations of WTO member-countries.
  • However, the same Article also says: “The dispute settlement system of the WTO is a central element in providing security and predictability to the multilateral trading system.”
    • Thus, it is incumbent on the appellate body to ensure that there is consistency in the interpretation and application of the WTO agreements without creating a binding precedent.
    • This requires striking a fine balance — precisely what the appellate body has tried to do. It has encouraged the WTO panels to rely on previous interpretations especially where the issues are the same.
  • Simultaneously, the appellate body has clarified that a departure can be made from the previous rulings and reasoning if there are “cogent reasons”. 
    • The argument that this means that the appellate body is following a system of precedent in the sense it is followed in the common law system is tantamount to vastly overstating the case.
    • Moreover, the appellate body is not the only international court that follows its previous decisions. Other international courts such as the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea also follow past decisions unless there are valid reasons not to do so. 
    • At any rate, it has been proposed that the WTO member-countries can adopt a statement that the appellate body rulings do not create precedents. However, it will not satisfy the U.S.

De-judicialisation of trade and multilateralism:

  • The larger game plan of the U.S. seems to be the de-judicialisation of trade multilateralism as we know it.
  • The WTO was created in a world that was resplendent with the neoliberal consensus that emerged after the Cold War and the collapse of communism. 
  • This period saw not only the legalisation of international relations (states accepting precise international law standards to judge their behaviour and delegating this power to judge to international courts) but also its judicialisation (the expansion of international courts and tribunals that dominate decision-making in place of national actors). 
  • This, arguably, erodes the sovereignty of nations as they lose control over critical decision-making.
  • Given the emerging geo-economic challenges posed by a rising China, the U.S. wants to exercise full power over its trade policies, throwing off the shackles of the appellate body’s judicial review. 
  • This de-Judicialisation should not be confused with exerting political oversight over the appellate body to improve its working.While Washington has identified multiple problems with the DSS, it has seldom offered constructivesuggestions.



LVM 3 – The other ISRO rocket

    • The Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) has three classes of launch vehicles,
      • The Polar satellite Launch vehicle – PSLV
      • The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
      • New Small Satellite Launch vehicle (SSLV)
    • Of these ISRO has launched PSLV the most, which has a famous reputation as the workhorse of ISRO with a very low failure rate.
      • PSLV can lift upto 3.8 tonnes to Low earth Orbit.
    • ISRO developed and uses GSLV to launch heavier payloads, and if required into higher orbits.
      • Like PSLV, GSLV also has multiple configurations among which LVM 3 or Launch Vehicl Mark 3, is the most powerful which can lift upto 10 tonnes to low earth Orbit.

Launch vehicle Mark 3:

  • It has three stages, where the first stage (bottom) is in the form of two S200 boosters strappedto the sides of the rocket body.
    • They combust a solid fuel called hydroxyl – terminated polybutadiene.
  • The second stage is powered by two Vikas engines, which combust a liquid fuel, either nitrogen tetroxide or unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine.
  • The upper most final stage is powered by a cryogenic engine.It combusts liquified hydrogen with liquified Oxygen
    • Hydrogen has a very high specific impulse as rocket fuels go, but using it as a fuel in engine requires it to be liquified first, which in turn means it must be stored at a very low temperature and with special pumping and transportation system.



Forest Conservation Act, 1980


  • A Parliamentary committee set up to examine the controversial proposed amendments to the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, has endorsed the Bill in its entirety.
    • A 31 member joint committee chaired by MP Rajendra Agarwalon the Forest (Conservation ) Amendment Bill, 2023 has submitted its report.

The Purpose of the Act:

  • The bill seeks to amend the 1980 law which was enacted to ensure that India’s forest land is not wantonly usurped for non-forestry purpose.
  • It empowers the Centre to require that any forest land diverted for the non forestry purpose be duly compensated.
  • It also extends its remit to land which is not officially classified as “forest” in State or Union government records.

Proposed Changes in the Law:

  • The act has been amended several times in the past few decades- mostly in spirit of bringing larger tracts of forest like land under state protection.
    • The present amendment focuses on removing ambiguities and bring clarity about the applicability of the Act in various lands.
  • Construction of Highways, hydel power projects and other such projects in geographically sensitive areas within 100 km of international borders or the Line of Control will no longer require a forest clearance.
  • A proposal to change the name of the 1980 law from Forest Conservation to the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Sam Vardhan )Adhiniyam, Which translates to Forest ( Conservation and Augmentation) Act.
  • Some of the proposed amendments specify where the Act does not apply, while otherspecifically encourage the practice of cultivating plantations on non-forest land that could,
    • over time increase tree cover,
    • act as carbon sink and
    • India’s ambition of being ‘net Zero’ in terms of emissions by 2070.
  • The Amendments would also remove the 1980s restrictions on creating infrastructure that would aid national security and create livelihood opportunities for those living on the periphery of the forest.

Opposition to the amendments:

  • Some north easter states have objected that vast tracts of forests land would be unilaterally taken away for defence purposes.
  • Several environmental groups fear that amendments would remove Central Protection from vast tracts of so called ‘deemed forest’ and would permit activities such as tourism, compromising their integrity.
  • It was alleged that the amendments would dilute the Supreme court’s 1996 judgement in Godavarman case that extend protection to wide tracts of forests, even if they are not recorded as forests.


Turtles help clean the Ganga:

    • Under NamamiGange Programme, large scale human efforts have been undertaken since 2014 to clean the Ganga and rejuvenate nearly 2,600 km river network.
      • In this marine life, especially Turtles have been playing a key role.
    • In 2014, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the Ministry of forest joined hands with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the implementing agency of the programme.
      • They have been running the turtle breeding and rehabilitation centre in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi.
      • About a dozen of the 29 turtle species in India, both herbivorous and carnivorous, help by clearing rotten or half burnt human bodies as well as flowers dumped into the river in Varanasi.
      • It was set up under the Ganga Action plan (GAP) in late 1980s, and the centr has released more than 40000 turtles into the river.
      • This got renewed attention in 2014, after central government enlisted it in Namamigange programme.

Turtle hatching:

  • Roughly a dozen species are nurtured, where the department brings turtle eggs from the coastal areas of the Chambal region.
    • The turtle eggs are monitored for 70 days, kept in a room that is fully adapted to hatching.
    • After filling the ground with water and placing bricks atop, the eggs are kept inside sand in wooden boxes [ only 30 are kept in a box].
    • Hatching is completed at temperatures ranging from 27 to 30 degrees Celsius between June and July.
    • Then turtles are monitored in an artificial pond for two years before they are released into river.

How the Turtles help:

  • The quality of water in ganga has improved and the turtles have a role as they feed on meat and waste products thrown in the river.
  • Improvement in Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), Fecal coliform (FC) and Dissolved oxygen(DO) was seen.
  • During the assessment of Ph levels at various locations, officials found that water quality was suitable for bathing.
    • In 20 locations, they found improved levels of DO, BOD and FC at 16,14 and 18 locations respectively.

It is a long term biological process and will take time to know whether these species are playing a major role or not after 10 to 15 years by microbial analysis.

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