Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 22nd August 2023



Today Topics List:

  1. Tribal areas of Kerala: Internet Access

  2. Cauvery Water issue: A new Bench

  3. Judicial Review: A new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

  4. Karnataka: Education Policy

  5. Dark side of the Moon

  6. Drilling in the North Sea




Tribal areas of Kerala: Internet Access


  • Kerala was the first State in the country to declare the right to Internet a basic right. But, as many as 189 Adivasi ooru (Tribal colonies) spread over 12 districts in the state still have no access to Internet and mobile connection.

Lack of Internet access – Impact on Students.

  • It affects the prospects of over 5,000 tribal students in these colonies.
  • Idukki has the highest number of tribal colonies cut off digitally from the mainland – 75 colonies, accommodating over 2,000 tribal students.

KFON project:

  • Government sources claimed that community study rooms set up in various parts of the State provided facilities for the students to use the Internet.
    • However, students from remote digitally cut-off colonies seldom make use of such facilities.
  • Government declared Internet Connection a basic right when the RS.1,548 crore Kerala Fibre Optic network (KFON).
    • A project aimed at providing free Internet Access to 20 lakhs below the poverty line (BPL) families in the state and providing Internet connection at a nominal rate to the public.
    • It was launched in 2019 and the first phase of the project was commissioned in June 2023.
  • The Kerala High Court had earlier held that the right to have access to the internet is part of the Fundamental right to education as well as the Right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution.



Cauvery Water issue: A new Bench

    • Chief Justice of India assured Tamil Nadu that SC will constitute a Bench to hear the state’s plea for the release of its allotment of Cauvery water for August. Invariably, during the South west monsoon period the issue gets flared up, when the monsoon yields lower rainfall than anticipated.


  • Tamil Nadu has moved the SC seeking a direction to Karnataka to release 24,000 cusecs of Cauvery water forthwith from its reservoirs at Billigundulu for the remaining period of the month, starting from August 14.

How is water being shared:

  • A monthly schedule is in place for Karnataka, the upper riparian State of the Cauvery basin, to release water to Tamil Nadu.
    • Karnataka is to make available to Tamil Nadu at Biligundlu a total quantity of 177.25 TMC in a “normal” water year (June to May).
    • Of this quantity, 123.14 TMC is to be given during the period from June to September, also marking the season of the southwest monsoon.
  • SC in its February 2018 judgement on the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal’s 2007 award directed the establishment two bodies for the implementation of the judgement. They are,
    • Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Water regulation Committee (CWRC)

Demands of Tamil Nadu:

  • The release of water was a dire necessity to meet the pressing needs of the standing crops.
  • To ensure the stipulated releases for September (36.76 tmcft) under the Cauvery Tribunal award as modified in 2018.
  • Karnataka should make good the shortfall of 28.849 tmcft of water during the current irrigation year for the period between June 1 to July 31.
  • It wanted the court the direct the Cauvery Water management authority to ensure that directions issued to Karnataka are fully adhered to.

Response of Karnataka:

  • Karnataka has contended that lower rainfall in the Cauvery catchment including in Kerala has led to the poor inflow to its own reservoirs. 
    • Whenever additional water flowed into the reservoirs, Karnataka was releasing it to Tamil Nadu. 
  • According to data of the Meteorological Department, Kodagu, the district, from where Cauvery originates, received 44% less rainfall during June 1-August 15 than what it was expected to experience.
    • Karnataka, at the Authority’s meeting, had refused to accept the demand of Tamil Nadu for following a distress-sharing formula.


Judicial Review: A new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

    • Chief Justice Of India, after going through parts of the draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) prepared by the Centre said, they are made to tailor judicial conduct in Government related cases.
      • He also found several important points worth consideration, which includes a proposed bar on courts from summoning officials when the case was still pending in appeal.
      • It also highlighted how officials are pulled up by judges for not following a dress code while visiting courts.

Response of the Government:

  • Government denied any such intention and said the draft focused on how senior government officials, including the Chief Secretaries, were being summoned by courts even for the slightest reasons.
  • Government officials are not officers of court and there should be no objection to their appearing in a decent work dress unless such appearance is unprofessional or unbecoming of his/her position.

Judicial review:

►  Judicial review Is the power of the judiciary to examine the constitutionality of legislative enactments and executive orders of both the Central Government and State Governments.

►  The doctrine of Judicial review originated and developed in USA.

▪       It was propounded for the first time in the famous case of Marbury Vs madison (1803) by John Mashall, the then Chief Justice of the American Supreme Court.

►  In India, Constitution itself confers the power of judicial review on the judiciary ( Both Supreme Court and High Court).

▪       Supreme Court has also declared the power of Judicial review as a Basic feature of the Constitution.

▪       Hence, the power of judicial review cannot be curtailed or excluded even by a constitutional amendment.

Need for Judicial review:

►  (a) To Uphold the principle of the Supremacy of the Constitution

►  (b) To maintain federal equilibrium (balance between the centre and the states)

►  To protect the Fundamental rights of the Citizens


Karnataka: Education Policy


  • Karnataka Government has decided to constitute a committee of experts to formulate the State Education policy (SEP) within a week.

Reason stated for such a step:

  • It says national Education policy (NEP 2020) has been formulated without taking state Governments into confidence.
  • Education policy cannot be centrally imposed, where a uniform education policy cannot be imposed on a multicultural country.
  • States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have made it clear not to implement NEP.
  • Educational Institutions do not have the necessary infrastructure to implement the educational policy and this has created unnecessary confusion.
  • Students who have got admission under NEP are in final year degree course now and will get a three-year degree certificate.


Hence, government of Karnataka s planning to draft a inclusive education policy which meets the needs of the state and can be a guiding light for other states.



Dark side of the Moon

    • Indian Space research organisation (ISRO) released images of the far side of the moon ahead of its scheduled landing.
      • The Far side of the moon is also known as the dark side of the moon as it is always hidden from the earth.
    • The images were captured by the Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera (LHDAC).
      • LHDAC is a camera that assists in locating a safe landing area without boulders or deep trenches during the descent.
      • It is developed by ISRO at SAC – Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad.
    • ISRO already released three videos captured by Chandrayaan – 3.
      • One of them was taken by the Lander Position Detection Camera (LPDC).
      • Another was taken by the Lander Imager (LI), just after the separation of the lander module from the propulsion module




Drilling in the North Sea


  • The North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA), responsible for regulating oil, gas and carbon storage industries, is currently running its 33rd offshore oil and gas licensing round.
    • NTSA expects the first of the new licences to be awarded in the autumn, with the round expected to award over 100 licences in total.
    • K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak recently backed plans for new fossil fuel drilling off Britain’s coast, worrying environment experts even as the world continues its stride towards irreversible climate change.

Drilling in the UK North Sea:

  • Geographically, the North Sea lies between England and Scotland on its west, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France on its south, and Norway, Denmark, and Germany on its east.
    • The 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf was the first international legislation to establish the rights of countries over the continental shelves adjacent to their coastlines and paved the way for exploration in the North Sea.
    • The treaty came into force in 1964, shortly after the U.K. Parliament passed the Continental Shelf Act in April of the same year.
    • The Act provides for exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf based on the 1958 convention. 
  • It delineated the jurisdiction the U.K. had over oil and gas resources (excluding coal) under the seabed near its shores.
  • British Petroleum (BP) in September 1965 discovered natural gas in the North Sea, off the east Anglican coast. It was shortlived as its rig got collapsedin December 1965.
    • In the next 15 years competition among British and American companies increased manifold and hundreds of installations looking for oil and gas.
    • The race for extracting resources also came at a cost, exemplified by the 1988 disaster at the Piper Alpha oil platform where more than 165 people were killed.
  • The Foinaven and Schiehallion fields were discovered in the 1990s, opening up the West of Shetland area for exploration and exploitation. 
    • Production from the North Sea peaked in 1999, when it produced 1,37,099 thousand tonnes total of crude oil and natural gas liquids.

Is Offshore drilling problematic?

  • Offshore drilling puts “workers, waters, and wildlife” at risk. 
  • Drilling in seas and oceans for fossil fuels not only aggravates the threat of climate change but also warms oceans and raises sea levels. 
  • It is associated with a direct risk to marine biodiversity, as well as with indirect risks to coral reefs, shellfish and the marine ecosystem from acidic waters because of carbon pollution settling into oceans.

U K and its Climate commitments:

  • The Climate Change Committee (CCC) which advises the U.K. and devolved governments on emissions targets, said that the U.K. has not adequately prepared for climate change under the second National Adaptation Programme.
    • In the U.K., National Adaptation Programmes are statutory programmes that the government must follow to help prepare the country for climate change, as required under the Climate Change Act. 
    • The second National Adaptation Programme covered the period of 2018 – 2023.
  • According to Climate Action Tracker, U.K.’s climate action is not consistent with the Paris Agreement.
    • Although its overall rating is “almost sufficient”, U.K.’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and long-term targets do not represent a fair share of the global effort to address climate change. 
    • Licensing new oil and gas extraction plans is incompatible with the 1.5°C limit in the rise in temperature, per the Climate Action Tracker website.

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