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December 16, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The Member of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development Scheme (MLALAD) funds, crucial for local development initiatives, witnessed an increase from ₹4 crore to ₹7 crore, as revealed by Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj in the Delhi Assembly. However, amidst this announcement, chaos ensued over BJP’s claims of 203 deaths due to cold in a month, leading to a heated session.

MLALAD Fund Increase:

  • MLALAD funds raised from ₹4 crore to ₹7 crore, providing legislators with increased resources for constituency development.
  • The funds, initially increased to ₹10 crore in 2019-20, continued till 2020-21 but were paused due to pandemic-induced cuts.
  • Disbursement resumed in 2021-22, with each MLA receiving ₹4 crore, and unspent amounts carried over to the subsequent financial year.

Unspent Funds and Allocation:

  • In 2021-22, ₹57 crore remained unutilized, and in 2022-23, the unspent amount rose to ₹78 crore, emphasizing underutilization challenges.
  • Current financial year data indicates ₹197 crore yet to be spent, highlighting a need for efficient fund utilization strategies.

Opposition’s Claims and Adjournment:

  • BJP MLAs alleged 203 deaths of homeless individuals in a month, prompting demands for discussion and a statement from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
  • Pandemonium led to BJP MLAs being marshalled out, with the session adjourned, raising concerns about the need for constructive discussions on critical issues.


While the increase in MLALAD funds signifies a commitment to local development, the episode in the Assembly underscores the challenges of political disruptions and the imperative for meaningful dialogue on pressing matters affecting the community.


Chennai’s recurrent challenges with floods, particularly in 2005, 2015, and 2023, raise concerns about the city’s preparedness and the role of human errors in exacerbating the impact. Amidst climate change-induced floods, questions emerge about the extent of historical missteps and the efficacy of conventional wisdom in flood mitigation. To transform these disasters into opportunities, a comprehensive understanding of Chennai’s hydrology and ecosystem is essential.

Rediscovering Chennai’s Hydrology:

Unveiling Urban and Peri-Urban Water Dynamics:

  • Understanding interconnected hydrological conditions and mapping around 4,000 water bodies within the proposed Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA).
  • Emphasizing the need to protect water bodies from encroachments, including tanks, catchment areas, and inlet channels.
  • Restoration of original or increased capacity of water bodies to enhance water storage and reduce runoff.

Hydro-Elevation Mapping for Watersheds:

  • Development of a comprehensive hydro-elevation map covering upstream and downstream watersheds along with the sea.
  • Focus on restoring missing links between tanks to improve water flow and storage.

Chennai’s Unique Geographic Advantage:

Leveraging Waterways and Drains:

  • Recognizing Chennai’s unique geography with three rivers—Kosasthalaiyar, Cooum, and Adyar—and the Palar further south.
  • Highlighting the need for year-long attention and maintenance of major waterways and macro/micro drains.
  • Urging sustained efforts for rivers and drains instead of cosmetic interventions.

Challenges of Urban Expansion:

Irreversible Urban Growth and Ecological Loss:

  • Acknowledging rapid urban expansion in Chennai and its irreversible nature.
  • Stressing the importance of protecting ecological hotspots, including lakes, floodplains, forests, and wetlands, in the face of further expansion.


Chennai’s flood resilience and water supply reliability hinge on a strategic approach that integrates scientific interventions, protection of water bodies, and sustainable urban planning. By addressing historical errors and embracing climate-resilient strategies, Chennai can convert challenges into opportunities, ensuring a safer and water-secure future for its residents.


November witnessed a noteworthy surge in headline retail inflation, raising concerns about its potential impact on consumption and economic growth. The acceleration, particularly in food prices, as reflected in the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI), underscores the volatility associated with essential commodities. Cereals and vegetables, integral components of the ‘food and beverages’ subgroup, played a pivotal role in propelling the overall upsurge, with double-digit inflation and significant month-on-month accelerations observed.

Concerns in Food Price Trends:

Cereals and Vegetables Driving Inflation:

  • Cereals, constituting a significant portion of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), sustained double-digit inflation for the 15th consecutive month.
  • Vegetable prices, notably tomatoes, exhibited a substantial year-on-year inflation surge of almost 15 percentage points, with a striking 41% increase from the previous month.
  • The ‘TOP’ triumvirate (Tomato, Onion, and Potato) faced challenges, with onion prices causing heightened concern due to an 86% year-on-year inflation, aggravating from October’s 42%.

Challenges in Essential Commodities:

Pulses, Sugar, and Supply-Related Issues:

  • Pulses witnessed over 20% inflation, contributing to the overarching concerns in the essential commodities basket.
  • Sugar prices experienced an uptick in the pace of gains, reaching 6.55%, and are expected to face supply challenges due to lower rainfall impacting production.

Government’s Role and Policy Implications:

Onus on Government Amidst RBI’s Caution:

  • With the RBI refraining from rate hikes, the responsibility to temper inflation now rests predominantly on the government.
  • The potential consequences of unchecked inflation include broader consumption erosion and a negative impact on economic growth.


As inflationary pressures, notably in essential commodities, continue to accelerate, the government faces a critical task in mitigating these challenges. The need for proactive measures becomes paramount to ensure sustained economic growth and shield consumption patterns from the adverse effects of escalating prices.


Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud has taken cognizance of a distressing case where a woman judge from Uttar Pradesh faced alleged sexual harassment. The judge, in an open letter to the CJI, expressed her anguish over the lack of a fair hearing on her complaint and the subsequent dismissal of her case by the Supreme Court in just eight seconds.

Allegations of Sexual Harassment:

Complaint and Delayed Inquiry:

  • The woman judge reported being sexually harassed by a district judge and associates in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Despite filing a complaint in July, the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of the Allahabad High Court took six months to initiate an inquiry, which she termed a “farce.”

Unfavorable Inquiry Conditions:

  • The woman judge criticized the inquiry, stating that witnesses were subordinates of the accused district judge.
  • Her request to transfer the district judge during the inquiry was denied.

Supreme Court’s Swift Dismissal:

  • The woman judge sought relief from the Supreme Court, emphasizing the compromised nature of the ongoing inquiry.
  • The Supreme Court, however, dismissed her case in just eight seconds, citing the ICC’s involvement and awaiting approval from the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.

Plea for Justice and Mental Toll:

  • The judge, in her open letter, expressed despair, feeling her life, dignity, and soul were dismissed.
  • The ongoing inquiry, with the district judge controlling witnesses, raised concerns about the prospect of delivering justice.
  • The judge conveyed a sense of hopelessness, stating that she has no will to live amid the prolonged ordeal.


The distressing case highlights the critical issue of delayed and allegedly biased handling of complaints related to sexual harassment within the judiciary. The CJI’s intervention is crucial to ensuring a fair and just inquiry, addressing the concerns raised by the woman judge and restoring confidence in the justice delivery system.


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to embark on a significant development for the Gaganyaan mission by indigenously creating the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS). This subsystem plays a crucial role in sustaining life in space by managing the atmosphere, water, food, and waste within the crewed space vehicle.

ECLSS Components and Tasks:

Water Recovery System:

  • Reclaims wastewater, cabin humidity condensate, and water from crew members’ suits.
  • Provides clean water essential for sustaining life in space.

Air Revitalization System:

  • Dedicated to cleaning circulating cabin air.
  • Ensures the maintenance of a breathable atmosphere for the crew.

Oxygen Generation System:

  • Comprises oxygen generation assembly and carbon dioxide reduction assembly.
  • Generates and manages the supply of oxygen for crew members.

Tasks of ECLSS:

  • Atmosphere management to ensure a habitable environment.
  • Water management for sustenance.
  • Food supply and waste management for the well-being of crew members.


Significance of Indigenous ECLSS:

Gaganyaan Mission Facilitation:

  • Integral for India’s human space flight program (Gaganyaan Mission).
  • Aims to launch a crew of 3 members to a Low Earth Orbit, orbiting at 400 km for 3 days.

Reduced Dependence on Foreign Agencies:

  • Mitigates reliance on foreign space agencies for manned missions.
  • Strengthens India’s autonomy and self-reliance in space exploration.

Promoting Knowledge and Design Capability:

  • Enhances indigenous knowledge and design capabilities for advanced space missions.
  • Fosters expertise in manned missions through scientific and R&D activities.

Employment Generation and Human Resource Development:

  • Creates employment opportunities in advanced science and research.
  • Develops human resources with expertise in cutting-edge space technologies.


ISRO’s endeavor to develop an indigenously designed Environmental Control and Life Support System marks a pivotal step towards achieving self-reliance in space exploration. This initiative not only supports the Gaganyaan Mission but also contributes significantly to the nation’s capabilities in advanced space science and technology. It aligns with India’s vision of becoming a prominent player in the global space arena, fostering innovation, and promoting indigenous expertise in space exploration.


The Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry has proposed measures to address Inverted Duty Structure (IDS) to the Ministry of Finance.

  • IDS involves higher taxation on input imports compared to finished products. Free Trade Agreements with partner countries contribute to IDS.
  • This structure contradicts the ‘Make in India’ initiative by incentivizing finished product imports, adversely affecting export competitiveness.
  • Furthermore, IDS may lead to reduced tax revenue due to a decline in domestic production, emphasizing the need for policy adjustments to align with economic goals.


The Israeli targeting of Gaza’s hospitals, bakeries, and schools is being labeled as “urbicide” by activists.

  • Urbicide, stemming from Latin for ‘city killing,’ denotes ritualized, premeditated violence against built infrastructures.
  • Coined in the 1980s, the term was used to characterize the extensive destruction of Balkan towns during the Yugoslav wars (1992-1996).
  • Urbicide goes beyond physical destruction, encompassing the eradication of memories, identities, and cultures ingrained in a city’s fabric.
  • This concept highlights the comprehensive impact of violence on urban spaces, extending beyond the tangible destruction of buildings to the intangible aspects of heritage and community.


December 16, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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