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November 17, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm



❇️Political parties in India and their funding

  • Political parties in India have traditionally been averse to any sort of public scrutiny of the sources and applications of their funds.
  • The astronomical sums needed to finance their processes and operations cannot be raised from party cadres and altruistic donors.
  • These can only come from Big Business, and as a quid pro quo.

Civil society’s campaign for transparency in political funding

  • Civil society has been campaigning for long to empower the voter by improving her access to background information on the candidates in the electoral fray, and to bring about greater transparency in the obscure domain of political funding.
  • In this, the instrument of public interest litigation (PIL) has been deployed to good effect.
  • The campaign is premised on the citizen’s democratic right to information,which is integral to the fundamental right to speech and expression under the Constitution.

✅The Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS)

  • The political establishment has sought to undermine these hard-fought victories by legislative legerdemain and ingenious schemes fashioned to obfuscate the identity of corporate donors.
  • The United Progressive Alliance government had devised the Electoral Trusts Scheme (2013) to create a smokescreen between political parties and their corporate donors.
  • The National Democratic Alliance, the succeeding government, came up with a far more ambitious and ingenious Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS).

The challenges posed by the EBS

  • The EBS has been challenged on the grounds that it violates the citizen’s fundamental right to know and that it incentivises corrupt practices by lifting the caps on corporate donations and allowing contributions by loss-making and shell companies.
  • The EBS has also been criticised for making the nexus between politics and big business more opaque and for enabling special interest groups, corporate lobbyists and foreign entities to secure a stranglehold on the electoral process.
  • The EBS has been further challenged on the grounds that it subverted the legislative scheme envisaged in the Constitution by being incorporated into the Finance Bill.

The Supreme Court’s response to the challenge to the EBS

  • The Supreme Court has not taken kindly to the petitioners’ repeated pleas to stay the impugned scheme, pending determination of the weighty issues raised in their petition.
  • Rejecting the plea for interim stay, the top court in its order of June 23, 2021 posited that it was possible for a voter to pierce the scheme’s veil of secrecy by tallying the expenditure on electoral bonds disclosed in corporate filings with the corresponding receipts in the audited accounts of political parties.
  • The Supreme Court has also stressed the imperative of protecting donor anonymity, ostensibly to shield them from retribution by political rivals.



The UN Security Council has addressed the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, breaking its silence by calling for “extended humanitarian pauses” in the Gaza Strip. The resolution emphasizes the need for aid to reach civilians and aims to provide a sufficient number of days for this purpose. However, Israel has indicated that any pause is contingent on the release of hostages held by Hamas.

Key Points:

Resolution Details:

  • Proposed by Malta and adopted with 12 votes in favor.
  • Calls for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors” in Gaza.

Abstentions and Positions:

  • The U.S., the U.K., and Russia abstained from voting.
  • Resolution avoids condemning Hamas’s October 7 attack but calls for the release of hostages.

Duration of Pause:

  • The resolution leaves open the question of how many days constitute a “sufficient” pause.
  • An earlier draft suggested an initial pause of five consecutive days within 24 hours of resolution adoption.

Humanitarian Obligations:

  • Calls on all parties to comply with international humanitarian obligations.
  • Emphasizes the protection of civilians, particularly children.

Hostage Release and Israeli Response:

  • Urges the immediate and unconditional release of over 230 hostages held by Hamas.
  • Israel insists on no prolonged pauses until the hostages are freed.

Reaction to the Resolution:

  • S. Ambassador expresses concern about the failure to condemn Hamas’s attacks unequivocally.
  • Israel’s Foreign Ministry calls for an unambiguous condemnation of Hamas.


While the UN Security Council’s resolution seeks humanitarian pauses in Gaza, the complexities persist. The diplomatic efforts face challenges, with the U.S., U.K., and Russia abstaining, and Israel linking any pause to the release of hostages. The resolution underscores the need for a delicate balance between addressing humanitarian concerns and navigating the political intricacies of the conflict.



A coordinated offensive by Myanmar’s ethnic rebels against the military junta reveals signs of resistance and territorial gains, challenging the coup regime. The Three Brotherhood Alliance, composed of ethnic minority armed groups, has intensified conflict in various regions, leading to clashes with junta forces and air strikes causing civilian casualties.

Key Points:

Rebel Offensive and Territorial Gains:

  • Three Brotherhood Alliance claims territorial gains along Myanmar’s border with China.
  • Junta forces reportedly surrender as ethnic rebels coordinate a multifront offensive.

Junta’s Response and Civilian Casualties:

  • Faced with setbacks, the junta resorts to air strikes, resulting in heavy civilian casualties.
  • President Myint Swe acknowledges the need to control the rebel offensive.

History of Junta Violence:

  • The military coup in February 2021 marked the beginning of junta-led violence to establish control.
  • Over 4,000 civilians killed, 20,000 jailed, and 1.7 million displaced, according to reports.

Evolution of Political Realities:

  • Pro-democracy movement shifts from peaceful resistance to forming an underground government and militia.
  • Collaboration with ethnic rebels signals a departure from the previous Suu Kyian model.

Rebel Demands and Junta’s Dilemma:

  • Rebels demand the junta’s retreat from politics and the establishment of a federal democratic system.
  • The junta faces regional isolation, especially within ASEAN, with limited viable military solutions.



A recent report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) highlights alarming trends in the concentration of greenhouse gases, indicating a record-breaking rise with severe implications for global climate goals. The report underscores the urgent need for collective action to address the escalating threat posed by these heat-trapping gases.

Key Points:

Unprecedented Levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2):

  • Global concentrations of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas, surged to a staggering 50% above pre-industrial levels in 2022.
  • This increase continues into 2023, posing a severe challenge to climate mitigation efforts.

Growing Methane and Nitrous Oxide Levels:

  • Methane concentrations witness growth, and nitrous oxide experiences the highest year-on-year increase on record from 2021 to 2022.
  • The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, published for COP28, outlines the concerning trends in these gases.

Worrisome Trends Despite Marginal CO2 Growth:

  • While CO2 growth rates slightly decline, likely influenced by short-term variations, new emissions from industrial activities persist.
  • Methane and nitrous oxide, with substantial warming effects, contribute significantly to the escalating greenhouse gas concentrations.

Concerns Raised by WMO Secretary-General:

  • WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas expresses concern over the continuous rise in greenhouse gas concentrations despite decades of warnings.
  • The current trajectory threatens to exceed Paris Agreement targets, leading to adverse impacts on weather patterns, sea levels, and ecosystems.

Long-lasting Impact of Greenhouse Gas Accumulation:

  • The Earth faces CO2 levels not observed for millions of years, with potential temperature rises and sea-level increases.
  • The persistence of CO2 in the atmosphere, even with rapid emission reduction, necessitates urgent action to curb fossil fuel consumption.


The WMO report signals a critical juncture in the battle against climate change, with greenhouse gas concentrations reaching unprecedented levels. The findings emphasize the immediate need for robust measures to reduce emissions, transition to sustainable energy sources, and enhance global cooperation to avert the dire consequences outlined in the report. Urgent and decisive action is imperative to align with climate goals, mitigate environmental degradation, and secure a sustainable future for the planet.



The successful completion of the 21-day thermal vacuum test for the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite marks a significant milestone in India’s space exploration. Collaboratively developed by NASA and ISRO, NISAR is poised to revolutionize Earth observation with its advanced dual-frequency imaging radar capabilities.

Key Points:

Thermal Vacuum Test Success:

  • ISRO’s recent 21-day thermal vacuum test ensures the satellite’s readiness for its scheduled launch in 2024.
  • Conducted in a simulated environment, the test replicates the harsh conditions of space flight.

Overview of NISAR:

  • NISAR is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory designed for comprehensive Earth mapping.
  • Jointly developed by NASA and ISRO, it combines L-band and S-band synthetic aperture radar instruments for diverse applications.

Dual-Frequency Imaging Capability:

  • Weighing 2,800 kilograms, NISAR features both L-band and S-band radars, enabling a dual-frequency imaging radar satellite.
  • L-band for clear air turbulence studies and S-band for weather observation showcase its versatility.

Technical Specifications:

  • The satellite boasts a 39-foot gold mesh antenna reflector, focusing radar signals for precise data collection.
  • It aims to map the entire globe in just 12 days, providing consistent and high-resolution data on Earth’s ecosystems and ice mass changes.

Significance of NISAR

  • The large imaging area (>240km) facilitates complete Earth imaging within a short timeframe.
  • High precision (<1cm) and resolution make it instrumental in monitoring Indian coasts, Antarctica, and deltaic region bathymetry changes.

Applications Across Sectors:

  • NISAR’s applications span ecosystem and resource tracking, disaster management, and cryosphere monitoring.
  • From measuring forest cover and land usage to disaster aftermath mapping, its capabilities extend to oil and gas exploration and water resource assessment.


The NISAR satellite, a testament to Indo-U.S. collaboration, emerges as a groundbreaking advancement in Earth observation technology. With its dual-frequency imaging capabilities and a broad spectrum of applications, NISAR is poised to contribute significantly to environmental monitoring, resource management, and disaster response. The successful completion of the thermal vacuum test brings us one step closer to leveraging NISAR’s potential for enhanced understanding and sustainable management of our planet.



  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) has granted approval for Adzynma, marking a groundbreaking milestone as the world’s first enzyme replacement therapy (ERT).
  • Adzynma is a recombinant protein product, genetically engineered for on-demand ERT, specifically designed to address congenital thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (cTTP), an uncommon blood clotting disorder.
  • ERT involves administering replacement enzymes to individuals with conditions stemming from enzyme deficiencies or malfunction.


  • In this case, the replacement enzyme, sourced from human, animal, or plant cells, is delivered directly into the patient’s bloodstream through fluids.
  • This approval signifies a significant advancement in therapeutic options, offering a targeted and innovative approach to treating rare and complex blood disorders, providing renewed hope for those affected by cTTP.
  • The development and approval of Adzynma open new avenues in precision medicine, showcasing the potential of genetically engineered therapies to address specific medical conditions at the molecular level.



The National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has garnered global acclaim as a ‘centre of excellence’ in landslide disaster reduction for the span of 2023-2026.

  • Established under the National Disaster Management Act of 2005, NIDM operates as a statutory organization under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • With a comprehensive mandate, NIDM is entrusted with responsibilities such as human resource development, capacity building, training, research, documentation, and policy advocacy in the realm of disaster management.
  • The President of NIDM is the Union Home Minister, highlighting the institute’s critical role at the intersection of national disaster management and government leadership.
  • This international recognition underscores NIDM’s commitment to advancing expertise and strategies in landslide disaster reduction, contributing significantly to global efforts in building resilience against natural calamities.




November 17, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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