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February 21 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



Recently, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his Cabinet approved a Bill proposing a 10% quota for the Maratha community in education and government jobs.

This move, ahead of the Lok Sabha election, has sparked criticism, with activists and opposition parties questioning its motives and impact on existing reservation policies.

Key Points on Maratha Reservation Bill:

Approval Amid Criticism:

  • Chief Minister Shinde approved a 10% quota for the Maratha community in education and jobs.
  • Critics, including activists and opposition parties, view it as a pre-election move rather than a genuine commitment to social justice.

Legislative Process:

  • The Bill was passed unanimously during a special session, fulfilling the government’s promise within three months.
  • Activist Manoj Jarange-Patil labeled it a “betrayal” and urged for a Maratha quota within the existing OBC reservation for better legal scrutiny.

Continuation of OBC Quota:

  • The Bill, similar to a 2018 Act, maintains the existing OBC quota, resulting in a total reservation of 62% in Maharashtra.
  • This surpasses the 50% limit set by the Supreme Court, raising concerns about the legality and fairness of the decision.

Demands for Higher Caste Reservations:

Maratha Reservation History:

  • In 2021, the Supreme Court struck down Maharashtra’s law granting Maratha reservation, citing a violation of the 50% cap.
  • Similar demands from other communities like Jats and Gujjars have surfaced, seeking inclusion in reservation categories.

Pros and Cons of Higher Caste Reservations:


  • Addressing Economic Disadvantage: Supporters argue that some sections within higher castes face economic hardship, justifying affirmative action.
  • Promoting Social Inclusion: Reservations could enhance representation in government jobs and educational institutions, fostering social inclusion.


  • Dilution of Original Intent: Expanding reservations beyond historically disadvantaged groups may dilute the policy’s focus on addressing historical injustices.
  • Reduced Opportunities for Existing Beneficiaries: Widening reservations could intensify competition, potentially harming groups already benefiting from quotas.
  • Violation of Merit: Critics contend that caste-based reservations might compromise meritocracy in selection processes.

Way Forward:

Focus on Socio-Economic Criteria:

  • Implement targeted programs based on individual needs, irrespective of caste, to address economic disadvantage effectively.

Review Creamy Layer Concept:

  • Re-evaluate the exclusion of affluent individuals within any caste from reservation benefits to ensure equitable distribution.

Comprehensive Data Collection:

  • Gather detailed socio-economic data on various communities to inform evidence-based policy decisions.

Open and Inclusive Dialogue:

  • Encourage constructive discussions involving all stakeholders to find solutions that promote equality and address genuine disadvantage.

In conclusion, the Maratha Reservation Bill raises concerns about the balance between addressing social inequities and maintaining the integrity of reservation policies. It prompts a broader reflection on the need for nuanced and inclusive approaches in affirmative action.



India is set to embark on a groundbreaking initiative by inviting private companies to invest $26 billion in its nuclear energy sector.

This strategic move, the first of its kind, aims to propel non-carbon-emitting electricity generation and achieve the ambitious target of 50% non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.

Key Points on Private Investments:

Unprecedented Step:

  • New Delhi’s decision to seek private investment in nuclear power signifies a landmark move in the country’s energy strategy.
  • The goal is to attract $26 billion from private firms, including industry giants like Reliance Industries, Tata Power, Adani Power, and Vedanta Ltd.

Investment Talks:

  • Ongoing discussions with the private sector involve potential investments of approximately ₹440 billion ($5.3 billion) from each of the five firms.
  • The government envisions adding 11,000 MW of new nuclear power generation capacity by 2040 through these collaborations.

Role Division:

  • Private companies are poised to invest in nuclear plants, acquire necessary resources, and manage construction aspects.
  • However, the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) will retain pivotal rights for building, running, and fuel management of the projects.

Revenue Model:

  • Private firms are expected to generate revenue through electricity sales, while NPCIL will operate the projects for a fee, establishing a symbiotic partnership.

Need for Nuclear Energy in India:

Growing Energy Demand:

  • Rapid economic growth necessitates an increased electricity generation to meet the escalating energy demand in the country.

Climate Change Mitigation:

  • Nuclear power emerges as a low-carbon source, offering baseload electricity crucial for mitigating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Security:

  • Diversifying energy sources becomes imperative for enhancing energy security and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

Challenges and the Way Forward:

Addressing Concerns:

  • Public perception challenges, specifically regarding safety and nuclear waste disposal, require transparent communication and educational initiatives to foster public trust.

Regulatory Streamlining:

  • Simplifying regulatory processes and establishing clear timelines for approvals are vital to ensure the timely completion of nuclear projects.

Investment in R&D:

  • Significant investment in research and development, particularly in advanced reactor technologies like thorium-based systems, is essential for future advancements.

Fuel Security Measures:

  • Reducing dependence on imported uranium through the exploration of domestic fuel sources and enrichment capabilities is crucial for ensuring fuel security.



The Union government greenlights a 32-kilometer railway line linking Puri and Konark, renowned for the Shree Jagannath Temple and Sun Temple, with ₹492 crore allocated for construction.

The new railway line, approved by Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, will boast trains equipped with an all-weather glass ceiling, enhancing the travel experience between the temple towns.

About Shree Jagannath Temple

Believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. Referred to as the “White Pagoda” and holds significance in the Char Dham pilgrimages.


  • Spiritual Significance: Known as ‘Yamanika Tirtha,’ where the power of the god of death, Yama, is believed to be nullified due to Lord Jagannath’s presence.
  • Architectural Marvel: Boasts unique architecture, featuring a massive compound wall and an extensive complex with towers, halls, and shrines.
  • Annual Rath Yatra Festival: Main attraction is the Rath Yatra festival, where deities Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Devi Subhadra are grandly processed on chariots.
  • Mahaprasad Tradition: Renowned for Mahaprasad, a unique food offering prepared in the temple kitchen and distributed among devotees.

About Sun Temple:

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, recognizing its cultural and historical significance.


  • Currency Note Recognition: Featured on the reverse side of the Rs. 10 denominations note, making it a symbol of cultural pride.
  • Chandrabhaga Mela: Hosts the Chandrabhaga Mela in February, drawing Hindu pilgrims to the sacred site.
  • Golden Triangle of Odisha: Part of the Golden Triangle of Odisha along with Puri and Bhubaneshwar, forming a crucial pilgrimage route for Hindus.
  • Architectural Style: Represents the Kalinga Style of Architecture, showcasing the artistic heritage of the region.
  • Alignment and Materials: Faces east to receive early sun rays and is constructed using Khondalite rocks, a type of metamorphic rock.
  • Symbolic Sundials: Features 12 wheels symbolizing sundials, aiding in precise time determination.
  • Relocation of Aruna Stambh: In the 18th century, a monolith named “Aruna Stambh” was moved to Puri’s Jagannath Temple, adding to its historical journey.
  • Destruction and Preservation: Faced destruction due to natural elements and war activities by Muslim invaders. The British closed and filled the assembly hall in 1904, preserving it from further collapse.



The Supreme Court’s examination of maintenance entitlements for divorced Muslim women under Section 125 of the CrPC sparks debate over the balance between secular laws and personal laws.

The case highlights the importance of judicial clarity in navigating the intersection of religious rights and gender equality.

Maintenance Entitlements: Evolution

  • Historical Context: Section 125 of the CrPC aimed to provide maintenance for destitute family members, irrespective of religious affiliation.
  • Exception for Muslim Women: The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, introduced to address conflicts with religious law, offered maintenance during iddat and extended till remarriage.

Case Background

  • Dispute Overview: Arising from a challenge by a Muslim man against a Telangana High Court directive for interim maintenance to his divorced wife under CrPC Section 125.
  • Legal Argument: Husband argues 1986 Act supersedes CrPC provisions, while wife asserts her right to CrPC maintenance.

Court Proceedings and Observations

  • Interpretive Dilemma: Supreme Court emphasizes the non-obstante clause of the 1986 Act, preserving alternative remedies under CrPC.
  • Constitutional Imperatives: Justices stress constitutional guarantees of equality, rejecting legislative intent to bar Muslim women from CrPC relief.
  • Precedential Insight: Recent High Court decisions affirm divorced Muslim women’s right to CrPC maintenance beyond iddat completion.

Judgments Referenced in the Input

  • Danial Latifi v. Union Of India (2001): Upheld constitutional validity of 1986 Act, extending maintenance rights to divorced Muslim women till remarriage, within iddat.
  • Arshiya Rizvi v. State of U.P. and Anr (2022): Allahabad High Court reaffirmed divorced Muslim women’s entitlement to CrPC maintenance post iddat.
  • Razia v. State of U.P. (2022): High Court reiterated availability of CrPC remedies beyond iddat.
  • Shakila Khatun v. State of U.P (2023): High Court upheld divorced Muslim women’s right to seek CrPC maintenance.

Injustice Caused to Muslim Women

  • Limited Maintenance: The 1986 law offers maintenance only during iddat, with restrictions till remarriage.
  • Burden of Personal Laws: Muslim women face limitations imposed by personal laws, unlike women from other communities under CrPC.
  • Financial Crisis: Inconsistent and inadequate financial support undermines economic security, perpetuating gender inequality.
  • Unequal Treatment: Muslim women face unequal treatment, depriving them of protection afforded to women from other communities.

Implications and Future Trajectory

  • Judicial Deliberation: Pending verdict poised to shape maintenance entitlements, balancing religious autonomy with gender justice.
  • Policy Implications: Clarity sought on legislative intent for uniform application and equitable access to justice.
  • Societal Impact: Outcome reflects evolving societal norms and rights consciousness among marginalized communities.

Way Forward

  • Dialogue and Engagement: Foster open dialogue to understand concerns and perspectives.
  • Legal Reforms: Amend laws to balance religious autonomy with gender justice.
  • Sensitivity Training: Provide training for legal professionals on Islamic law and equality principles.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: Encourage mediation within Islamic law for family disputes.
  • Consultation and Collaboration: Include Muslim women in decision-making processes.


  • The forthcoming ruling holds potential to affirm rights of marginalized segments, reinforcing constitutional ethos of equality and justice.



Scientists propose anoxic marine basins as promising sites for large-scale carbon sequestration in the deep ocean, emphasizing their unique characteristics and potential for mitigating carbon emissions.

About Anoxic Marine Basins:

Oxygen Absence:

  • Anoxic basins lack oxygen, forming a unique environment in the deep ocean.

Formation Factors:

  • Permanent anoxic basins result from layered water columns shaped like a cup on the ocean floor.
  • Layering arises from density variations due to salt concentration or temperature differences.

Stratification Impact:

  • Stratification minimizes circulation, allowing microorganisms to deplete oxygen.
  • Water in anoxic basins is extremely stagnant, with mixing times spanning thousands of years.

Geographical Characteristics:

  • Varied in size, ranging from hundreds of meters to several kilometers across.
  • Depths extend from 10 to 500 meters deeper than the surrounding seafloor.

Biological Composition:

  • Unable to support animal life, populated mainly by microbes and specialized fungi.
  • Some microbes use nitrate for respiration, while others derive carbon from gases like carbon dioxide and methane.

Toxic Chemicals and Salt Domes:

  • Anoxic basins may contain toxic chemicals from geothermal activity or microbial activity.
  • Presence of salt domes, large mounds of hardened salt, is observed in some basins.

Methane Reservoirs and Mud Volcanoes:

  • Some basins harbor methane and other gases beneath the seafloor.
  • Methane can lead to the formation of mud volcanoes, causing sediment-filled water eruptions.


The potential of anoxic marine basins for carbon sequestration arises from their unique conditions, highlighting the need for further research and exploration to understand and harness these environments for mitigating climate change.



Archaeologists recently uncovered Morodharo, a fortified settlement dating back to the Harappan era, shedding light on ancient civilization in the Kutch District of Gujarat.

Key Features:

Historical Context:

  • Morodharo belongs to the mature (2,600-1,900 BCE) to late (1,900-1,300 BCE) Harappan period, showcasing significant archaeological significance.


  • Situated in the Kutch District of Gujarat, the settlement adds to the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Fortification Structure:

  • The settlement is fortified, with walls measuring 102 meters east to west and 58 meters north to south.
  • The wall thickness averages 3.3 meters, indicating strategic defensive planning.

Architectural Elements:

  • Notable features include a 10×10 meter platform on the southwest side and a well on the northeast side, suggesting advanced urban planning.

Burial Cairns:

  • Burial cairns, mounds of stones marking boundaries, were discovered, indicating burial rituals and community organization practices.

Artifacts Unearthed:

  • Archaeologists found Harappan pottery, including perforated jar sherds, reserved slipware, and terracotta cakes, resembling artifacts from Dholavira, another Harappan site.



The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) released the ‘Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2024,’ highlighting the region’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for 2030.

Key Findings:

Delay in Progress:

The report reveals that the Asia-Pacific region is lagging behind by 32 years in achieving the SDGs, indicating significant challenges in sustainable development.


  • Established as the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) in 1947, it became ESCAP in 1974.
  • It is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations, aiming to foster cooperation among member states to address sustainable development challenges.


  • UNESCAP promotes collaboration among member states to find solutions to sustainable development challenges, focusing on economic, social, and environmental dimensions.


  • Comprising 53 member states, including India, and 9 associate members, UNESCAP operates from its headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand.


February 21
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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