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April 26 @ 8:00 am - 7:00 pm



The Supreme Court refuses to accept a petition aiming to end the Collegium system of judicial appointments and revive the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).

  • The Supreme Court’s validated the Collegium system and dismissed NJAC by a Constitution Bench in 2015.

Basis for Rejection:

  • The petition reiterates issues already settled by prior judgments, potentially wasting judicial resources.
  • Registrar suspects the petition may be motivated by an attempt to revisit resolved matters or other undisclosed motives.
  • Registrar cites Supreme Court Rules, 2013, to refuse the petition due to lack of reasonable cause or frivolous content.
  • Petitioner has 15 days to appeal as per the rules.

Context and Argument:

  • It challenges the 2015 judgment nullifying NJAC and reinstating Collegium, alleging nepotism and favoritism.


The collegium system in India is a mechanism for appointing and transferring judges in both the Supreme Court and High Courts. It operates through a committee known as the collegium, comprising senior judges.


  • In the Supreme Court, the collegium consists of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the four most senior judges.
  • For High Court appointments, the collegium is led by the Chief Justice of the respective High Court along with its four senior-most judges.


  • The collegium recommends suitable candidates for judicial positions to the President of India, who then appoints them.


The collegium system emerged through a series of Supreme Court judgments in the 1990s, known as the Three Judges Cases, as the Constitution does not explicitly mention it.

Three Judges Cases

  • The “First Judge Case” of 1981 clarified that consultation in judicial appointments doesn’t require concurrence but involves an exchange of views.
  • The “Second Judge Case” of 1993 redefined consultation to necessitate concurrence, making the CJI’s advice binding on the President and requiring consultation with two senior colleagues.
  • The “Third Judge Case” of 1998 further refined the process, mandating consultation with a collegium of the four most senior judges, even if two judges disagree.


Some critics argue that the collegium system lacks transparency and accountability in judicial appointments.

National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC):

The NJAC was established in 2014 through the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act, aiming to introduce a more transparent system for judicial appointments by including government representatives alongside judges.

Supreme Court Ruling (2015):

  • The Supreme Court struck down the NJAC as unconstitutional in 2015 due to concerns about political influence on judicial independence.
  • Consequently, the collegium system, where judges appoint judges, was reinstated.



India’s service sector exports have been on a remarkable rise. In 2023, they jumped 11.4% to a staggering $345 billion, surpassing China’s service exports which contracted by 10.1% (Source: UNCTAD report).

This growth in services exports is a bright spot for the Indian economy, especially amidst global uncertainties.

What are we exporting?

  • Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO): A dominant force, accounting for a significant portion of exports. Think software development, IT enabled services, and call centers.
  • Financial services: Banking, insurance, and accounting services are making a growing contribution.
  • Tourism and hospitality: India’s rich culture and diverse landscapes are attracting more tourists, boosting service exports in this sector.
  • Other sectors: Education, healthcare, transportation, and logistics are also emerging as important contributors.

Where are we exporting to?

  • Global reach: India’s service exports reach a vast network of countries:
  • Developed economies: The United States, United Kingdom, and Japan are top importers of Indian services, attracted by cost-effectiveness and skilled manpower.
  • The Gulf: Countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia are major importers, particularly for IT and construction-related services.
  • Developing nations: India is also a service provider to neighbouring countries and Africa, with expertise in areas like education and healthcare.

How can we export more?

  • Skill development: Investing in education and training to create a workforce with industry-relevant skills is crucial.
  • Infrastructure upgrade: Improving logistics and communication infrastructure will make Indian services more competitive globally.
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship: Encouraging innovation in service sectors will create new export opportunities.
  • Ease of doing business: Simplifying regulations and procedures can attract more players to the export market.

Government initiatives in export promotion

  • Champion Services Sectors: The government has identified 12 key service sectors for focused promotion, including tourism, education, and legal services.
  • Market Access Initiative: This scheme provides financial assistance to exporters for exploring new markets and increasing their share in existing ones.
  • Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme: This initiative supports the development of infrastructure facilities that facilitate exports.
  • Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP): This scheme helps exporters by refunding certain duties and taxes levied on exported goods and services.



The RBI proposes new regulations to improve safety for offline payment aggregators by strengthening merchant KYC and prohibiting them from storing card data from August 2025.

New rules proposed by RBI

  • Existing online PA rules now apply to offline transactions.
  • Stronger KYC checks for merchants (categorized by size).
  • Focus on non-bank PAs offering offline services.
  • Minimum net worth requirement for non-bank PAs.
  • Deadlines for existing operators to comply or cease operations.
  • PAs banned from storing card data (after August 1, 2025). gthening merchant KYC and prohibiting them from storing card data from August 2025.

Who are Payment Aggregators (PAs)?

Payment aggregators are businesses that act as intermediaries between merchants and customers in online and, increasingly, offline transactions. They simplify the payment process by:

  • Integrating various payment methods (debit cards, credit cards, wallets) into a single platform for merchants.
  • Facilitating the collection of payments from customers for merchants.
  • Settling the collected funds with merchants, deducting their processing fees.

Examples of Payment Aggregators in India:

  • Razorpay
  • Paytm
  • PhonePe
  • Billdesk
  • Stripe (international player with Indian operations)

Regulation of Payment Aggregators:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is responsible for regulating payment aggregators in India.

  • The Master Directions concerning the issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments (2007)
  • The guidelines pertaining to the regulation of payment aggregators and payment gateways (2020).
  • Draft Regulations for Offline Payment Aggregators (2023):

Related Laws:

  • Information Technology Act, 2000: Governs data privacy and security aspects of online transactions facilitated by PAs.
  • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA): PAs are obligated to comply with KYC and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) regulations to prevent illegal financial activities.

Benefits of Regulations:

  • Enhanced security and consumer protection against fraud.
  • Increased transparency in payment processes.
  • Promotes a level playing field for all players in the payment ecosystem.

Challenges and Looking Ahead:

  • Striking a balance between innovation and regulation to ensure a dynamic and secure payment environment.
  • Effectively monitoring and enforcing regulations across the vast and diverse Indian market.
  • Adapting regulations to keep pace with evolving technologies and payment methods



Consumers are facing risks due to misleading advertisements for food and medicine. The current regulatory system is failing to protect public health.

  • Misleading advertisements for food and medicine are harming public health.
  • Examples include Patanjali Ayurveda’s untested COVID-19 cures and Nestle’s baby formula with high sugar content.

Existing regulations are weak:

  • The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) lacks enforcement power.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is understaffed and reluctant to act.

The Expectation:

  • The Supreme Court is pressured to take a more active role due to the dysfunctional regulatory system.

A Better Approach:

  • Courts should focus on strengthening existing regulations, not creating new ones.
  • The focus should be on:
  • Prompt enforcement by FSSAI against violators.
  • Giving ASCI the power to enforce its rulings.

Stricter enforcement will lead to:

  • Fewer misleading advertisements.
  • Improved public health through safer food choices.

What is FSSAI?

  • It was established in 2008 under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
  • An autonomous statutory body under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • Acts as a single reference point for all matters related to food safety and standards in India.

What are FSSAI’s responsibilities?

  •  Laying down science-based standards for food products.
  •  Regulating the production, storage, distribution, sales, and importation of food.
  •  Guaranteeing the accessibility of safe and nutritious food for consumers.
  •  Issuing licenses and registrations to food-related enterprises.
  •  Overseeing compliance with food safety regulations through inspections and testing.
  •  Recalling unsafe food products from the market.

Benefits of FSSAI:

  • Improved food quality and safety for consumers
    Increased consumer confidence in the food supply chain.
    Promotes fair practices in the food industry.
    Boosts exports of Indian food products.

Challenges faced by FSSAI:

  • Limited resources (staffing, funding) for effective enforcement.
  • Complexities of a vast and diverse food industry.



Scientists have recently unearthed microbes flourishing 13 feet below the parched terrain of Chile’s Atacama Desert, setting a new record for the deepest detection of microbial life in that area.

Geography of the Atacama Desert:

  • Located in northern Chile, bordered by the Andes Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
  • Stretches nearly 1,000 km along Chile’s coast and shares borders with Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia.
  • Landscape features caked salt deposits called playas, volcanic peaks, and remnants of its former seabed.

Climate of the Atacama Desert:

  • Receives an average rainfall of about 1 mm per year, with some areas never experiencing rainfall.
  • Positioned between the Andes and the Coastal Mountain range, hindering humid air from the Amazon.
  • Cold water upwelling from the Pacific Ocean limits evaporation, preventing cloud formation and rain.
  • Temperatures average around 63°F (18°C) throughout the year.

Unique Features and Resources:

  • Abundant in sodium nitrate, valuable for fertilizer and explosives production.
  • Soil samples resemble those from Mars, making it a testing ground for NASA instruments.
  • Hosts the oldest artificially mummified human remains, the Chinchorro mummies.
  • Known for its exceptionally clear skies, with over 300 days of clear weather annually and minimal light pollution.



The 2024 Global Report on Food Crisis (GRFC) revealed that approximately 282 million individuals encountered severe levels of acute food insecurity across 59 nations.

The Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC) is an annual publication by the Food Security Information Network (FSIN).

The report is launched by a collaborative initiative, the Global Network Against Food Crises, involving UN agencies, the EU, USAID, and NGOs, aimed at addressing food crises worldwide.

Highlights of GRFC 2024:

  • Population Analysis: The report analyzed 1.3 billion people across 59 countries in 2023.
  • Fifth Consecutive Year of Rise: 2023 marked the fifth straight year of increases in the number of people facing acute food insecurity globally.
  • Magnitude of Food Insecurity: Nearly 282 million people suffered from high levels of acute food insecurity across the 59 countries analyzed.
  • The report identifies conflicts, extreme weather events, and economic shocks as the primary drivers behind worsening food crises worldwide.
  • Conflict Hotspots: Conflict and insecurity were the primary drivers in 20 countries, directly affecting 135 million people, notably in places like Palestine (Gaza Strip) and Sudan.
  • Gaza Strip saw its most severe food crisis in eight years, while Sudan faced one of the world’s worst food crises, with nearly a third of its population requiring emergency food aid.
  • Extreme weather events were the main driver for 18 countries, affecting over 72 million people with acute food insecurity.
  • Top 10 Countries Affected: The ten countries with the most severe food crises in 2023 were the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, the Syrian Arab Republic, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar.
  • Positive Trends: Despite the overall negative trend, improvements were seen in 17 countries in 2023, including the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine.



At the Sustainable Finance for Tiger Landscapes Conference, Bhutan and the Tiger Conservation Coalition have pledged to mobilize $1 billion aimed at supporting tiger conservation efforts.

  • The Tiger Conservation Coalition is a group of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dedicated to tiger conservation.

Vision for Tigers:

  • Their vision is to ensure the long-term presence of healthy tiger populations in protected habitats across their natural range.
  • Expertise and Alignment: The coalition brings together leading experts in various fields, including tiger biology, wildlife crime, policy, finance, and communications. They are all aligned in their goal of achieving large-scale tiger conservation.

Member Organizations:

  • The coalition comprises eight prominent NGOs, including the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Fauna & Flora, IUCN, Panthera, TRAFFIC, UNDP, WCS, and WWF.

Innovative Tools:

  • The coalition has developed Tiger Conservation Landscapes 3.0, a sophisticated habitat modeling system to track changes in tiger habitats in real-time across different scales.

Global Impact:

  • Their work sets a precedent for objective habitat monitoring, aligning with global agendas such as the 30×30 initiative, Sustainable Development Goals, and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.



Scientists have made a remarkable discovery in Antarctica: the immense Ross Ice Shelf, equivalent in size to France, moves forward by several centimeters once or twice daily.

Ross Ice Shelf:

  • Situated in the Ross Sea, extending from Antarctica’s coast into the ocean.
  • Largest ice shelf of Antarctica, covering about 487,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of France.


  • Formed by the accumulation and compaction of snow over time, transforming into ice.
  • Constantly replenished by ice flow from glaciers draining from both the East and West Antarctic Ice Sheets.
  • Ice is continuously added while some is removed through basal melting and ice calving at the front.
  • Plays a crucial role in stabilizing the Antarctic ice sheet by supporting the constantly moving ice over the land surface.

Ross Sea:

Geographical Features:

  • Located just 320 kilometers from the South Pole, it’s a vast bay.
  • Positioned south and slightly east of New Zealand.
  • Largest polar marine ecosystem globally.
  • Covers approximately 960,000 square kilometers, with a significant portion covered by the Ross Ice Shelf.

Biodiversity and Protection:

  • First protected area in Antarctica, home to a significant population of penguins and various whale species.



April 26
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