News & Editorial Analysis 23 January 2023

News & Editorial Analysis 23 January 2023

The Hindu News Analysis

1 –About the National Register of Citizens (NRC):

GS I Indian Polity

Details of NRC:

The acronym NRC refers to the National Register of Citizens.

The National Register of Citizens, 1951, is a register created following each village’s Census of 1951, listing the homes or holdings in serial order and marking the number and names of citizens living in each one.

The NRC was only published once in 1951.

NRC of Assam:

Large-scale illegal migration from the former East Pakistan and, after 1971, Bangladesh prompted the need for an upgrade in Assam.

The Assam movement for the repatriation of illegal migrants lasted six years, from 1979 to 1985.

The campaign was organised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which demanded that the NRC be updated and that all illegal migrants who entered Assam after 1951 be deported.

The Assam Accord, signed in 1985, was the movement’s pinnacle.

On March 25, 1971, the deadline for deporting illegal aliens was announced.

The Citizenship Act of 1955 was changed and a new section was inserted to give effect to the new date, which was July 19, 1949, as stated by articles 5 and 6 of the Constitution.

It was only applicable to Assam.

An Assam-based NGO filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court after receiving repeated demands from AASU and other Assam organisations to update the NRC.

In December 2014, a Supreme Court split bench ordered that the NRC be updated in a timely manner.

The 1951 NRC and the 1971 Electoral Roll are examples of legacy data (up to midnight on March 24, 1971). Anyone whose name appears on these documents, as well as their descendants, is granted Indian citizenship.


Rumours regarding the true number of illegal migrants in Assam and the rest of the country are likely to be put to rest if the NRC is amended.

It will provide a verified dataset to aid in relevant policy discussions and execution.

The publication of an updated NRC is expected to deter future Bangladeshi migrants from entering Assam illegally.

The drafted NRC has already given the impression that entering Assam without proper documentation will result in detention, imprisonment, and expulsion.

More importantly, illegal migrants may find it much more difficult to obtain Indian identity credentials and enjoy all of the benefits and privileges that all Indian citizens enjoy.

All Bengali speakers in Assam who were previously accused of being Bangladeshis will be relieved by their inclusion in the NRC.


Process defects – People who were on the first list, published on January 1, 2018, were not on the second. The family of a former Indian President was not included on the list.

The NRC, the Election Commission’s voter list, and the Foreigners’ Tribunals, which are assisted by the Assam Border Police, are all operating in parallel, resulting in complete disarray.

Despite the fact that the document contains a window for re-verification, physically validating everyone on the list will be impossible.

Because such “non citizens” can go to court to verify their citizenship claim, the judiciary may become overburdened, which already has a large backlog of cases.

The fate of individuals who did not make the list is yet unknown.

Expulsion to Bangladesh is not an option because Dhaka has never recognised them as its citizens or recognised that illegal immigration is a problem. In the absence of a written agreement, India cannot deport illegal migrants to Bangladesh.

Bringing it up might also jeopardise relations with Dhaka. Such an effort would be detrimental to bilateral relations as well as the country’s international standing.

Large-scale jail camps, in addition to deportation, are another option, though this is unlikely in a cultured democracy like India.

Work permits, which would provide them limited legal rights to work while removing their political voice, is another option. However, it is unknown what would happen to the offspring of such people.

NRC appears to be an endless process, with no end to the uncertainties.

Steps to Follow:

As a country dedicated to the ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’ concept, India should not rush to make decisions that may disenfranchise its citizens, as this would be antithetical to its centuries-old principles.

Political parties must avoid colouring the entire NRC process with electoral concerns that could lead to communal violence, and the Union Government must clearly lay out its policy for dealing with people who are left out of the final NRC data.

For the four million people who must prove their Indian citizenship with little resources, a strong legal support system is required.

2 – Space Debris:

GS I Space and Technology

What is Space Debris?

Space debris poses a global threat to the continued use of space-based technology that enables critical operations such as communication, transportation, weather and climate monitoring, and remote sensing.

Predicting the likelihood of collision with these space objects is essential for national security and the protection of Indian public and commercial space assets.

Total amount of junk in space:

The true amount of space debris is believed to be between 500,000 and one million pieces due to current sensor equipment’s inability to detect smaller items. They all move at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,162 kph), fast enough for even a little piece of orbital junk to kill a satellite or spacecraft.

Importance of the Project:

By providing an operationally flexible, scalable, transparent, and indigenous collision probability solution, the project’s output will instantly help India’s $7 billion (Rs 51,334 crore) space business.

Future technologies that could aid with the solution include:

Changing an object’s orbit is one way to avoid a potential collision, but the sheer amount of debris needs continual surveillance and prediction – by any means necessary.

NASA’s Space Debris Sensor orbits the Earth from the International Space Station. The sensor was attached to the outside of the European Columbus module of the space station in December 2017. It will detect millimetre-sized pieces of debris for at least two years, sending back information on what it finds, including size, density, velocity, orbit, and whether the impacting object is from space or a man-made piece of space junk.

The REMOVE debris satellite contains two cubesats that will release synthetic space debris to demonstrate different retrieval technologies.

The e.Deorbit mission is working on two new technologies that will grab or trap stray space junk.
Another technology is the use of a powerful laser beam to move objects. It’s vital to get started as soon as feasible since, according to current scientific forecasts, certain orbits will become unsuitable in the next decades without aggressive trash clearance.

Project Netra:

To defend its space assets from space debris, Isro constructed a specialised Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Control Centre named “Netra” in Bengaluru in December.

Netra’s principal mission is to track, monitor, and defend national space assets while also acting as a hub for all SSA activities.

Only the United States, Russia, and Europe have tracking and collision warning systems that are comparable.

Anti-satellite missile (ASAT) of India:

Mission Shakti is a collaboration between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) (ISRO).

As part of the operation, an anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile was fired at a decommissioned Indian spacecraft. The DRDO’s Balasore testing range in Odisha launched Mission Shakti.


India is only the fourth country to acquire such a sophisticated and modern capability, and Indians are responsible for the entire process. Prior to this, only the US, Russia, and China have been able to hit a live target in space.

3 – National Company Law Tribunal:

Prelims Specific Topic

NCLT Details:

It is an Indian quasi-judicial body that resolves on issues affecting Indian businesses.

On June 1, 2016, it was established. (2013 Companies Act)

The formation of the group was recommended by the Justice Eradi Committee.

It primarily addresses questions of corporate and insolvency law.

Terms of office for members: Appointments will last for five years, or until the person reaches the age of 65, whichever comes first, or until new directions are given.

4 – Places of Worship Act:

Prelims Specific Topic

About the Act:

It aims to retain the “religious character” of places of worship as it was in 1947, with the exception of the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid conflict, which is already in court.


The Act makes it illegal to convert a house of worship, or even a portion of one, into a place of worship of a different religious denomination or a section of the same religious denomination.

When the Act takes effect, all actions, appeals, or other proceedings relating to changing the character of a house of worship (that were pending on August 15, 1947) would come to an end, and no new proceedings can be begun, according to Section 4 of the Act (2).

Legal action can be pursued if the change of status occurred after the cut-off date of August 15, 1947. (after enactment of the Act).

The Act also declares the state responsible for preserving every house of worship’s religious character as it was at the time of independence.

The state is required by the Indian Constitution to maintain and protect the equality of all faiths, which is an important secular attribute.


The Act did not apply to the Ayodhya disputed site. The trial in the Ayodhya case continued after the law was passed due to this exemption.

The Act exempted any house of worship that is an antique and historical monument or an archaeological site covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, in addition to the Ayodhya conflict.

A case that has either been settled or dismissed.

Any acquiescence agreement reached between the parties before to the Act’s implementation, as well as any location conversion.


Under Section 6 of the Act, violating the Act’s requirements is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine.

The 2019 Supreme Court Opinion:

In the 2019 Ayodhya judgement, the Constitution Bench referred to the Act, saying it promotes the Constitution’s secular objectives and clearly prohibits retrogression.

Petition’s Arguments:

The Act has been criticised as being anti-secular.

The August 15, 1947, cut-off date has been argued to be “arbitrary, irrational, and retrospective,” barring Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs from approaching courts to “reclaim” sites of worship that had been “invaded” and “encroached” upon by “fundamentalist barbaric invaders.”

According to the claim, the Centre has no jurisdiction to regulate “pilgrimages” or “burial places” on the state list.

The government, on the other hand, maintained that it could pass this law using its residuary jurisdiction under Union List Entry 97.

Entry 97 delegated to the Centre residuary legislative authority over matters not covered by the three categories.

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The Hindu Editorial Analysis

India’s Urbanisation Policies


A World Bank research on financing India’s urban infrastructure needs from November 2022 emphasises the value of private investments in tackling urban concerns. For India’s urban policy paradigm, the drive to draw private investment has been problematic since the 1990s. Urban improvements during the United Progressive Alliance I government, the Smart City goal, and now this study came after this work.

Funding for cities:

Has the process of reforming been successful in enticing private investment to urban infrastructure? After three decades of reforms, the government currently provides the majority of urban funding. 48 percent, 24 percent, and 15 percent, respectively, of the money required to finance urban capital expenditures are provided by the federal, state, and local governments. Public-private partnerships and commercial loans each provide 3% of the funding for a project.

In recent years, it has been estimated that funding for urban infrastructure will require a substantial sum of money; the Isher Judge Ahluwalia report estimated that by 2030, this value will be close to 39.2 lakh crore. According to a McKinsey analysis, the price of urbanisation is $1.2 trillion, or 90 lakh crore.

The forecasts from the World Bank:

According to the World Bank, urban India will require investments of $840 billion (almost 70 lakh crore), of which $55 billion will be required yearly to meet the rising demands of the population.

The Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), and other government flagship programmes have a combined budget of no more than 2 lakh crore (that too for a period of five years).

How, then, will a supply-demand gap be filled?

Building up the financial foundation and creditworthiness of Indian cities is one of the report’s primary topics and recommendations. Cities must establish a strong financial base and be able to pay for the services they provide. In plainer terms, it involves raising service charges, user fees, and property taxes, to mention a few.

85% of government revenue comes from local governments, as our analysis has already shown. This implies that urban residents are making sizable financial contributions despite the World Bank report’s focus on rising costs such user fees for energy and other services. Will expanding the tax base be enough to meet the cities’ increasing need for urban infrastructure?

The answer is that it won’t.

The Shimla case study:

In 2016–17, the Shimla Water Works were taken over by the Greater Shimla Water Supply and Sewage Circle, a solitary service run by the Shimla Municipal Corporation. (GSWSSC). The Shimla Municipal Corporation was in charge of running the utility, but the Bank provided assistance in the form of a soft loan to make sure there was enough water and that it was distributed properly.

On the other hand, it established the Shimla Jal Prabandhan Nigam Limited in 2017–18, which is currently governed by a board of directors but operates outside the jurisdiction of the municipality, and transformed GSWSSC into a business. Such tricks are useless and put India’s primary goal of urbanisation in jeopardy.

Identifying detours:

The fundamental issue with this report, as well as papers of a similar nature from the past, is that they were developed via a top-down process and overemphasise technologically centred solutions that require extremely costly and capital-intensive equipment.

The population must be engaged with in order to determine their requirements before creating any plans for the urban environment.

Giving local governments and the broader public more power is the second objective. The national task force headed by K.C. Sivaramakrishnan that looked at the 74th Constitutional Amendment made a number of recommendations, including the following:

Enhancing the people’s power

Ceding some areas to local government control.

It is suggested that cities receive 10% of the income tax revenue.

Ensuring that the corpus fund was only applied to building infrastructure. If this were done, city governments would be in a stronger position to ensure quick change.

Urban governance is another crucial component of urban infrastructure, but it is in disarray across the majority of the nation. To give cities additional authority and allow for regular elections, the three Fs—finances, functions, and functionaries—need to be transferred.

Local governments have relatively little control over how well these parastatals run cities, which are frequently managed by them.

Mission for a Smart City (SCM):

The Indian government’s ground-breaking Smart Cities Mission was introduced in 2015 with the goal of fostering regional development and improving people’s quality of life by utilising technology to provide citizens with smart outcomes.

A “smart city” is one that has the fundamental infrastructure necessary to provide a decent level of living and a safe, sustainable environment.

The fundamental infrastructure is covered, including reliable access to water and energy, solid waste management that respects the environment, effective urban transportation, moderately affordable housing, and strong IT connectivity.

The most urgent requirements and potential to improve quality of life are at the centre of smart cities. In order to alter things, they use a variety of strategies, including public-private partnerships, best practises in urban planning, digital and information technologies, and policy change. They consistently give people priority.

About AMRUT:

In 500 carefully chosen cities and towns spread across all States and Union Territories, the government started implementing AMRUT in 2015. (UTs). Building infrastructure for water supply, sewage management, storm water drainage, non-motorized urban transit, and green areas and parks is the main goal of AMRUT. The Mission also includes reforms and capacity building.


The World Bank report serves as yet another reminder of the tragic urbanisation of India, which has been labelled as “policy paralysis from the top.” We need to allocate adequate funds in order to revitalise our metropolitan environment.

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The Indian Express Editorial Analysis

Aspirational Blocks Programme


An Adivasi hamlet in the Sulthan Bathery block of the district Wayanad in Kerala, which shares a border with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, is located there.

Due to its geographic isolation, the area can only be reached by foot. To provide medical care, the district makes use of mobile medical units, a van containing a tribal medical officer, an ASHA volunteer, and a public health nurse.

To make sure that residents are examined for any conditions, given medication, and given counselling, medical camps were established.

Similar to Sulthan Bathery, geographical isolation and other factors have prevented socioeconomic development in many of these areas throughout India.

But there is hope now. Sulthan Bathery is one of the blocks the state of Kerala chose as part of the Aspirational Blocks Program to enhance the delivery of public services.

Current Situation:

The Aspirational Blocks Program was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Second National Conference of Chief Secretaries (ABP).

This transformational programme focuses on enhancing governance to improve the quality of life for residents in India’s most challenging and underdeveloped areas by combining existing programmes, defining outcomes, and continuously monitoring them.

The government’s flagship Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP), which was introduced in 2018 across 112 underdeveloped districts of India, served as the foundation for the ABP’s notable success.

Aspirational Blocks Program (ABP) information:

500 blocks from 28 states and four union territories had been chosen by an interministerial committee after consulting with the states.

The ABP will concentrate on tracking 15 key socioeconomic indicators (KSIs) in each of them, which are divided into six main categories: basic infrastructure and social development, health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, and water resources.

These themes were chosen so that states would have the flexibility to add additional state-specific KSIs to address local challenges while still facilitating the holistic development of each block.

The KSIs will be monitored in real-time, and rankings will be published on a regular basis across important subject areas to generate healthy competition among the blocks and promote data-driven governance.

The emphasis on blocks is reminiscent of the historical significance of development blocks, which were first introduced in 1952 to support improvements in communication networks, rural health and hygiene, and rural education, as well as a significant expansion of the nation’s agricultural programme.

By constructing social and economic infrastructure, development blocks make sure that a greater than proportionate share of development reaches the vulnerable and marginalised groups of the population.

The block, which serves as an administrative and oversight body, makes sure that a “one-size-fits-all” strategy is not utilised across the board.

Instead, the block administration can implement tailored strategies to enhance socioeconomic indicators based on the regional context and the most pressing needs. Additionally, this approach moves the decision-making closer to the people.

Constructing blocks as “Jan Andolans”:

The ADP has demonstrated that success will come if development is viewed as a “Jan Andolan” and a district’s progress is continuously tracked.

Many aspirational districts have performed better than the state average over the past five years in terms of a number of indicators.

For instance, in Paschimi Singbhum, a Jharkhand district affected by left-wing extremism, the percentage of pregnant women registered during the first trimester increased from 39% in 2018 to 91% in 2022.

The proportion of institutional deliveries has increased in districts like Gumla in Jharkhand, Karauli in Rajasthan, Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh, and Dhalai in Tripura, from about 40% to more than 90%.

There are other success stories, such as the use of self-help groups in rural Ranchi to promote financial inclusion and financial literacy using UPI and BHIM apps, the provision of additional incentives to locals and frontline workers in Barwani (Madhya Pradesh) to ensure that pregnant women visit the public health institution for ante-natal and post-natal care, and the complete digitization of court services to improve speed and access to justice in rural Osmanabad, among others (Maharashtra).

Budgetary support for the programme for aspirational development:

In her speech on the Union Budget on February 1, 2022, the finance minister noted that 95% of the 112 aspirational districts had made notable advancements in key areas like health, nutrition, financial inclusion, and skill development.

She did draw attention to the fact that some blocks continue to perform poorly. The causes of this can be multifaceted and include, among other things, hazardous terrain, a lack of resources, historical injustice, social marginalisation, and communal fragility.

Moving ahead:

By enhancing block-level governance and last-mile service delivery, the ABP will address current inequities.

States are expected to act as the main proponents of this project by directing, assisting, reviewing, and developing the skills of the appropriate officers to advance the programme.

The officers at the block level will enhance the delivery of crucial last mile services under the direction of the district administration. For the purpose of promoting social welfare, they will concentrate on enhancing the infrastructure at the block level.

To close significant administrative gaps and maintain these advancements for a long time, several line departments of the block administration will come together and cooperate.

Economic growth will be positively accelerated by this all-encompassing development. The blocks will thereafter be able to contribute to India’s GDP and help fulfil important milestones outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The initiative aims to increase citizens’ understanding of their rights and safeguard their dignity by improving access to government programmes. Additionally, it gives all block administrators a shared forum to share their best practises and lessons learned.

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