Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Dec 30, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Use of Bio-Pesticides in India


Pesticide consumption is also a topic of discussion in various global conferences related to sustainability and the environment. In COP 15 of the Convention on Bio-Diversity, the Indian Government expressed that a numerical global target for pesticide reduction is unnecessary and must be left to countries to decide since food security was important in developing states where agriculture is a primary economic driver for rural communities.

Consumption of chemical pesticide in India has increased over the decades

Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh account for 40% of the chemical pesticides consumed in the country.

Consumption of bio-pesticides is increasing

In recent years, the government is promoting the use of bio-pesticides through various schemes. The consumption of bio-pesticides at the national level was 6,148 MT in 2015-16 which rose to 8,898.92 MT in 2021-22. That is, in the last seven years, the use of bio-pesticides increased by close to 45%.

Current Affair 2:
Standing Committee Report on India’s Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy


This article is not totally for Prelims perspective.

The Standing Committee on External Affairs (Chair: Mr. P.P. Chaudhary) submitted its report on ‘India’s Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy: Prospects and Limitations”, on December 12, 2022

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) defines soft power as the ability to influence others through appeal and attraction, using non-coercive means. 

The MEA has noted four limitations that inhibit India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy.  These are: (i) inadequate financing, (ii) lack of coordination among various institutions, (iii) shortage of skilled manpower, and (iv) lack of clarity on the mandate of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)

Key observations and recommendations of the Committee include:

Restructuring Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR):

ICCR is an autonomous body under the MEA.  It has a mandate to engage in policy and programme formulation and implementation pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.  The MEA stated that the restructuring of the ICCR was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Committee observed the need for a complete remodelling of the structure, mandate, and functioning of the ICCR to better project Indian culture. The Committee recommended that the MEA finalise the restructuring of the ICCR.  It also recommended that a blueprint of the restructuring may be submitted to the Committee within three months.

The MEA submitted that the budgetary allocation of the ICCR was inadequate. The Committee observed that the ICCR would require Rs 500 crore to accommodate current demand from embassies and cultural centres.  The Committee recommended that the central government should increase ICCR’s budgetary allocation by Rs 500 crore so that it can conduct India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy in a robust manner.

Coordination committee:

According to the MEA, there is an overlapping mandate between different ministries, which acts as a limiting factor in pursuit of India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy.

The Committee had earlier recommended the establishment of an institutionalised coordination mechanism between the MEA/ICCR and other line ministries (such as Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education).

The Committee noted that there have been no substantive steps taken to establish such a mechanism.  The Committee recommended the constitution of a Coordination Committee under the monitoring of the MEA to ensure better coordination between ministries/departments responsible for India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy.

Working group on cultural diplomacy:

The Committee noted that both the MEA and Ministry of Culture are engaged in the promotion of India’s cultural diplomacy.   While the Ministry of Culture formulates policy and evolves projects for propagation of culture, ICCR is the executing arm in the external domain responsible for the preservation of cultural heritage within and outside India. 

The Committee recommended the formation of a working group between the MEA and the Ministry of Culture to coordinate and plan cultural diplomatic activities. Further, the Committee recommended creating a consolidated database of information of cultural resources.

Constituting Yoga Certification Board:

The Committee observed the global popularity of Yoga and recognised its effectiveness as a soft power tool.  It recommended collaboration between the Ministry of AYUSH and the MEA to constitute a Yoga Certification Board.  The Board would certify Indian yogic practices and therapies.

Mechanism to interact with Indian Diaspora:

India has a large diaspora with more than 31 million people, including over 13 million Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and 18 million People of Indian Origin (PIOs).  The Committee observed the role of the Indian diaspora as a soft power tool in building and strengthening relations between their home and host countries.  The Committee recommended formulating a mechanism to proactively interact with the Indian diaspora in the Indian Missions/Post abroad.  It also recommended holding designated events to solicit their feedback and suggestions for better regular engagement with the host country.

Tourism promotion: The Committee noted tourism as a key indicator of a country’s soft power capital.  It observed the need to increase tourism offices abroad and the adoption of a country-specific approach for tourism promotion.  The Committee recommended the Government to suggest proposals incorporating feedback from different categories of tourists for a comprehensive country-specific approach.


Current Affair 3:
Article 19 & 21 Rights Can Be Enforced Against Private Individuals & Entities : Supreme Court Holds By 4:1 Majority


In an important development, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court said that the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 19 and 21 are enforceable even against persons other than the state or its instrumentalities.

“A fundamental right under Article 19/21 can be enforced even against persons other than the State or its instrumentalities”, the majority judgment held.

A bench of Justice V. Ramasubramanian, who authored the judgment, and Justices S. Abdul Nazeer, B.R. Gavai, and A.S. Bopanna, held that the government had the responsibility of protecting citizens from both the state and non-state actors when it came to Article 21.

Justice Nagarathna dissents: READ IT.

Notably, Justice B.V. Nagarathna took a different stand with respect to the horizontal application of Articles 19 and 21. While her colleagues on the bench held that the rights guaranteed by the said articles of the Constitution could be enforced even against persons other than the state or its instrumentalities, Justice Nagarathna highlighted the practical difficulty of permitting such constitutionally consecrated rights to operate against private individuals and entities.

Horizontal application of fundamental rights under Articles 19 and 21 could be permitted, she said, only if the elementary differences between a fundamental right and the congruent common law right, the incidence of duty to respect each of such forms of rights, and the forum which would be called upon to adjudicate on the failure to respect each of such rights were ignored.

According to Justice Nagarathna, although this court, through its ‘jurisprudential labour’ has progressively expanded the scope of Article 12 of the Constitution so as to ensure that a private entity performing a public duty or function and therefore ‘informing our national life’, does not escape the discipline of Part III merely because it is not ‘state’ stricto sensu, “a private body, acting in a private capacity, fulfilling a private function, cannot be axiomatically amenable to the claims of fundamental rights violations”.

Current Affair 4:
Exchange of list of prisoners between India and Pakistan



India and Pakistan today exchanged, through diplomatic channels simultaneously at New Delhi and Islamabad, the lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen in their custody. Under the provisions of the 2008 Agreement on Consular Access, such lists are exchanged every year on 01 January and 01 July.


India shared lists of 339 Pakistani civilian prisoners and 95 Pakistani fishermen currently in Indian custody. Similarly, Pakistan has shared lists of 51 civilian prisoners and 654 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or are believed to be Indians.

The Government has called for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defence personnel, and fishermen along with their boats, from Pakistan's custody. In this context, Pakistan was asked to expedite the release and repatriation of 631 Indian fishermen and 02 Indian civilian prisoners, who have completed their sentence and whose nationality has been confirmed and conveyed to Pakistan.

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