Mercy Petition


Convicts in the 1991 Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Case have applied for a mercy petition. According to the statement given by the Solicitor General of India to the Supreme Court (SC), the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Banwari Lal Purohit, will make a decision in the upcoming three or four days. Constitution gives pardoning power to the President and the Governors of states under Article 72 and Article 161.


–        Initially, when convicts applied for the mercy petition, the then governor had not responded to it. But Supreme Court cited that the governor is eligible to decide on pardon. 

–        According to the central government, the central agencies have investigated the cases related to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination; thus, pleas for pardoning and releasing should be handled by the President. 

What do petitioners think?

–        According to the petitioners, a convict can choose between the President and the governor for a pardon.

–        In the case ‘Union of India vs. Sriharan 2015′, the apex court has also stated that the ‘Exercise of Executive clemency’ was ‘vested in the President or the Governor.’

Facts for written examination:

1)      Governor has to think about the state’s recommendation, but there is no time limit to take such decisions. (The Tamil Nadu Government is firm on its decision when the governor returned the file of the case)

2)      President’s Pardoning power in India:

–        Article 72 provides the provision of pardon to the President.

–        Under which the President can grant pardon, reprieves, respites, or remissions of death sentence or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of the offense.

–        Limitations: In Several cases, President cannot solely take any decision, i.e., independent of government. In some cases, SC has asked the Council of Ministers to the President while reviewing the mercy pleas.

–        Reconsideration: Under Article 74(1), the President can ask for reconsideration on the Cabinet’s recommendation. If the Cabinet remains firm on its previous recommendation, then the President has no other option other than accepting the Cabinet’s recommendation.

3)      Governor’s Pardoning power:

–        Under Article 161, the governor of a state has entitled the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any convicted person.

Difference between President and Governor’s pardoning power:

–        Article 72 of the constitution provides the larger scope of pardoning power compared to the pardoning scope available with the governor.

–        Court Martial: The President can use pardoning power in the case of Court Martials (the President is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces).

          Death Sentence: Governor does not have any say or power of pardon in death sentences, contrary to the governor’s pardoning power.




Ratle Hydro Electric Project on Chenab River


Union Government has given its nod to the 850-MegaWatt (MW) Ratle Hydropower Project. The project is to be built on the Chenab River in the Kishtawar District of the valley. The dam will be a 130 m tall gravity dam with two power stations planned to be placed adjacent to each other.


In 2013, the then Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the Ratle dam. The construction work has not progressed because of Pakistan’s opposition. According to Pakistan, the dam violates the Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960.

Latest Update:

–        Union Cabinet approved the construction of the project.

–        An investment worth Rs. 5282 Crores has been envisaged.

–        A deadline of a span of 60 months for the project’s commissioning is also set up.


  1. In August 2017, the World Bank allowed India to construct a dam on the planned place.
  2. Indus Water Treaty was signed in 1960, after the negotiations on various aspects for 9-long years.
  3. World Bank is also a signatory of the Indus Water Treaty.
  4. According to the treaty, India possesses absolute control of all those waters of the east-flowing rivers. Similarly, Pakistan will be allowed to receive unrestricted use of all those waters of the Western Rivers.
  5. Eastern rivers: The Ravi, The Beas, and The Sutlej
  6. Western Rivers: The Indus, The Chenab, The Jhelum

Other Projects on Chenab Basin:

  1. A 624 MW Kiru Hydro Electric Project (proposed)
  2. A reservoir based Pakal Dul Hydroelectric project on the main right bank tributary of Chenab river, the Marusudar river.
  3. Salal Power station, a run of the river scheme of 690 MW capacity.
  4. A 390 MW Dulhasi run of the river Power station in Kishtwar District.


India Africa Trade Council has been inaugurated in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India


To consolidate business relations with African Countries, India Africa Trade Council 2021 has been inaugurated in Hotel Crown Plaza. 13 Trade offices will be opened in India’s major trade centers to provide ease of doing business with African Countries. India will also set a stage for African Companies by facilitating the cooperation of the South Indian Market of prominent trade centric cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, etc.




Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH) and IIT Roorkee has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)


An MoU has been signed between the MoRTH and IIT Roorkee to strengthen research and development activities of the Road Sector and continue the Professorial Chair of MoRTH at IIT Roorkee.


  1. Reduce the time, cost, and resources taken for the construction of the Road/Tunnel/Bridge.
  2. The outcomes of Research and development work will be utilized by the MoRTH for the practical implementation of research work.

What is MoRTH Professorial Chair?

It is a supervisory body that focuses on Research and Development, Training and Teaching in Highway and Road Infrastructure development.

The main of the chair is to accelerate innovation, Research, and development in the highway and road sector so that the country can be interconnected with all the remote areas.

The chair also supervises the impact of road and high construction on the environment and society.




Virasat Drive


The Uttar Pradesh Government has launched the Virasat scheme. It is a two-month campaign that will work to end land disputes over rights of succession in villages. It will also be resolving the property lawsuits at tehsil and district levels. According to the Uttar Pradesh Government, 4.43 lakh cases have been resolved by 19th Jan 2021.




Science City in Assam


The Chief Minister of Assam, Mr. Sarbanand Sonowal, has laid the foundation of Science City at Tepesia, Assam. The total budget allocated to the project is 184 crores.

About the Project:

–    The project is aimed to popularize Science Technology in the state at the grassroots level.

–    The Science City will comprise a building which will be constructed by the National Council of Science Museum.

–    Central and the State Government will bear the cost in a 90:10 ratio.


Unnikrishnan Namboothiri has been passed away at the age of 98


Malayalam Actor Mr. Unnikrishnan Namboothiri has died at the age of 96. He debuted in the film ‘Desadanam’ in the year 1996 at the age of 73.




Jayant Khobragade will be the next Ambassador to ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta


Indian Foreign Sevices officer Jayant Khobragade will be joining as an Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat situated IN Jakarta, Indonesia.

He is the 1995 batch IFS officer who has been currently posted as joint secretary in the External Affairs Ministry, Government of India.




Minister of State MEA V Muraleedharan is on a 3-day visit to UAE


To focus on the welfare of Indian workers in the United Arab Emirates, the Minister of State of External Affairs Ministry, Mr. V Muraleedharan, has completed his 3-day UAE visit.

On his visit, he inaugurated language classes to offer basic lessons for improving the knowledge of Indian workers in English and Arabic.

About UAE:

  1. Capital – Abu Dhabi
  2. Currency – United Arab Emirates Dirham
  3. Indian Ambassador to UAE – Pavan Kapoor




Exercise Kavach


The only Joint Forces Command of the nation, the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), will be conducting a large-scale tri-service military exercise name ‘Exercise Kavach’.

All the three arms of the Indian Armed Forces will be participating in the EXERCISE, i.e., the Indian Army, the Indian Airforce, and the Indian Navy.

Features of exercise: To increase the interoperability, joint warfighting capabilities, and coordination, the exercise includes the Maritime Surveillance Assets, Coordinated Patrols, Air and Maritime Strikes, Submarine and landing operations, Air Defence.

The exercise is significant as it will lead to check the preparedness of all the stakeholders. It also reduces the possibilities of security errors that happened at the time of the 2008 Mumbai Attacks and 1993 Bombay Bombings.

Similar Exercises:

Exercise Sea Vigil & TROPEZ (Theatre-Level Readiness Operational Exercise.




Trials of Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) have been successfully completed


The Defence Research and Development Organization led by G Satheesh Reddy has successfully completed the trials of indigenously developed Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from the Hawk-I jet of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited off the coast of Odisha.

In the last five years, this has been the 9th successful trial of the system. The system has the first test-fired in the year 2016.

The missile system comes under the category of the glided bomb.

The initial developments were noted in the year 2012.

The weapon can engage crucial enemy assets like radars, runways, bunkers, ATCs, etc.


– Range: 100 km

– Weight: 125 kg

– Type: High Precision Guided Bomb (Light Category)