UP Govt’s ban on unlawful religion conversion

Religious conversion is a non-bailable crime for marriage.

It would be up to the claimant to prove that the conversion was not for marriage.

The time of notification to the District Magistrate for Religious Conversion shall be two months.

In the event of a woman’s conversion for the sole reason of union, the marriage will be declared null and void.


Violation of the terms of the statute would allow for a prison sentence of not less than one year to be increased to five years and a fine of not less than 15,000.

If a minor woman or a woman from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes groups is converted by the aforementioned illegal means, the prison sentence will be at least three years and could be increased to 10 years with a fine of 25,000.

The Ordinance also lays down stringent sanctions, including the cancellation of the registry of voluntary groups carrying out mass conversions.

Why has this been a contentious law?

The ordinance came shortly after the Allahabad HC ruled in a decision (Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case) that the freedom to choose a wife or to live with a person of choosing was part of the constitutional right of the individual to life and liberty.

The decision also claimed previous court decisions that ‘religious conversion for marriage was inappropriate’ was not good in practice.

What do the analysts say?

The legislation was widely opposed by a number of legal experts who argued that the idea of ‘love jihad’ has no constitutional or legal justification.

They referred to Article 21 of the Constitution, which grants individuals the freedom to marry a person of their choosing.

In addition, according to Article 25, freedom of faith, exercise and conversion to the religion of one’s choosing, including not practising any religion, are also guaranteed.


Projects for the Creation of Infrastructure For Agro-Processing Cluster

The Union Minister for Food Processing Industries has recently taken part in a session of the Independent Management Advisory Committee (IMAC) to consider the proposals obtained under the Agroprocessing Infrastructure Development Scheme (APC) of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY).

Main Points:

IMAC accepted 7 projects with a combined project cost of Rs. 234.68 crore, including Rs. 60.87 crore grants in Meghalaya, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

These ventures will harness Rs. 173.81 crore’s private investment and are projected to create jobs for 7,750 people.

Scheme of Agro-Processing Infrastructure Creation:

It was agreed by the PMKSY in May 2017 to promote the establishment of APCs in the region.


Building new infrastructure and public area to enable a community of entrepreneurs to set up cluster-based food processing units by connecting producer/farmer groups to processors and markets.

These clusters will help to minimise the waste of surplus production and add value to horticultural/agricultural production, which will raise farmers’ incomes and generate local jobs.

Together under scheme, there are two main components for each APC:

  • Basic Supporting Infrastructures such as roads, water system, electricity supply, drainage, etc.
  • Core Infrastructure/Common Facilities such as warehouses, cold storage, tetra packaging, processing, grading, etc.

Criteria for installation:

At minimum 5 food processing systems with a total investment of Rs. 25 crore and at minimum 10 acres of land are needed for at least 50 years.


Centre’s right to suspend MPLADS

The Government of the Union was within its authority to cancel the MPLAD system and redirect those funds to fight Covid-19.

In addition, this (Covid-19) is a catastrophe, so the government would have to return to the Disaster Response Act. It is beyond its competence to invoke the Statute.

What’s the matter?

In April of this year the Union Government applied the Disaster Management Act to abolish the MPLAD (Member of Parliament for Local Area Development) programme.

A case was submitted against this in the Court of Justice.

About the MPLAD system:

Launched in December of 1993.

Seeks to establish a framework for Members of Parliament to propose projects of a developmental nature for the construction of sustainable community assets as well as the provision of basic services, including community amenities, based on local requirements.

The MPLADS is a programme entirely financed by the Government of India.

The annual entitlement of the MPLADS fund per MP electoral district is Rs. 5 crores.

Basic focus:

Parliamentarians have to propose, on an annual basis, works costing at least 15% of MPLADS eligibility for areas occupied by the Scheduled Caste populace and 7.5% for areas occupied by the S.T. Population, guy.

In order to enable trusts and communities to boost tribal citizens, a cap of Rs. 75 lakhs are laid down for the development of properties by trusts and corporations according to the requirements set out in the criteria for the system.


Powers and Functions of Lok Sabha Speaker

Vijay Kumar Sinha is Speaker of the Bihar Assembly.

Speaker of the Lok Sabha:

The Chairman or the Chairman of Lok Sabha shall be named the Speaker.

Opted by a clear vote of the other participants.

Operates and Forces of Lok Sabha Speakers:

  1. The Speaker of Lok Sabha is essentially the head of the Assembly, chairing and overseeing the sessions of the Parliament.
  2. The Constitution has sought to guarantee the freedom of the Speaker by charging his fee to the Indian Pooled Fund which is not liable to the vote of the Parliament.
  3. During the vote or during the general debate on the bill, the Members of Parliament must answer the Speaker only.
  4. Whenever there is a combined sitting of both Houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha), along with the Speaker of Lok Sabha holds sway over the conference.
  5. The Speaker of Lok Sabha is ranked sixth in the order of priorities of the Government of India.
  6. The Speaker does not cast his vote on any issue in Lok Sabha under regular circumstances. But where there is a tie on votes between the ruling party and the opposition, the Speaker will exercise his vote at that moment.
  7. It is the Speaker who agrees on the agenda of the different discussions.
  8. The speaker has the right to delay or cancel a house/meeting if the quorum is not reached.
  9. The Speaker is responsible for the order and decoration of the house. If the speaker considers that the conduct is not good and the Member of Parliament is not good, he/she will discipline the unruly Members by suspending it.
  10. The Speaker determines if the weather bill delivered to the house is a money bill or not. In the event that the Speaker agrees on a bill as a money bill, this determination cannot be contested.
  11. Speaker is the ultimate and exclusive authority to provide for various forms of motions and amendments, such as No Confidence Vote, Motion for Adjournment, Censure Motion, etc.
  12. The Speaker of Lok Sabha would not quit the office until the assembly has been dissolved.


India meets for the 7th joint trade committee

On 24 November 2020, the 7th Joint Trade Committee meeting of India and Myanmar has been conducted via teleconference. The Indian Bilateral Session was co-chaired by Piyush Goyal, who is the Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Union, along with Dr. Than Myint, Minister of Trade, Myanmar.

Discussions in India and Myanmar

During the 7th Joint Consultation, the two countries addressed various bilateral topics, ranging from commerce, finance, finance, connectivity, capacity building and border infrastructure upgrades. Both India and Myanmar have reviewed their readiness to respond to COVID-19 Pandemic challenges and to extend collaboration in the pharmaceutical and health sectors, including conventional medicines.

Cultural relations between India and Myanmar

During the 7th Joint Trade Committee, Piyush Goyal highlighted close cultural and commercial relations between India and Myanmar. He said that India is improving its relations with Myanmar under India’s ‘Neighborhood First and ‘Act East’ policies.

Piyush Goyal affirmed India’s dedication to enhancing its multi-faceted partnership with Myanmar. Multidimensional collaboration in many fields including trade & investment, Oil and Gas, Electricity, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals and Infrastructure and expressed satisfaction.

India and Myanmar have recognised that mutual gain exists in partnership and cooperation between Indian oil & gas companies and Myanmar, widely in the area of petroleum products including refining.

Bilateral trade between India and Myanmar

The countries checked the status of communication programmes and the size of the networks at the international boundary. Both nations expressed gratitude at the end of the Project Agreement on the Creation of a New Integrated Check Post in Tamu (Phase I). The Integrated Check Post is being established under the Indian grant-in-aid.

The countries have decided to work together on the early establishment of border hats for the good of surrounding people and to facilitate people-to-people relations (P-2-P).

India is Myanmar’s 4th largest trade partner after Thailand, China and Singapore. India is also the 2nd largest export market after Thailand. By 2017, India as well as Myanmar have bilaterally risen from $1 billion to $1.3 billion.



Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi- The Chair for 33rd PRAGATI Interaction

Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over the 33rd PRAGATI conference. This is PM’s 33rd Engagement through PRAGATI, a multi-modal forum for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Execution focused on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), including central and state governments.

33rd meeting of PRAGATI Standouts:

At the 33rd PRAGATI conference, several schemes of the Ministry of Railways, the MoRTH, along with the DPIIT as well as the Ministry of Electricity, complaints and programmes were examined.

These schemes involved 10 states and union territories, including Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. They had a combined expense addition of Rs.1.41 lakh crores.

Approved Complaints relating to COVID-19 including PM Awas Yojana (Gramin) have been admitted. PM SVANidhi, agricultural reforms and the growth of districts as export hubs have been checked. The Prime Minister also instructed the Member States to develop a State Export Policy.


On 25 March 2015, Prime Minister PRAGATI unveiled a multi-purpose and multi-modal governance framework. PRAGATI is an integrated and collaborative website. It was targeted at resolving common people’s grievances. PRAGATI also tracks and reviews the main programmes and initiatives of the Center and the Governments of the Province.

The 32nd PRAGATI Network Engagement took place on 22 January 2020. PM addressed Information and Communication Technologies, a multi-modal framework for successful governance and timely delivery. A total of 275 projects worth Rs.12.5 lakh crore were reviewed at the previous 32 sessions, along with 47 programs/schemes and complaints in 17 sectors.


Niti Aayog’s release on the mitigation as well as management during the time of COVID19

NITI Aayog published a compendium of activities from States and Union Territories, detailing information on numerous measures conducted by states, districts and cities in India to control and handle the outbreak of Covid-19.

The Compendium was published by NITI Aayog Member DrVK Paul, CEO Amitabh Kant and Deputy Secretary Dr Rakesh Sarwal.

Over the last few months, the world has been faced with an ongoing global health problem in the form of Covid-19. The States and Union Territories have been equal collaborators of the Central Government in the management of the Covid-19 outbreak in the region.

Bringing the Plan into the Picture

In planning the Compendium of Practices, NITI Aayog contacted all States and Union Territories via e-mail and telephone, asking them to share any practises that they felt would have been useful to Covid-19 for prevention and management. Additional information was presented by some States at review meetings with Member (Health) NITI Aayog.

The provision of information directly from the states/UTs was complemented by a systematic literature review.

Compendium activities have been broken down into six sections: I public health and therapeutic response; (ii) policy mechanisms; (iii) remote health; (iv) comprehensive model; (v) the protection of refugees and other disadvantaged groups; (vi) other practises. A review of the related guidelines of the Government of India has already been seen, where appropriate, for the categories referred to above.


Essential Services Maintenance Act


The Uttar Pradesh government has extended the Essential Services Maintenance Act(ESMA) in the state, banning strikes in all departments and corporations for a period of 6 months.

About the Act

  • Objective-Its primary purpose was to ensure the delivery of certain basic services, which, if obstructed, would affect the daily normal life of the people; some of these services are public transport (bus services), health services(hospitals).
  • The said act gives police the right to arrest without a warrant anybody violating the act’s provisions.
  • The ESMA is a law enacted by the Parliament under List no 33 in the Concurrent List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • It is a powerful law with its execution completely at the discretion of the State government.


Mega Food Park


  • A Mega Food Park was recently inaugurated in Punjab.
  • The Mega Food Park Scheme is implemented by Ministry of Food Processing Industries since 2008.
  • Aim-It mainly aims at establishing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by holistically bringing framers, processors, and retailers.
  • Significance-A major value addition is made by these food parks to the food processing sector, reducing wastage at each stage of the supply chain, focusing on perishables.
  • Funding-The funding setup has been established where a maximum grant of Rs 50 crore is given for setting up a Mega Food Park in a minimum of 50 acres of contiguous land with a contribution amounting to only 50 % of the total project cost.
  • Implementation-Implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle, a body corporate registered under Companies Act (State govt, State Govt entities & Cooperatives not required to form a separate SPV)


J&K Net Ban: Discussed at House Panel Meet


The J&K administration had extended the ban on 3G-4G mobile internet, excluding two districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur.

  • The Standing Committee on Information and Technology met recently to discuss this issue.
  • The Supreme Court judgment in the Anuradha Bhasin case had stated that Internet services could not be suspended indefinitely, following which there the Central Government had amended the Telecom Suspension Rules 2017 to insert Rule 2A, which specifies that an Internet shutdown will remain in operation for a maximum period of 15 days.

Supreme Court’s Verdict and Observations

  • The administration must review all restrictive orders under Section 144 of CrPC and suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It also provided a framework for how the Internet can be suspended and the rights and legal remedies available to a citizen when suspended.
  • The Right to the Internet is a fundamental right under freedom of expression (Article 19 of the Constitution ).
  • In this case, restriction on a fundamental right, the Right to the Internet, could not be done arbitrarily by the authorities.
  • Suspension of internet services indefinitely is also a violation of telecom rules.

From 2017 instead of orders being issued under Section 14 of CrPC, the central government notified the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules under the Telegraph Act to govern the Internet’s suspension.



Indo-Afghan Relation Booster

Primary Points

  • Recently at the Afghanistan 2020 Conference, India has announced about 150 projects worth USD 80 million.
  • The conference was attended by many important dignitaries, including Afghanistan’s President, United Nations(UN) and the European Union (EU) officials and other representatives from different countries.
  • This comes amidst the USA’s decision to reduce its troop presence to just about 2500 by January 2021.

Details of the Project

  • India will launch the phase -IV stage of community development projects that includes about 150 projects worth $ 80 million.
  • Also, an agreement has been signed for building the Shahtoot dam, which aims to provide safe drinking water to about 2 million Kabul city residents; this will be built on the 202 km Pul-e-khumri transmission line 2009, through which India provides electric supply to the city.


NIIF’s Debt Platform

To boost infrastructure creation in the country, the Union Cabinet approved the infusion of about Rs 6000 crore equity in the National Infrastructure Investment Fund’s (NIIF’s) debt platform in the next two years.


  • Out of the proposed amount,2000 crore will be infused in the current financial year.
  • The NIIF Debt Platform is financed by National Investment and Infrastructure Fund . (NIIF), comprising of Aseem Infrastructure Finance Limited (AIFL) and NIIF infrastructure Finance Limited (NIIF-IFL).
  • The NIIF Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF) has set up a debt platform consisting of NBFC Infra Debt Fund and NBFC Infra Finance Company. NIIF holds a majority stake in both the companies as about Rs 1899 crore has already been spent across the Platform.


Major FDI In Telecom

On Wednesday, Union Cabinet approved Rs 2480 crore foreign direct investment (FDI) in ATC Telecom Infra Pvt Ltd.Through this FDI route, ATC Pacific Pte Ltd is looking to acquire a 12.32 % stake in ATC Telecom Infra Pvt Ltd.


  • ATC Telecom Infrastructure Private Limited is engaged in the business of providing telecom infrastructure services to telecom operators.
  • ATC Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, found in 2006, is mainly in the business of holding or owning securities of companies other than banks.


Football Hero Maradona Passes Away

Legendary Argentine footballer, one of the greatest football players world has ever seen, Diego Maradona, passed away due to a heart attack.

  • Diego Armando Maradona(1960-2020) was one of the greatest Argentine professional football players and managers.
  • He was one of the two joint owners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award and was given the nickname “The Golden Kid.”
  • He played four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup held in Mexico, where he captained Argentina and led them to victory over West Germany in the final and won the Golden Ball for the tournament’s best player.


Samvidhan Diwas

The nation is celebrating Constitution Day, known as the Samvidhan Diwas, on 26th November to observe India’s Constitution.


  • Samvidhan Diwas is commemorated annually on November 26 to mark the anniversary of the Constitution’s adoption on Nov 26, 1949, by the Constituent Assembly, which came into effect from 26 January, 1950.
  • The Government of India declared Nov 26 as Constitution Day by gazette notification in 2015; 2015 also marked the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar, who played a vital role in drafting the Constitution. Earlier, this day was celebrated as National Law Day.


Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN).


The prime minister informed of using eVIN-Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network to identify beneficiaries and vaccine distribution networks in association with the United Nations Development Program.


  • eVin is an indigenously developed technology that digitizes vaccine stock and keeps a check of the cold chain network’s temperature through a smartphone application.
  • The innovative eVIN, launched in 2015 for the first time in 12 states across India for better vaccine logistic management in cold chain hubs.
  • It also supports the central government’s Universal Immunisation Programme (Mission Indradhanush) for providing real-time information on vaccine stock and flows and monitors storage checkpoints across all cold chain points.


National Portal for Transgender Persons

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a ‘National Portal for Transgender Person.’


  • The Portal has been developed within 2 months of Notification of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules,2020 on 29th September 2020.
  • This portal would help any transgender person apply for a certificate and Identity card digitally from anywhere in the country.
  • Its most important benefit is to virtualize the process for getting an I-card by any transgender person without physical interference, thereby ensuring transparency in the process.
  • An essential provision of the Transgender Persons(Protection of Rights)Act 2019 is getting a.Transgender Certificate and Identity Card as per their self-perceived identity.