Maratha Quota Law: Reservation in India (GS-2 Mains)

Maratha Reservation:

  • Maharashtra Assembly passed a bill granting 10% reservation for Marathas in education and government jobs.
  • Based on the report by Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (Justice Sunil B Shukre).
  • Argues “exceptional circumstances” justify exceeding the 50% reservation limit set by the Supreme Court.

Reservation System in India:

  • Existing reservation: SC (15%), ST (7.5%), OBC (27%) for central government jobs.
  • EWS category (10%) reservation introduced by 103rd Amendment (2019).
  • Many states (Haryana, Tamil Nadu, etc.) have laws exceeding 50% limit, facing legal challenges.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 16: Equality for all, with exception for reservations for backward classes.
  • Articles 16(4A) & 335: Reservations for SC/ST to improve representation.
  • 103rd Amendment: Introduced EWS reservation.

Arguments For Reservation:

  • Addresses social injustice; shouldn’t be replaced by economic reservations.
  • Fulfills constitutional mandate for substantive equality.
  • Promotes representation of SC/ST in higher positions.

Arguments Against Reservation:

  • Discourages merit and creates unfair advantage for reserved candidates.
  • Economic status should be the criteria, not caste.
  • Reservations should be temporary and not for promotions.
  • Lowers overall caliber in institutions due to lower cutoffs for reserved candidates.

Way Forward:

  • Quotas can lead to discrimination against other communities.
  • Policymakers need a balanced approach to reservation policies.

Indira Sawhney Judgement (Mandal Commission Case):

  • Backward classes can be identified by caste, not just economic status.
  • Upheld 27% quota for backward classes, with a 50% limit for total reservations.
  • Reservations only for initial appointments, not promotions.
  • Creamy layer exclusion among backward classes.

Maldives Signs Defence Pact with China: Implications for India (GS-2 Mains)


  • Maldives signed a military agreement with China to receive military assistance grants.
  • This follows a period of strained relations with India, including:
    • Undiplomatic remarks by Maldivian ministers against India.
    • Request for withdrawal of Indian military personnel.
    • China visit by Maldivian President and call to reclaim top tourist spot from India.
    • Maldivian election campaign rhetoric against India.
    • Decision not to renew agreement on Indian hydrographic survey.

Historical India-Maldives Ties:

  • Strong cultural, historical, and economic links for centuries.
  • Close cooperation on maritime security, counterbalancing China, and climate change.
  • India is a major source of essentials, education, trade, and disaster relief for Maldives.

Significance of Maldives for India:

  • Strategic location near India’s coast and trade routes.
  • Partner in maritime security, countering piracy and terrorism.
  • Opportunity to counterbalance China’s growing influence.


  • Political instability in Maldives.
  • China’s economic and military influence (debt-trap diplomacy, potential military ambitions).
  • Non-traditional threats like piracy, extremism, and climate change.
  • Trade imbalance and communication gaps.

Overcoming Challenges:

  • Open communication, focus on common interests, and respect for sovereignty.
  • Strengthen people-to-people ties and address internal issues.

Way Ahead:

  • Both India and Maldives need to address current tensions and cooperate on areas of mutual interest.
  • Acknowledge and address challenges to build a stronger, more resilient partnership.


Women, Business and the Law 2024 Report (GS-1 & 3  Mains)

World Bank Report on Women’s Economic Opportunity

  • Measures laws affecting women’s economic participation in 190 economies.
  • Focuses on areas like mobility, workplace, pay, parenthood, and entrepreneurship.

Key Findings:

  • Globally, women have only two-thirds (64%) of legal rights available to men.
  • Pay gap exists: women earn 77 cents per dollar earned by men.
  • Only 44% of legal provisions supporting female entrepreneurship are in place.
  • Nationality rights discrimination: women in 28 economies can’t pass nationality to children equally.
  • Retirement age gap: women often retire earlier than men and have lower pension benefits.

Significance of Women’s Participation:

  • Closing the gender gap in employment could raise global GDP by over 20%.
  • Eliminating the gap would double the current global growth rate.

India’s Performance:

  • Ranked 113th with a score of 74.4%, a slight improvement but ranking decline from previous years.
  • Indian women have 60% of legal rights compared to men, lower than the global average.
  • India outperforms South Asian counterparts (45.9% legal protections for women).
  • Lowest score in pay gap indicator. Recommendations for improvement include:
    • Mandating equal pay for equal work.
    • Permitting women to work night shifts.
    • Allowing women in industrial jobs.
  • India scored higher than global and South Asian averages in supportive frameworks, but childcare needs improvement.

Recommendations from the Report:

  • Reform laws and policies to empower women in work and business.
  • Improve laws on safety, childcare, and business opportunities for women.
  • Establish frameworks to support implementation of gender equality laws.
  • Enact legal reforms for equal pay, removing restrictions on women’s work.
  • Expand parental leave and prohibit firing pregnant women.
  • Prohibit sexual harassment and provide childcare support.
  • Implement quotas for women on corporate boards and gender-sensitive procurement processes.
  • Ensure equal retirement benefits for women, considering childcare absences.


MethaneSAT: Tracking Methane Emissions for Climate Action  (GS-3: Environment)

About MethaneSAT:

  • Launched satellite to track and measure methane emissions globally.
  • Developed by a consortium including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Google.
  • Orbits Earth 15 times a day, focusing on monitoring oil and gas sector.

Why Track Methane?

  • Second largest contributor to global warming after CO2.
  • Over 20 years, 80 times more potent at warming than CO2 (UNEP).
  • Contributes to formation of harmful ground-level ozone.
  • Main source: Fossil fuel operations (40% of human-caused emissions).

MethaneSAT’s Capabilities:

  • Detects methane concentration differences as low as 3 parts per billion.
  • Wide-camera view (200km x 200km) to identify large emitters (“super emitters”).
  • Data analysis using Google’s cloud computing and AI.


  • Publicly available data to identify emission sources and trends.
  • Enables stakeholders and regulators to take action to reduce methane emissions.



India’s First National Dolphin Research Centre Established

  • Inaugurated in Patna, Bihar, to study the endangered Gangetic dolphin.
  • Bihar holds nearly half of India’s estimated 3,000 Gangetic dolphins.

Ganges River Dolphin (Susu):

  • Scientific name: Platanista gangetica
  • Found in Ganges, Brahmaputra rivers & tributaries (India, Bangladesh, Nepal)
  • Freshwater habitat; blind, relies on echolocation for navigation and hunting
  • Brownish, stocky body; lives in turbulent waters with sufficient fish
  • Indicator of river ecosystem health; controls fish & crustacean populations
  • National Aquatic Animal (2009); Endangered (IUCN)


  • Habitat degradation (pollution, construction)
  • Accidental deaths in fishing nets (bycatch), poaching

Conservation Efforts:

  • Project Dolphin: Tech-driven conservation of dolphins & habitat
  • National Dolphin Day (Oct 5th) raises awareness
  • Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS) established
  • 2016 Wildlife Institute of India Dolphin Conservation Action Plan


Shanan Hydropower Project Dispute

  • 110 MW hydel project in Himachal Pradesh, leased to Punjab in 1925 by the British.
  • 99-year lease expired on March 2, 2024.
  • Dispute between Punjab and Himachal Pradesh over control after lease expiry.
  • Central government ordered status quo to be maintained.


INS Jatayu Commissioned in Lakshadweep

  • New Indian Navy base on Minicoy Island for enhanced security.
  • Minicoy is strategically located near vital Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs).
  • Second naval base in Lakshadweep after INS Dweeprakshak in Kavaratti.

Lakshadweep Archipelago:

  • Group of 36 islands around 400 km west of Kerala.
  • Union Territory with 12 atolls, 3 reefs, 10 inhabited islands.
  • 3 subgroups: Laccadive, Amindivi, and Minicoy.
  • 32 sq km land area but 400,000 sq km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
  • Capital: Kavaratti.


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