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23 February 2024 - Daily current Affairs

1. First UN report on the state of the world’s migratory species

landmark UN report paints a grim picture of the state of migratory wild animals worldwide, including those that travel through New Zealand, like sharks, whales, albatross, and sea turtles.

Nearly half of species listed under the convention are in decline, and more than one-in-five threatened with extinction – including 97% of the listed fish. Globally, 399 migratory species threatened or near threatened with extinction are not currently listed.

The two greatest threats to migratory species are overexploitation and habitat loss due to human activity, according to the report.

Bad news:

  • Nearly half of migratory species monitored by the UN are declining, and over 20% are threatened with extinction.

  • This includes 97% of listed fish and many beloved birds like godwits and seabirds.

  • Main threats are habitat loss (due to human activities like farming and development) and overexploitation (hunting and fishing).

What needs to be done:

  • Protect important habitats: This includes stopover sites and breeding grounds across borders. International cooperation is crucial.

  • Reduce overexploitation: Sustainable fishing practices and combating illegal wildlife trade are essential.

  • Address climate change: This is a major threat to many migratory species and requires global action.

  • Improve data collection: More information is needed to effectively manage migratory species, especially in offshore fisheries.

  • Restore habitat connectivity: For example, removing dams and improving culverts in rivers is crucial for freshwater fish.

Editorials of the day: -

The next frontier: on India’s space sector

1. Space Exploration Landscape:

  • From "final frontier" to economic reality: Space exploration is no longer just about exploration, but also about business and strategic interests.

  • Private players are joining the game: Previously dominated by governments, private companies are now key players in innovation and market development.

2. India's Space Policy Reforms:

  • Opening up opportunities: India's reforms aim to attract private investment and expertise in space technology.

  • Increased foreign investment: Allowing 100% FDI in specific areas aims to boost the space economy.

  • Catching up with China: Reforms aim to close the gap with China's more advanced space program.

3. Potential Benefits:

  • Improved access to talent and capital: More resources for startups to grow and innovate.

  • Balanced opportunities: Focus on both upstream (technology) and downstream (applications) aspects.

  • Local manufacturing boost: Increased production of space-related components in India.

  • Increased investor confidence: Clear regulations and ease of doing business attract more investment.

4. Sustainability for the future:

  • Clear regulations: Predictable and transparent rules for businesses to operate.

  • Reduced red tape: Streamlined processes for faster approvals and growth.

  • Increased public support: Generating public interest and excitement about space initiatives.

  • Foreign market access: Helping Indian companies compete and collaborate globally.

Overall, India's space policy reforms aim to leverage private sector participation and foreign investment to accelerate its space economy and compete effectively in the global space race.

In a tough world, the beacon of U.K.-India strategic ties

Key Points:

  • Shared interests: Both UK and India are maritime nations reliant on global trade and a rules-based international order.

  • Threats to maritime security: Aggressive actions in the Black Sea, Red Sea, and South China Sea threaten global trade.

  • Cooperation against threats: UK and India collaborate in operations like Prosperity Guardian to protect trade routes.

  • Ukraine conflict: Both nations support Ukraine's sovereignty and condemn Russia's aggression.

  • Shifting global power: The center of gravity is moving towards the Indo-Pacific, making UK-India ties more important.

  • Stronger defense ties: Increased military exercises, knowledge sharing, and officer exchange programs.

  • Importance of alliances: UK sees India as a key partner in upholding the rules-based order in an unstable world.

Operation Prosperity Guardian: A Collaborative Effort for Safe Trade Routes

Operation Prosperity Guardian, mentioned in the text, is a multinational maritime security operation launched in December 2023. Here are some key details:

  • Objective: To deter and defend against threats to commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. This crucial region facilitates significant global trade, and its security is vital for both UK and India.

  • Participants: Led by the United States, the operation involves UK, India, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and other partners. This demonstrates the multilateral approach taken to address a global issue.

  • Activities: Participating countries contribute naval assets, personnel, and information sharing to patrol the region, deter piracy, and respond to potential threats. This includes escorting merchant vessels, conducting surveillance operations, and coordinating with regional stakeholders.

  • Importance for UK-India partnership: Both UK and India have deployed resources to Prosperity Guardian, highlighting their shared commitment to maritime security and cooperation in maintaining free and open trade routes. This operation strengthens their strategic partnership and demonstrates their ability to collaborate on global challenges.

Additional details:

  • The operation was launched in response to attacks by the Houthi rebels in Yemen against commercial shipping in the Red Sea. These attacks disrupt trade and endanger the lives of seafarers.

  • Prosperity Guardian is not the first or only multinational operation in the region. Others include Combined Maritime Forces and European Union Naval Force Somalia. These operations demonstrate the international community's commitment to collective action in securing vital maritime routes.


Should India Have Regional Benches of the Supreme Court?

A Discussion Between Justice Govind Mathur and Sanjoy Ghose

Arguments for Regional Benches:

  • Accessibility to justice: Justice Mathur believes regional benches would improve access to justice for people living far from Delhi, making it easier and cheaper for them to pursue appeals.

  • Reduced pendency of cases: Mathur argues that regional benches would increase the number of judges, leading to faster disposal of cases.

  • Boost to the judicial system: Mathur believes regional benches would increase the number of lawyers and judges, strengthening the overall judicial system.

  • Democratisation of the Bar: Ghose argues that regional benches would lead to a more vibrant and accessible Bar across the country.

Arguments against Regional Benches:

  • Conflicting precedents: Ghose expresses concern about the possibility of conflicting precedents arising from different benches, leading to increased litigation.

  • Balkanization of the Supreme Court: Ghose mentions concerns from the Supreme Court Bar that regional benches could weaken the national character of the court.

  • Overburdening the system: Ghose suggests that instead of regional benches, a separate court of appeal and courts of cassation could be established to handle non-constitutional matters, relieving the Supreme Court.

Alternative Solutions:

  • Virtual hearings: Ghose suggests using virtual hearings as an alternative to regional benches, citing the success of such hearings during the pandemic. However, Mathur argues that virtual hearings cannot fully replace the physical presence of judges and lawyers in court.

  • High Court reforms: Mathur suggests improving the efficiency of High Courts and Tribunals to reduce the burden on the Supreme Court. He opposes requiring leave from High Courts to file SLPs.


The debate on regional benches is complex, with strong arguments on both sides. The decision depends on weighing the potential benefits of increased access to justice and a strengthened judicial system against the risks of conflicting precedents and a weakened Supreme Court.

Additional points:

  • The discussion highlights the issue of pendency of cases in the Supreme Court, which currently stands at over 80,000.

  • Both Mathur and Ghose agree on the need to improve the efficiency of the judicial system.

  • The discussion also touches upon the role of technology in judicial proceedings.

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