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18th January Current Affairs

Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956

(GS-II: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions)

In News:

Karnataka CM Recently observed that the time has come to revisit the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act as it creates more disputes than resolving them.


The chief minister’s statement comes at a time when Karnataka has been involved in inconstant fight with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Goa and Andhra Pradesh regarding inter-state water disputes concerning Cauvery, Mahadayi and Krishna rivers.

Need of the hour:

The multifold levels of addressing the inter-state water disputes are removed at one single stage.

The solution should be on the basis of maximum utility of a river basin capacity and using technology, and giving away all political considerations.

Inter-state water dispute:

Art 262 provides for the adjudication of inter-state water disputes. It has two following provisions:

Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution and control of waters of any inter-state river and river valley.

Parliament may also provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court is to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.

Under the provisions of the act, the central government has enacted, River boards act (1956) and Inter-state water disputes act (1956).

The river board act provides for the establishment of river boards for the regulation and development of the Inter-state River and river valleys. Such a river board is established on the request of the state governments concerned.

The inter-state water dispute act empowers the central government to set up an ad hoc tribunal for the adjudication of a dispute between the two or more states in relation to the water of an inter-state river. The decision of the tribunal would be final and binding. Furthermore, the act bars the SC and any other court to have jurisdiction in this matter.

Issues surrounding the interstate Water Dispute Act, 1956:

The Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956 which provides the legal framework to address such disputes suffers from many drawbacks as it does not fix any time limit for resolving river water disputes.

Delays are on account of no time limit for adjudication by a Tribunal, no upper age limit for the Chairman or the Members, work getting stalled due to occurrence of any vacancy and no time limit for publishing the report of the Tribunal.

The River Boards Act 1956, which is supposed to facilitate inter-state collaboration over water resource development, remained a ‘dead letter’ since its enactment.

Surface water is controlled by Central Water Commission (CWC) and ground water by Central Ground Water Board of India (CGWB). Both bodies work independently and there is no common forum for common discussion with state governments on water management.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation

(GS-II: Important International Institutions)

In News:

After years, Iran diplomats return to Saudi Arabia to take up posts in Islamic forum.

Arrival of Iranian delegation to Organization of Islamic Cooperation marks first such diplomatic move between Tehran, Riyadh since ties cut in 2016.


In 2016, protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran after the kingdom executed revered Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Riyadh responded at the time by cutting ties with Tehran, while OIC foreign ministers condemned the violence.

About OIC:

It is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states.

It is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.

The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony “.

The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.

Permanent Secretariat is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Significance of OIC for India:

OIC’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India has become important in recent times.

Space station

(GS-III: Awareness in space)

In News:

As China gears up to become the only country to have an exclusive and probably the only space station by 2024 or latest by 2030, its neighbor, India too has plans to follow suit in a few years.

Recently, the Union Minister for Space Jitendra Singh announced in Parliament that India’s first space station would be set up by 2030.


Even though the retirement of the ISS is currently scheduled for 2024, NASA and the international partners have indicated that the ISS’s operational life could be extended to 2030.

About China’s Space Station:

The new multi-module Tiangong station is set to be operational for at least 10 years.

The space station will operate in low-Earth orbit at an altitude of 340-450 km above Earth’s surface.

Significance of the space station:

The low orbit space station would be the country’s eye from the sky, providing round the clock bird’s-eye view for its astronauts on the rest of the world.

It shall aid China’s aim to become a major space power by 2030.


China’s space station will be equipped with a robotic-arm over which the US has raised concerns for its possible military applications.

The Concern is that this technology “could be used in a future system for grappling other satellites”.

Indian Space Station:

The Indian space station will be much smaller (mass of 20 tonnes) than the International Space Station and will be used for carrying out microgravity experiments (not for space tourism).

Preliminary plan for the space station is to accommodate astronauts for up to 20 days in space, and the project will be an extension of the Gaganyaan mission.

It will orbit Earth at an altitude of around 400km.

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) is working on a space docking experiment (Spadex), a technology that is crucial for making the space station functional.

Other space stations:

The only space station currently in orbit is the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is backed by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.

So far, China has sent two previous space stations into orbit- the Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 were trial stations.


Space stations are essential for collecting meaningful scientific data, especially for biological experiments.

Provide platforms for greater number and length of scientific studies than available on other space vehicles.

Each crew member stays aboard the station for weeks or months, but rarely more than a year.

Space stations are used to study the effects of long-term space flight on the human body.