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28th January Current Affairs

The Indus Waters Treaty, and why India has issued notice to Pakistan seeking changes

(GS-II: International Relations)

In News:

New Delhi has issued a notice to Islamabad seeking modification of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).


The notice follows Pakistan’s continued “intransigence” in implementing the treaty, by raising repeated objections to the construction of hydel projects on the Indian side.

India is invoking Article XII (3) of the treaty to bring changes to the 1960 pact.

IWT and its dispute redressal mechanism:

IWT is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank (WB), to use the water available in the Indus River and its tributaries. It is often cited as an example of the possibilities of peaceful coexistence despite the troubled relationship.

It was signed in Karachi in 1960 by then-Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru and then-Pakistani president Ayub Khan.

The Treaty gives control over the waters of the three “eastern rivers” – the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej (BRS)- to India, while control over the waters of the three “western rivers” – the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum -has been given to Pakistan.

India has about 20% of the total water carried by the Indus system while Pakistan has 80%.

The treaty allows India to use the western river waters for limited irrigation use and unlimited non-consumptive use for such applications as power generation.

India has the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.

The dispute redressal mechanism provided under the IWT is a graded 3-level mechanism.

Under the IWT, whenever India plans to start a project, it has to inform Pakistan. The concerns have to be cleared at the levels of the Indus Commissioners → Neutral Expert → Court of Arbitration, in a graded manner.

The history of the dispute over the hydel projects:

There has been a longstanding dispute over two hydroelectric power projects – one on the Kishanganga river (a tributary of Jhelum) and the other on the Chenab (Ratle).

Pakistan has raised objections to these projects, and dispute resolution mechanisms under the Treaty have been invoked multiple times. But a resolution has not been reached.

In 2022, the WB announced to concurrently appoint a Neutral Expert and a Chair of the Court of Arbitration to resolve the dispute, which as per India poses practical and legal challenges.

Pakistan had demanded the constitution of a Court of Arbitration, while India demanded a Neutral Expert to resolve the dispute.

What conclusions can be drawn from India’s most recent decisions?

India has not fully utilised its rights over the waters of the Indus system.

Over the last few years, especially since the Uri attack, there has been a growing demand in India to use the IWT as a strategic tool, considering that India has a natural advantage being the upper riparian state. In the aftermath of the Uri attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, ‘blood & water can’t flow together at the same time.’

Accordingly, India has been working to start several big and small hydroelectric projects that had either been stalled or were in the planning stages.

The treaty has remained “uninterrupted” because India respects its signatory and values transboundary rivers as an important connector in the region in terms of both diplomacy and economic prosperity.

Fighting The Big G

(GS-III: Indian Economy)

In News:

Google this week began to change the business model used in India to push its Android operating system (OS) and the Google Play Store.


The change was triggered by the Supreme Court setting January 26 as the deadline for Google to comply with the Competition Commission of India’s rulings.

The Changes made by Google:

In the new model, instead of creating a bouquet of apps, smartphone makers can license individual apps from Google.

Google’s search engine will not necessarily be the default setting.

What is the ‘walled garden approach’ adopted by Google:

Android’s dominance (under-walled garden approach) is based on a complex model of cross-subsidies. Google offers free services such as a search engine and email, thereby making a huge user base. This user base is then monetised for advertising revenue. Even third-party apps cannot all wish away Google. Google controls both sides of this advertising ecosystem- the users as well as third-party app developers, making it a walled garden.

Other initiatives taken to break Google’s monopoly:

South Korea: It imposed curbs on the proprietary billing system of Google and Apple.

EU’s upcoming Digital Markets Act: It will prevent “gatekeepers” from engaging in anti-competitive behaviour. It will no longer be business as usual for the Android OS ecosystem.

Previously, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had imposed a penalty ( and upheld by the supreme court) on Alphabet-owned Google for “abusing its dominant position” in markets related to the Android mobile device ecosystem.

The CCI stated that Google contravened competition law due to mandatory pre-installation of the entire Google Mobile Suite (GMS)and there was no option to uninstall the same.

What are anti-trust laws?

Antitrust laws are regulations that encourage competition by limiting the market power of any particular firm. Essentially, these laws prohibit business practices that unreasonably deprive consumers of the benefits of competition, resulting in higher prices for products and services. In India, The Competition Act, 2002 regulates such activities.

ASI should come up with substantive criteria: EAC on national monuments

In News:

The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) has suggested that the government should come up with a detailed procedure for declaring ‘Monuments of National Importance’ (MNI).

Key points from the report titled ‘Monuments of National Importance – Urgent Need for Rationalisation’:

  • Absence of definition of term ‘National Importance’
  • Allocation of funds for the protection of MNI should be increased
  • ASI should publish a book of notifications for all MNI
  • Remove unimportant ones:g. around 75 British cemeteries/graves are considered as MNI currently.
  • 24 monuments of national importance are untraceable, but still considered as MNI
  • Minor monuments and antiquities should be denotified as MNI and monuments with local importance should be transferred to respective states for protection
  • Over 60 per cent of MNI are located in just 5 states – Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. While the city of Delhi alone has 173 MNI

Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas

In News:

In news due to a recent controversial statement made by a state minister against Ramcharitmanas.

The Ramcharitmanas:

The poem was written in the 16th century in the Awadhi

It is divided into seven chapters (Kand) that tell the story of Lord Ram from birth to his becoming King of Ayodhya.

The Ramcharitmanas is based on the Ramayana – sage Valmiki’s great epic.

Goswami Tulsidas:

Tulsidas, a Brahmin whose original name was Ram Bola Dubey, composed the Ramcharitmanas on the bank of the Ganga in Varanasi.

Tulsidas was a contemporary of Emperor Akbar, and it is believed that he was in touch with Abdurrahim Khan-e-Khanan, the son of Akbar’s commander Bairam Khan.

Tulsidas made the story of Lord Ram popular among the masses because he wrote in the regional dialect that most people understood.

This attracted the wrath of ancient Sanskrit scholars, and Tulsidas recorded his pain in his Kavitawali.