• Recently, the Indian government notified the rules for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, paving the way for its implementation after over 4 years since its passage by Parliament in December 2019.
  • The CAA, 2019 is an Indian legislation that provides a path to Indian citizenship for migrants belonging to six religious minorities: Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
  • The government has previously taken steps to address the plight of refugees, including amendments to the Citizenship Rules in 2004 and notifications in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.
  • The application process for citizenship under CAA has been made under Section 6B of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Applicants need to prove their country of origin, religion, date of entry into India, and knowledge of an Indian language to qualify for Indian citizenship.
  • Proof of Country of Origin- Relaxed requirements allow various documents, including birth or educational certificates, identity documents, licenses, land records, or any document proving previous citizenship of the mentioned countries.
  • Date of Entry into India- Applicants can provide 20 different documents as proof of entry into India, including visas, residential permits, census slips, driving licenses, Aadhaar cards, ration cards, government or court letters, birth certificates, and more.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has assigned the task of processing citizenship applications under the CAA to the Postal department and Census officials under the Union government.
  • Background and security checks will be conducted by Central security agencies like the Intelligence Bureau (IB).Final decisions on applications will be made by empowered committees led by the Director (Census Operations) in each State.


  • Recently, the Centre has issued a notification to denotify civil areas of 10 cantonments (out of 58) in the country. These areas will be merged with the Concerned State Municipalities (Local Bodies).
  • The government plans to exclude certain areas of the said cantonments and merge such areas with the state’s local bodies.
  • Cantonments are areas primarily designated for housing military personnel and supporting infrastructure. Originating from the French word “canton,” meaning “corner” or “district,” cantonments historically referred to temporary military encampments.
  • However, over time, they have evolved into semi-permanent settlements that provide accommodation, offices, schools, and other facilities for military personnel and their families.
  • In India, the history of cantonments dates back to the British East India Company period. The first cantonment was established in 1765 at Barrackpore, near Calcutta, following the Battle of Plassey in 1757.
  • These areas were initially created to station military troops but have expanded to include civilian populations that provide support and logistic services to the military.
  • The Cantonments Act of 1924 in India formalised the governance and administration of cantonments, providing a legal framework for their management, development, and regulation.
  • Cantonments are classified into four categories — class I to class IV —depending on the size of the area and population.
  • This board is responsible for various aspects of the cantonment’s administration.
  • The station commander of the cantonment is the ex-officio president of the board, and an officer of the Defence Estates Organisation is the chief executive and the member-secretary.


  • India previously rejected the inclusion of “data exclusivity” clauses in the agreement which would have restricted Indian pharmaceutical companies from producing generic drugs.
  • Now, India and EFTA agreed to exclude the most “sensitive” agricultural products and gold imports from the pact.
  • The India-EFTA trade deal was finalised a decade after initial negotiations broke down in 2013 due to disagreements.
  • Recent geopolitical changes and a shared goal to reduce dependence on China facilitated the agreement.
  • TEPA comprises 14 chapters with a main focus on market access related to goods, rules of origin, trade facilitation, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, investment promotion, market access on services, intellectual property rights, trade and sustainable development and other legal and horizontal provisions.

European Free Trade Association-

  • The EFTA is the intergovernmental organisation of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland (all four are not a part of the EU).
  • It was founded by the Stockholm Convention in 1960.
  • It aims to promote free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its four Member States and their trading partners around the globe.
  • India is the EFTA’s 5th-largest trading partner after the European Union, the United States, Britain and China.
  • Two-way trade between India and EFTA was USD 18.65 billion in 2022-23, with a trade deficit of USD 14.8 billion for India.
  • Switzerland is India’s largest trading partner in this bloc of nations, followed by Norway.
  • The biggest exports to India were pharmaceutical items (11.4%) and machinery (17.5%), while organic chemicals (27.5%) made up the majority of EFTA imports.


  • The high-powered selection committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appointed two retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, as the new Election Commissioners of India. The appointments were made on March 14, 2024, following the recommendations of the panel.
  • The other members of the selection committee included Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. The appointments have been made to fill the vacancies created by the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey on February 15 and the surprise resignation of Arun Goel on March 9.
  • Gyanesh Kumar, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre, retired as the Secretary of the Ministry of Cooperation in 2021. He holds a postgraduate degree in Economics from Harvard University and a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. During his tenure in the Union Home Ministry, Kumar played a key role in the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. He also served as the Secretary of Parliamentary Affairs and was instrumental in setting up the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust.
  • Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, on the other hand, is a 1988-batch IAS officer of the Uttarakhand cadre. He retired as the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand in January 2023, after serving in the post for nearly two years. Sandhu holds an MBBS degree from the Government Medical College, Amritsar, and a postgraduate degree in History from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He has also served as the Chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and as Additional Secretary in the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.


  • Russian President Vladimir Putin clinched victory in the recent election with a commanding lead of 76.1% of the vote, as per preliminary results. This win marks Putin’s continued dominance in Russian politics, now extending his tenure to a total of 24 years in power.
  • Preliminary results indicate Putin’s landslide victory with 76.1% of the vote, the highest ever in post-Soviet Russia.
  • Putin’s win strengthens his position amidst escalating tensions with Western nations, who criticize his actions in Ukraine, Syria, and alleged interference in foreign elections.
  • Putin, a former KGB officer, emphasizes the election result as a message to the West, indicating Russia’s resolve in global affairs.
  • With this victory, Putin is set to become Russia’s longest-serving leader in over two centuries, surpassing Josef Stalin if he completes his term.


  • With the announcement of the election schedule by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has been enforced to ensure a fair electoral process in the world’s largest democracy.

Here are the specific guidelines to be followed during this period-

  1. Conduct at Places of Worship- Campaigning at places of worship (e.g., mosques, churches, temples) is strictly prohibited.No appeals to caste or communal sentiments for securing votes.
  2. Criticism and Personal Attacks- Criticism of other parties should be limited to policies, programs, and past records.Avoid personal attacks or criticism unrelated to public activities.
  3. Prohibition of Corrupt Practices- Parties and candidates must avoid all forms of corrupt practices such as bribing voters, intimidation, impersonation, and canvassing near polling stations. Distribution of liquor on polling day or 48 hours before is strictly prohibited.
  4. Respect for Private Property- Parties cannot use private property for campaign materials without permission.
  5. Peaceful Political Activities- Ensuring peaceful political meetings and processions without obstructing those organized by other parties. No removal of posters issued by other parties.
  6. Regulation of Rallies- Procession routes and timings must be adhered to without deviation. Authorities must be informed to ensure proper regulation.
  7. Traffic Management- Organizers must ensure minimal disruption to road traffic during processions. Long processions should be organized in manageable segments.
  8. Prohibition of Effigy Burning- Carrying and burning effigies representing members of other political parties or leaders is not allowed.
  9. Regulation of Candidate Camps- Avoiding large gatherings and serving food at candidate camps near booths. Ruling parties cannot monopolize government facilities or accommodations for campaign purposes.
  10. Election Manifesto and Freebies– While election manifestos are not considered corrupt practices, the distribution of freebies can influence voters and should be carefully considered.
  • These guidelines aim to maintain the integrity of the electoral process and ensure a level playing field for all participants.