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Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Perspective: Yoga- India’s Soft Power

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Recently, the world celebrated 8th edition of International Yoga day. Along with speeches about India’s ancient culture, the World Yoga Day inevitably invokes talk of India’s contemporary soft power.

In this article, we will analyse how Yoga is exemplifying India’s soft power.

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great grandmother of tradition”

Mark Twain.

What is Soft Power in diplomacy?

  • In politics (and particularly in international politics), soft power is the ability to co-opt rather than coerce (contrast hard power).
  • It is the capacity to attract and persuade others to do things they otherwise wouldn’t.
  • It involves shaping the preferences of others through appeal and attraction.
  • Soft power resources are the assets that produce attraction or centre of attraction in geopolitical arena.

Etymology of the word

  • Joseph Nye, a US foreign policy veteran, coined the phrase soft power in 1990.
  • He encourages readers of his book The Future of Power to think of soft power in terms of resources
  • Power is derived from resources, and soft power is no different.
  • Hard power rests on military resources like navy fleets, attack aircraft and a capacity to inflict harm.
  • Soft power rests on three primary resources:
  1. Culture,
  2. Political values and
  3. Foreign policy

How is Yoga a soft power?

India has a tremendous cultural power or civilizational shakti that has maintained a profound impact on the world for thousands of years.

  • The very fact that the celebration as an international day at all is itself considered an example of India’s soft power.
  • International Day of Yoga reflects yoga’s immense popularity worldwide, underscoring its richness as a soft power resource.
  • Since 2006, yoga gurus were trying to lobby the UN to declare a world yoga day. Now these yog gurus have got their due recognition.
  • After a vigorous diplomatic push from PM Modi in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly put the date in the calendar.
  • By exposing and familiarising citizens of a globalised world with its own historic-cultural customs, India will gain geopolitical muscle to flex.
  • Yoga is a highly secular physical activity. Though originated form a Vedas, it does not represent any political religion. Ex. OIC, Commonwealth of Nations
  • Cultural power is perhaps the main diplomatic power in this era of global travel and the global economy. It must form an integral part of any realistic foreign policy.

Major declared objectives of Yoga

  • Optimism: It involves building a positive self-concept in oneself. Having a positive outlook helps a person to value himself and life in all forms.
  • Compassion: Being Compassionate means having empathetic qualities such as love, kindness, friendliness and doing no harm to others.
  • Inner Peace: Inner Peace as a theme is concerned with resolution of one’s own psychological conflicts and problems and discovering peace of mind. It includes ways of understanding the self and the process of thought, controlling emotions such as anger, art of soothing the mind etc.
  • Self-realization: The concept ‘Be your true self’ means the strength of the character to be honest and direct in expressing one’s needs, feelings and thoughts without letting others down. The skills in such behaviour are necessary for resolving conflicts and effective social interaction.
  • Peaceful existence: People need to learn to work harmoniously in groups with others. The theme living together can accommodate such subtopics as sharing, mutual help, trust building, taking group responsibility, leading and following. Learning cooperation reduces egoistic competitive tendencies in human beings.
  • Scientific temperament: Critical thinking on the part of the citizens is a necessary feature of a democratic society. It involves analysis, syntheses, looking at the other sides of an issue, searching for alternatives and logical thinking.
  • Non-violent conflict resolution: It encompasses such skills necessary for conflict resolution as conflict analyses, negotiation, active listening, mediation, creative problem-solving and alternative solution seeking.
  • Respect for human dignity: Respect for human dignity is based on the concepts of human rights, duties and justice. It attempts to develop a consciousness that recognizes and respects one’s own and others’ rights.
  • Communal Harmony: Building peace in community means providing opportunities for its members to be open to social realities and understand people’s problems and work with them.
  • Care for the planet: The health of the planet has direct and immediate influence on the destiny of mankind. Values like peace with nature, preservation of nature, appreciation and admiration of natural environment, reuse, repair, recycling natural resources, etc. are included in this theme

Limitations of soft power

  • Soft power has been criticized as for being ineffective or less effective tool in diplomacy.
  • Actors in international relations respond to only two types of incentives: Economic incentives and Forceful coercion.
  • As a concept, it can be difficult to distinguish soft power from hard power.
  • Rising powers such as China, are creating new approaches to soft power ex. Debt Traps, thus using it defensively.
  • Soft power can backfire, leading to reputational damage or loss, or what has been termed ‘soft disempowerment’. Ex. India’s perception in Maldives.

Initiatives by India showcasing its soft power

  • Principle of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’
  • Non-Alignment Movement
  • ‘Neighborhood First’ Policy
  • Vaccine diplomacy
  • Aid to Sri Lanka
  • Developmental aids in Afghanistan
  • Humanitarian assistance for disaster relief (HADR) in neighborhood
  • Political sensitization of leaders e. Late foreign minister responding to Tweets

Major achievements

  • India has moral high ground at the world forum especially due to the non-violent manner in which we had achieved our independence.
  • International support for tough decisions like abrogation of article 370, and maintaining neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine War. 
  • It keeps India distant from world conflicts like recently in Syria, Sudan, Israel-Palestine issue. So India earns goodwill from all over the world.

Threats to India’s soft power

  • India’s older regimes and academia did little to encourage, protect or to benefit from Yoga.
  • Perhaps no other country in recent times has so ignored the potential value of its soft power.
  • There is a cultural battle occurring in the media and academia, in which India’s civilizational views are poorly represented.
  • India’s cultural diplomacy is often labeled by the left liberals as a Hindutva Politics.

Way forward

  • India should move beyond asanas and analysis and take action.
  • Having the Indian story merely out there, jostling with a hundred other stories, isn’t necessarily winning the war of narrative.
  • Our cultural outreach must be well-oiled, well-funded, and primed to produce geopolitical clout.
  • Our moves — whether they be hard-to-power thrusts or soft power maneuvers — must emanate from consistent strategy.
  • In the age of the internet, India must amplify its strengths and work rapidly to right the wrongs.

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Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Perspective: BRICS and India

Context

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, PM Modi is attending the 14th BRICS Summit hosted by China in virtual format.

Discussions during the summit are expected to cover intra-BRICS cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, trade, health, traditional medicine, environment, IT and innovation, agriculture, technical and vocational training, and MSMEs.

Why in news?

  • China is keen for the grouping to explore expansion and include new developing country members.
  • Under the “BRICS Plus” format, the forthcoming summit is also expected to be attended by leaders of invited emerging countries.

What is BRICS?

  • BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually. It does not exist in form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations.

Its inception

  • On November 30, 2001, Jim O’Neill, a British economist who was then chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, coined the term ‘BRIC’ to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
  • He made a case for BRIC on the basis of econometric analyses projecting that the four economies would individually and collectively occupy far greater economic space and become among the world’s largest economies in the next 50 years or so.

How it has formed?

  • The grouping was formalized during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers on the margins of the UNGA in New York in September 2006.
  • The first BRIC Summit took place in 2009 in the Russian Federation and focused on issues such as reform of the global financial architecture.

Who are the members?

  • South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS. South Africa subsequently attended the Third BRICS Summit in Sanya, China, in March 2011.
  • The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • The importance of BRICS is self-evident: It represents 42% of the world’s population, 30% of the land area, 24% of global GDP and 16% of international trade.
  • The five BRICS countries are also members of G-20.

Salient features of BRICS

(1) New front against western dominance

  • The BRICS is group of countries having total population of approximately 3.6 billion which makes 40% of world population.
  • Also, the cumulative economy of the group members aggregate to around 17 trillion in nominal term which is 22% of world economy in current context.

(2) Future power centres of the world

  • India and China are today the fastest growing economies and they are considered as future super power of world.
  • The group also has Russia the former USSR as a member which was one of the two super power until 1991 when it was disintegrated for various political and economic reason but still retain the hegemony of western, US led military dominance.

(3) New global order

  • In subsequent summits since its inception the group has taken various initiatives which have changed the world economic order.
  • The group pledged a corpus of $75 billion to IMF on precondition of voting rights reform in June, 2012 which is not only the end of US hegemony in institution but also a start of more democratic world order.

(4) New Development Bank

  • During its fifth summit at Durban, South Africa in 2013, the member countries agreed to create a new global financial institution which finally came into existence as New Development Bank in 2015.
  • The bank is today considered as rival of World Bank and the bank’s primary focus is to lend for various development projects in member and other developing countries.

(5) Contingent Reserve Agreement

  • To save members from immediate economic shocks the group has also agreed to Contingent Reserve Agreement.
  • The agreement provide protection to member countries against global liquidity pressure as all the members are developing economies.
  • They are prone to increased economical volatility in current globalized scenario and is considered as rival of International Monetary Fund.

(6) A bridge between North and South

  • The grouping has gone through a reasonably productive journey. It strove to serve as a bridge between the Global North and Global South.

(7) Sustainable and inclusive growth and development

  • Structural imbalances caused by the global financial crisis of 2008 and new threats to the global economy posed by trade war and unilateral economic sanctions are yet to be resolved.
  • The growing contribution of the BRICS to the world economy and the rising importance of the economic relations between the BRICS and other Emerging Market and Developing Countries (EMDCs) create an opportunity for new initiatives.

Importance of BRICS for India

(1) Geo-Politics

  • Global geopolitics today represents the case of a tug of war and India finds itself in the middle of it.
  • This has made difficult for India to carve a middle path for balancing its strategic interests between the U.S and the Russia-China axis.
  • Therefore, BRICS platform provides an opportunity for India to balance Russia-China axis.

(2) Global Economic Order

  • BRICS countries shared a common objective of reforming the international financial and monetary system, with a strong desire to build a more just, and balanced international order.
  • To this end, BRICS community plays an important role in the G20, in shaping global economic policies and promoting financial stability.

(3) Voice of Developing Nations

  • As the western countries are raising challenges on issues ranging from World Trade Organization to climate change, the developing countries are crippling under the onslaught of these policies.
  • In recent period, BRICS has emerged as the voice of developing countries, or the global south and playing a significant role in protecting the rights of developing countries.

(4) Multilateral reforms

  • India is actively pursuing its membership for United Nation Security Council (UNSC) and Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG).
  • China forms the major roadblock in pursuing such goals.
  • Therefore, BRICS provides an opportunity to actively engage with China and resolve the mutual disputes. It also helps in garnering support of other partner countries.

What are the challenges with the BRICS?

(1) Heterogeneity

  • It is claimed by critics that heterogeneity (variable/diverse nature of countries) of the BRICS nations with its diverse interests possess a threat to the viability of the grouping.

(2) China Centric nature of the group

  • All the countries in BRICS grouping trade with China more than each other, therefore it is blamed that as a platform to promote China’s interest.
  • Balancing trade deficit with China is huge challenge for other partner nations.

(4) Regional model

  • Amidst, global slowdown, trade war and protectionism, the critical challenge for the BRICS consists in the development of a new global model of governance which should not be unipolar but inclusive and constructive.
  • The goal should be to avoid a negative scenario of unfolding globalization and to start a complicated merging of the global growing economies without distorting or breaking the single financial and economic continuum of the world.

(5) In-effective

  • The five-power combine has succeeded, albeit up to a point.
  • However, China’s economic rise has created a serious imbalance within BRICS.
  • Also the group has not done enough to assist the Global South to win their optimal support for their agenda.

(6) Hostile members

  • The future of the group seems little gloomy as the two biggest economy India and China of the group are having various contentious issues between them.
  • The two countries are often seen as rival on various global forums which degenerate the confidence between each other.

(7) Sanctions on Russia

  • In recent times the global slowdown, sanction on Russia since it annexed Crimea and political instability in Brazil has also added burden on BRICS economy.
  • Russian participation has been seen through lens of its recent invasion of Ukraine aslo.

Priorities/Immediate goals of BRICS

(1) Reform of multilateral institutions

  • The first is to pursue reform of multilateral institutions ranging from the United Nations, World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the World Trade Organization and now even the World Health Organization.
  • This is not a new goal. BRICS has had very little success so far, although strengthening multilateralism serves as a strong bond as well as a beacon.

(2) Resolve to combat terrorism

  • Terrorism is an international phenomenon affecting Europe, Africa, Asia and other parts of the world.
  • Tragic developments concerning Afghanistan have helped to focus attention sharply on this overarching theme, stressing the need to bridge the gap between rhetoric and action.
  • China, for example, feels little hesitation in supporting clear-cut denunciations of terrorist groups, even as its backing of Pakistan, which is heavily enmeshed with a host of international terrorist groups, remains steadfast.

(3) Promoting technological and digital solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals

  • Digital tools have helped a world adversely hit by the pandemic, and India has been at the forefront of using new technological tools to improve governance.

(4) Expanding people-to-people cooperation

  • However, enhancing people-to-people cooperation will have to wait for international travel to revive.
  • Interactions through digital means are a poor substitute.

Way Forward

  • The BRICS needs to expand its agenda for increasing its relevance in the global order.
  • A close examination of India’s record in BRICS reveals that New Delhi has used its membership to make a substantial contribution to the global financial architecture.
  • India is not a free-rider in a system of global governance dominated by the West, and continues to provide a vision of global governance.
  • For BRICS to remain relevant over the next decade, each of its members must make a realistic assessment of the initiative’s opportunities and inherent limitations.
  • BRICS should promote comprehensive development of all states — both big and small — and enhanced mutually beneficial cooperation among them on the basis of shared interests.
  • Democratization of international issues i.e agreements on global agendas should be reached with the widest and equal participation of all stakeholders and be based on universally recognized legal norms.
  • The principle of respect for cultural and civilization diversity of the world should be a top priority.
  • BRICS nations should strive for peaceful and politico-diplomatic settlement of crisis and conflict in various regions of the world.

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Categories
Yojana/Sansad TV

[Yojana Archive] Safeguarding Children

May 2022

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Context

  • India has 2.96 crore orphaned or abandoned children, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development reported in its annual report for 2020-21 that there were 2.56 lakh children living in 7,164 child care institutions (CCIs) across the country.
  • 1.45 lakh children were reunited with their birth families after the Supreme Court ordered states to investigate the possibility of reuniting these children in care institutions with their birth families as a pandemic precaution.

Adoption Laws in India

(A) The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA)

  • A Hindu parent or guardian can place a child for adoption with another Hindu parent under the Act.
  • A prospective parent can also adopt a male child if he has no other male children or grandchildren, or a female child if he has no other female children or grandchildren.
  • If the adoptive mother is a woman and the person being adopted is a man, she must be at least 21 years old.
  • After complying with all Act provisions, the adoption process is completed with a registered adoption deed through court.

(B) Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

  • The JJ Act also permits the adoption of same-sex children, allowing biological or adopted parents to adopt a child of the same gender.
  • Prospective parents can adopt their relatives’ children whether they live in India or abroad. A single or divorced person can adopt under the JJ Act, but a single male cannot adopt a girl child.
  • A home study is conducted by the Specialised Adoption Agency (SAS) to determine if a person is eligible to adopt a child, and the process ends with an adoption order.
  • SAS and the Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) are required to follow up with the adoptive family for two years after the adoption.

Reasons for low adoption in India

  • Parent-centrism: The current adoption approach is very parent-centred, but parents must make it child-centred.
  • Age of child: Most Indian parents also want a child between the ages of zero and two, believing that this is when the parent-child bond is formed.
  • Institutional issues: Because the ratio of abandoned children to children in institutionalised care is lopsided, there are not enough children available for adoption.
  • Lineage discrimination: Most Indians have a distorted view of adoption because they want their genes, blood, and lineage to be passed down to their children.
  • Red-tapism: Child adoption is also not so easy task after the Juvenile Justice Rules of 2016 and the Adoption Regulations of 2017 were launched.

Government Initiatives  

(1) Mission Vatsalya:  

  • Mission Vatsalya shall include Child Protection Services and Child Welfare Services. It brings together services and structures to help children in distress.

(2) Mission POSHAN 2.0:  

  • Mission POSHAN 2.0 shall include Umbrella Integrated Child Development Scheme – Anganwadi Services, Poshan Abhiyan, Scheme for Adolescent Girls, and National Creche Scheme.

(3) Mission Shakti:

  • Mission Shakti envisions a unified citizen-centric lifecycle support system for women that includes integrated care, safety, protection, rehabilitation, and empowerment to free women as they move through different stages of life.
  • ‘Sambal’ and ‘Samarthya’ are two sub-schemes of Mission Shakti.
  • The “Sambal” sub-scheme is for women’s safety and security, while the “Samarthya” sub-scheme is for women’s empowerment.

(4) PM CARES for Children Scheme:

  • The government announced a special “PM CARES for Children” program for all children orphaned by Covid-19 who lost their parents or single parents or legal guardians or adoptive parents due to Covid-19.
  • These children can also receive support through scholarships or education loans equivalent to tuition fees during their higher education, and the loan interest is paid by the PM CARES Fund.

(5) CARA

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is an autonomous and statutory body of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. It was set up in 1990.
  • It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the 1993 Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, ratified India in 2003.
  • It primarily deals with the adoption of orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated and recognized adoption agencies.

Categories
Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Diplomatic Dispatch: India-Myanmar Relations

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Context

  • In this article, we will examine India’s ties with Myanmar which has been in turmoil since February, 2021.
  • The military had seized control of the country in a coup and detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her Parliament.

Myanmar: A backgrounder

  • Myanmar, also known as Burma, is in South East Asia and neighbours Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China and India.
  • The biggest city is Yangon (Rangoon) but the capital is Nay Pyi Taw.
  • The main religion is Buddhism. There are many ethnic groups in the country, including Rohingya Muslims.
  • The country gained independence from Britain in 1948. It was ruled by the armed forces from 1962 until 2011, when a new government began ushering in a return to civilian rule.

Myanmar under Suu Kyi

  • Aung San Suu Kyi became world-famous in the 1990s for campaigning to restore democracy.
  • She spent nearly 15 years in detention between 1989 and 2010 after organising rallies calling for democratic reform and free elections.
  • She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest in 1991.
  • In 2015, she led the NLD to victory in Myanmar’s first openly contested election in 25 years.

Myanmar in recent timeline:

(1) Crackdown on Rohingyas

  • Suu Kyi’s international reputation has suffered greatly as a result of Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya minority.
  • Myanmar considers them illegal immigrants and denies them citizenship. Over decades, many have fled the country to escape persecution.
  • Thousands of Rohingya were killed and more than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh following an army crackdown in 2017.

(2) Military Coup

  • The military is now backing in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency.
  • It seized control following a general election which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide.
  • The armed forces had backed the opposition, who were demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud.
  • The election commission said there was no evidence to support these claims.
  • Suu Kyi is thought to be under house arrest. Several charges have been filed against her, including breaching import and export laws and possession of unlawful communication devices.

How does the world see Myanmar today?

  • Many western liberal democracies have condemned the military takeover.
  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres said it was a “serious blow to democratic reforms”.
  • US President Joe Biden has threatened to reinstate sanctions.
  • However, the issue has now faded from the geopolitical discourse.

Chinese pleasure over Myanmar Coup

China neither condemned nor expressed any concern. It just said that reconciliation is needed between the civilian set-up and Myanmar military or Tatmadaw.

  • China blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning the coup.
  • The country, which has previously opposed international intervention in Myanmar, urged all sides to “resolve differences”.
  • Its Xinhua news agency described the changes as a “cabinet reshuffle”.
  • Neighbours including Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines, have said it is an “internal matter”.

An analysis: India-Myanmar Relations

  • India-Myanmar relations are rooted in shared historical, ethnic, cultural and religious ties.
  • As the land of Lord Buddha, India is a country of pilgrimage for the people of Myanmar.
  • The geographical proximity of the two countries has helped develop and sustain cordial relations and facilitated people-to- people contact.
  • Both share a long land border of over 1600 km (approx.) and a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.

A large population of Indian origin (according to some estimates about 2.5 million) lives in Myanmar. India and Myanmar signed a Treaty of Friendship in 1951.

India’s interests

  • India needs a good working relationship with the Myanmar government for its diplomatic and strategic initiatives.
  • This is especially due to China’s nefarious designs in Myanmar, which wants to develop it as a geopolitical base against India.
  • Despite Myanmar being ruled by military junta over the years, India has developed close ties and shares a good relationship with Tatmadaw.

(a) Strategic relations

  • The geographically strategic location of Myanmar makes it a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • Last year, despite facing shortage of its own, India handed over INS Sindhuvir, a submarine, to the Myanmar Navy.
  • Tatmadaw responded well to Indian overtures and even allowed India to conduct counter-interagency operations against Indian insurgents groups in Myanmar border areas.
  • Both nations seek to cooperate to counteract drug trafficking and insurgent groups operating in the border areas.

(b) Economic Relations

(c) Humanitarian Assistance

  • India responded promptly and effectively in rendering assistance after natural disaster in Myanmar such as the earthquake in Shan state (2010) Cyclone Mora (2017), and Komen (2015).
  • India offered to help in capacity building in disaster risk mitigation as well as strengthening Myanmar’s National Disaster Response Mechanism.

What defines China-Myanmar relations?

China has its own designs and wants to use Myanmar as another base in its ‘string of pearl’ strategy against India. Through the string of pearls approach, China intends to encircle India by developing military bases in India’s neighbouring countries and Myanmar has long been on China’s radar.

(a) Debt trap diplomacy

  • Burdening Myanmar under Chinese debt trap is the first step of the plan.
  • Under China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China is funding and developing many big projects in Myanmar that can be used as military bases in future.
  • These infrastructure projects have put Myanmar in massive Chinese debt trap, and accounts for over 40 per cent of the current $10 billion national debt.

(b) Political interference

  • The second Chinese step was to control the political machinery.
  • Like in Nepal, where China maneuvered to install a pro-Beijing and anti-India group government, Myanmar is expected to witness the same thing with military coup.
  • Geostrategic experts say China instigated Nepal to start the border dispute with India.

(c) Trade dependence

  • With this second step done, the third step comes into play: making a country your economically held scapegoat.
  • When it comes to bilateral trade with India, it stood at just $1.5 billion dollars in 2019-20, nowhere near that of China.  With China, the bilateral trade is worth $12 billion dollars.
  • But if we go by an official Chinese report quoting the Ministry of Commerce of China, export and import between China and Myanmar was worth $168 billion dollars in 2019.
  • That is huge for a small country like Myanmar.

Through the prism of Coup

(a) Impact on India

While the coup invited international condemnation, not much has changed for India as it has built ties with the Tatmadaw over the years.

  • The handing over late last year of INS Sindhuvir, a kilo-class submarine of the Indian Navy, to the Myanmar Navy, was the most recent sign of the deepening ties between New Delhi and the Tatmadaw.
  • India and China have been competing for influence in Myanmar.
  • If India hadn’t agreed to help Myanmar meet its naval requirements, it would have meant a greater Chinese presence in the Bay of Bengal.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (behind this coup) has made multiple visits to India over the last few years, most recently in 2019, when he met our PM.

(b) Impact on China

  • India was the largest supplier of weapons and other military equipment to Myanmar in 2019, the last year for which records are available in the SIPRI Military Expenditure Database.
  • Tatmadaw exported military hardware worth $100 million from India that year while it spent only $47 million on Chinese military equipment the same year.
  • This is significant because China has been the largest supplier of weapons to the Southeast Asian country over the decades.
  • The General has also been critical of China, accusing Beijing of providing support to certain insurgent groups in the country, including the Arakan Army in Rakhine state, which the Tatmadaw has been fighting.

Many rebel groups in Myanmar have been using Chinese-made weapons against the military. This, experts say, rules out a tight embrace of China in the near term.

Repercussions of the Coup

  • Diplomatic isolation: And with over 50 years of military rule and an isolated status in the world, it seems that most of the relations are held by China alone.
  • Sanctions and embargoes: If the US goes ahead with its threat of sanctions because of the coup, Myanmar will have to turn to Beijing as a shield.
  • New puppet of China: In a nutshell, Myanmar’s economy is largely dependent on China, and with a pro-Beijing government in place, Myanmar may well fall finally into Chinese debt trap by allowing China funded BRI projects.
  • Hostility in India’s neighbourhood: If that happens, Myanmar will be reducing to a mere economic scapegoat of its largest trading partner China, and a hostile neighbour for India’s geopolitical interests.
  • Deterrence in Indo-Pacific: This in turn will emerge as a deterrent in the global vision of Indo-Pacific.

It may be often tempting to describe India’s Myanmar policy as suffering from a dilemma between values and interest.

Wait….. India never acts blindfolded

India’s interest in Myanmar has always been guided strategically by the centrality of democracy to ensure deeper ties.

India has also learned to accept that “the liberal democratic paradigm will not automatically come about” in Myanmar, nor in any other part of India’s politically volatile neighbourhood.

So while Indian policymakers have always been clear about their democratic endgame in Myanmar, they also recognise that pragmatic adjustments are sometimes necessary to engage with the military, which remains the ultimate guarantor of internal stability and order.

Since Nehruvian times….

60 years ago, the Burmese armed forces, the Tatmadaw, first took over power to end a decade of democratic reforms in the 1950s.

  • The coup of March 1962 was a severe setback for India’s investment in a federal, democratic Burma under the leadership of Nehru’s great friend U Nu.
  • However, with the democratic regime in deep crisis, it made sense to engage General Ne Win to protect Indian interests, including cross-border insurgencies, China’s influence and the safety of the larger Indian diaspora.
  • Despite his personal distress at the imprisonment of his friend and the end of democracy, Nehru gave the green light for India to become one of the first countries to recognise the military regime, even before China.
  • For the time being, India will push for democracy in public domain but in private it will pivot to engage with Myanmar’s new military regime.

The road to democracy in Myanmar lies through its military

  • Sixty years later, the situation is strikingly similar.
  • This marks a return to India’s dual policy of the 2000s, when it built a relationship of high-level trust with the Myanmar military while also nudging and supporting the Generals to embrace democratic reforms.
  • This approach was first crafted in the late 1990s by Shyam Saran, then India’s ambassador in Yangon, and executed in 2000 with a rare display of successful defence diplomacy led by Army chief VP Malik.
  • This was no easy task. Western analysts criticised India for blindly engaging Myanmar.
  • At the UN India came under attack for not supporting sanctions and condemnatory resolutions, especially during the failed 2007 democratic uprising.

Despite such pressure, India stood firm and also paid a price for it. PM Manmohan Singh, for example, declined two invitations and only visited Myanmar in 2012, after the democratic opening.  

Way forward

  • The carefully calibrated policy of the 2000s will serve India well today, where circumstances are even more favourable.
  • Thanks to the rise of China, the US and the EU are now more wary of isolating Myanmar.
  • And the Tatmadaw is now also less enamored of China and keen to deepen relations with India.
  • But New Delhi will still have to work hard to pursue its democratic realist policy in Myanmar.

For India to play a role

(a) Domestically

  • The first challenge will be to preserve trust with the Generals even while keeping up the pressure to restore a democratic order.
  • Delhi will have to keep the relationship going at the highest level to ensure that the Generals respect India’s core concerns.
  • This includes the Naga peace process, keeping an eye on China’s activities, and cross-border connectivity initiatives.

(b) Internationally

  • The second challenge will be for India to coordinate its position internationally and buy itself manoeuvering space to engage Myanmar.
  • The US and the EU are still likely to be less understanding of India’s position than the Association of South-East Asian Nations and Japan.
  • Especially at the UN Security Council, India could play an important role to bridge differences and develop a common platform to nudge Myanmar back on to the democratic track.

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Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Mudda Aapka: Agnipath Scheme

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Context

  • The violence and arson marked the fourth consecutive day of protests against the Agnipath recruitment scheme for the armed forces.
  • The students’ outrage turned ugly as a group of protestors resorted to vandalism and set a train ablaze to register their anger against the move.

What is Agnipath Scheme?

  • This will be the only form of recruitment of soldiers into the three defence services from now.
  • Recruits under the scheme will be known as ‘Agniveers’.
  • After completing the four-year service, they can apply for regular employment in the armed forces.
  • They may be given priority over others for various jobs in other government departments.
  • The move is expected to decrease the average age profile of armed forces personnel from the current 32 to 24-26 years over a period of time.

Working of the scheme

  • The process of recruitment will commence in 90 days with a planned intake of 46,000 young men and women this year.
  • Enrolment to all three services will be through a centralized online system, with special rallies and campus interviews at recognized technical institutes.
  • Recruitment will be carried out on an “All India All Class” basis with the eligibility age ranging from 17.5 to 21, with medical and physical fitness standards in accordance with existing norms.

Payouts of the Agniveers

  • The ‘Agniveers’ will receive an annual package of ₹4.76 lakh in the first year to ₹6.92 lakh in the fourth year, apart from risk and hardship and other allowances as applicable.
  • Under the ‘Seva Nidhi’ package, they will receive about ₹11.71 lakh, including contribution and interest, on completion of service.
  • The recruits will have to contribute 30% of their monthly emoluments to Seva Nidhi, with a matching contribution made by the government.
  • There will be no entitlement to gratuity and pension benefits under the scheme.
  • However, the ‘Agniveers’ will be provided a non-contributory life insurance cover of ₹48 lakh during their service.

Why are aspirants protesting?

  • Contractualisation of armed forces: The foundation of this scheme is a four-year contract.
  • Jobs for the majority: States such as Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan, are where the bulk of the Army recruitment takes place.
  • Perks and benefits: Many of these people value job stability, which includes retirement benefits and pensions over competitive salaries.
  • Uncertainty after end of commission: Most of them will be forced to leave the job within four years, which doesn’t fit into their hopes and aspirations.
  • Casualization of Training: It reportedly takes two to three years to train a member of the army, but as a part of the Agnipath, soldiers will only be trained for six months.
  • Threats to national security: Defence analysts have allegedly pointed out that the Russian soldiers who were trained for a limited amount of time before they went to war have performed disastrously.
  • Conflicts of interest: Apprehensions have been voiced against how the new recruits will be adjusted in the existing system under which most of the Army units are region, caste or class-based.

Reasons behind aspirants’ frustration

  • Unemployment: Analysts always cite the crunch of gazetted officers in the Armed forces and there has been no recruitment for the last two years.
  • Pandemic impact: Many aspirants lost their chance to join the Armed forces as they are now overage.’
  • Unanticipated reforms: In guise of a push for “major defence policy reform”, the scheme is a fuss.
  • Coaching mafias: Coaching mafias have played a significant role in sparking and provoking protesters.  

Need for the Scheme: Official explanation

  • Budgetary efficiency: With the largest volunteer army in the world, paying an increased salary and pension bill, given rising incomes all around, has steadily eroded the capital side of the defence budget.
  • Preferential treatment: For job-seekers, the government has already said they will get priority in the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • Promotional avenues: One significant advantage of this scheme would be the much lower age profile of the service. It will increase the promotional avenues of the permanent cadre.
  • Diverse career options: Once retired, aspirants will be free to pursue other careers, with several departments and governments.
  • Selective skilling: Aspirants will get preference, educational credits, skill certificates, to help them rehabilitate in other fields.
  • Financial assistance: Those wishing to be entrepreneurs will get a financial package and bank loans and those wishing to study further will be given 12 class equivalent certificate.

Way forward

  • Longer contract term: Make the period of the contract for new recruits longer than four years. The present clarification fails to address this issue.
  • Continuance of the commission: Relook the 25 per cent re-enlistment at the end of the contractual period. Ideally, it should be over 50 per cent retention for long-term posts.
  • Policy commitment for reabsorption: For those leaving after their short service, do obtain a binding commitment from CAPFs, states’ police forces and other organisations that they are willing to absorb this trained military manpower.
  • Gradual shift in recruitment policy: Continue with existing regular enrolment, in reduced numbers, and gradually shift to the Tour of Duty once it stabilizes after five to ten years.

Conclusion

  • A nation should never compromise with the personnel who make up the fighting sinews of its armed forces.
  • The best way to prevent such an impression is to look upon them not as a burden to the exchequer, but as rough diamonds, to be cut and polished to their maximum capabilities and then deployed in the defence of the nation.
  • A diamond is forever, our future men and women in uniform too deserve to serve to their maximum for the betterment of the nation and their own lives. 
Categories
Yojana/Sansad TV

[Yojana Archive] Empowering Divyangjan

May 2022

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Who are the Divyangjans?

  • In India, people with disabilities are known as Divyangjan.
  • Divyang is a Hindi word that means “divine body part.”
  • The Hon’ble PM gave the term ‘Divyangjan’ to the Persons with Disabilities and launched the Accessible India Campaign in 2015.

Various government initiatives

  • Department of Divyangjan:  The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment’s Department of Persons with Disabilities is renamed the Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Vibhag.
  • Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016: Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 promotes and protects the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in educational, social, legal, economic, cultural and political spheres.
  • Accessible India Campaign: The government launched the “Accessible India Campaign” (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) which seeks to make government buildings “fully accessible” for the disabled.
  • TV Viewing: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has formulated the standards for accessible TV viewing for persons with hearing impairment which provides for closed captioning, subtitling and designing of special devices.
  • Sugamya Bharat App: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s Department of Disability Empowerment has launched the ‘Sugamya Bharat App’ to address accessibility issues faced by differently-abled people in buildings and transportation systems.
  • Accessibility in Education Sector: Under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, provision has been made for in-service training of teachers, and training for special educators. The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to provide barrier-free access to education for all children with disabilities.
  • Divya Kala Shakti: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment hosted the first-ever colourful cultural event in the western region, “Divya Kala Shakti: Witnessing the Abilities in Disabilities”.
  • Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP): The ADIP Scheme has been in operation since 1981 with the main objective to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation.
  • Deen Dayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Under DDDRS, the Central Government has been providing grant-in-aid to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for projects relating to the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
  • National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR):  This is a Central Autonomous Institute under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan). It is a federally funded institute that focuses on mental health rehabilitation.

Policy measures for Divyangjan

  • Inclusion of Divyangjan: Disability inclusion refers to including people with disabilities in everyday activities and encouraging them to take on roles similar to their peers who do not have disabilities.
  • Disability Certificate: A disability certificate is provided to a person with a disability of more than 40% in order to be eligible for any of the available schemes’ facilities, benefits, or concessions.
  • Unique Disability Identity Project: Unique ID for Persons with Disabilities project is being implemented with a view to creating a National Database of PwDs.
  • Accessibility in Cross-Disability Early Intervention Centres: In order to provide rehabilitative services for children with various types of disabilities, Early Intervention Centres (EICs) with a cross-disability focus were established across India in 2021. Accessible features include accessible parking, routes, ramps, accessible reception counters, accessible toilets and drinking water points, staircases, and appropriate instructional and directional signage.
  • Accessible Means of Communication: Indian Sign Language (ISL): The Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), in collaboration with NCERT, is converting NCERT textbooks and other educational materials into ISL digital format to assist people with hearing impairment.
  • Psychological disability (mental illness):  As per the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights, and Full Participation) Act, 1995, mental illness is recognised as one of the disabilities. The Act defines “mental illness” as any mental disorder other than mental retardation. In 2001, a Committee was formed to establish guidelines for the evaluation and assessment of mental illness, as well as the certification procedure.
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Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Elections to the Rajya Sabha

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Context

Elections to the Rajya Sabha were recently concluded in some states.

In this article, we will discuss and analyse the journey, significance and achievements of the Upper House of Parliament – Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha

  • The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament.
  • It currently has a maximum membership of 245, of which 233 are elected by the legislatures of the states and union territories using single transferable votes through Open Ballot.
  • The President can appoint 12 members for their contributions to art, literature, science, and social services.
  • Members sit for terms lasting six years, with elections every year but almost a third of the 233 designates up for election every two years, specifically in even-numbered years.

A Historical background

  • The Rajya Sabha came into being on April 3, 1952, and held its first session on May 13 the same year.
  • The Constituent Assembly, which was formed in 1947, after the adoption of the Constitution became the Provisional Parliament and made laws till 1952.

Before its existence

  • The central legislature that came into being under the Government of India Act, 1919 was bicameral.
  • Under 1919 Act, Council of States had 60 members and Legislative Assembly had 145 members.
  • The membership and voting norms for the Council of States were restrictive. These restrictions meant only wealthy landowners, merchants and those with legislative experience could enter it.
  • Women could neither vote nor seek membership.
  • The Government of India Act, 1935 proposed an elaborate and improved version of the second chamber, but this never materialized.

Elections to the Rajya Sabha

Qualifications

Article 84 of the Constitution lays down the qualifications for membership of Parliament. A member of the Rajya Sabha must:

  • Be a citizen of India;
  • Be at least 30 years old. (Article 84 constitution of India)
  • Be elected by the Legislative Assembly of States and UTs by means of the single transferable vote through proportional representation.
  • Not be: a proclaimed criminal, a subject of an insolvent, of unsound mind.
  • Not hold any other office of profit under the Government of India.
  • Possess such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.

In addition, twelve members are nominated by the President of India having special knowledge in various areas like arts and science. However, they are not entitled to vote in Presidential elections as per Article 55 of the Constitution.

Election procedure

  • Candidates fielded by political parties have to be proposed by at least 10 members of the Assembly or 10% of the party’s strength in the House, whichever is less.
  • For independents, there should be 10 proposers, all of whom should be members of the Assembly.

Voting procedure

  • Voting is by single transferable vote, as the election is held on the principle of proportional representation.
  • A single transferable vote means electors can vote for any number of candidates in order of their preference.
  • A candidate requires a specified number of first preference votes to win. Each first choice vote has a value of 100 in the first round.
  • To qualify, a candidate needs one point more than the quotient obtained by dividing the total value of the number of seats for which elections are taking place plus one.
  • The formula simply is [(Number of MLAs X 100) / (Vacancies + 1)] + 1.

Example: If there are four seats and 180 MLAs voting, the qualifying number will be 180/5= 36 votes or value of 3,600.

Note: The Rajya Sabha polls have a system of the open ballot, but it is a limited form of openness. There is a system of each party MLA showing his or her marked ballots to the party’s authorised agent (called Whip), before they are put into the ballot box.

The NOTA option has been struck down by the Supreme Court in RS elections.

The Power Equation: Lok Sabha Vs. Rajya Sabha

The Indian Constitution provides for parity of powers between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in law, making an exception in some cases.

The Money Bill or Finance Bills can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha which only can approve the Demands for Grants.

On the other hand, the Rajya Sabha has some special powers as requiring adopting a resolution allowing Parliament to legislate on subjects in the State List and creating All India Services, besides approving proclamations of Emergency and President’s Rule when the Lok Sabha is dissolved.

Renowned British philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill as early as in 1861 said in his great treatise Considerations on Representative Government that management of free institutions requires conciliation; a readiness to compromise; a willingness to concede something to opponents and mutual give and take. Truly, Rajya sabha plays this role in Indian legislature.

In detail: Powers and Functions of the Rajya Sabha

[1] Legislative Powers:

  • In the sphere of ordinary law-making, the Rajya Sabha enjoys equal powers with the Lok Sabha. An ordinary bill can be introduced in the Rajya Sabha and it cannot become a law unless passed by it.
  • In case of a deadlock between the two Houses of Parliament over an ordinary bill and if it remains unresolved for six months, the President can convene a joint sitting of the two Houses for resolving the deadlock.
  • This joint sitting is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. But if the deadlock is not resolved, the bill is deemed to have been killed.

[2] Financial Powers:

  • In the financial sphere, the Rajya Sabha is a weak House.
  • A money bill cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. It can be initiated only in the Lok Sabha.
  • A money bill passed by the Lok Sabha comes before the Rajya Sabha for its consideration.

[3] Executive Powers:

  • Members of the Rajya Sabha can exercise some control over the ministers by criticizing their policies, by asking questions and moving motions etc.
  • Some of the ministers are also taken from the Rajya Sabha. The PM can also be from Rajya Sabha if the majority party in the Lok Sabha may elect/adopt him as its leader.

[4] Electoral Powers:

  • The Rajya Sabha has some electoral powers also. The elected members of the Rajya Sabha along with the elected members of the Lok Sabha and all the State Legislative Assemblies together elect the President of India.
  • The members of the Rajya Sabha Lok Sabha together elect the Vice- President of India.
  • Members of the Rajya Sabha also elect a Deputy Chairman from amongst themselves.

[5] Judicial Powers:

  • The RS acting along with the Lok Sabha can impeach the President on charges of violation of the Constitution.
  • The RS can also pass a special address for causing the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court or of any High Court.
  • The charges against the Vice-President can be levelled only in the RS.
  • The RS can pass a resolution for the removal of some high officers like the Attorney General of India, Comptroller and Auditor General and Chief Election Commissioner.

[6] Miscellaneous Powers:

The Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha jointly perform the following functions:

  • Approval of the ordinances issued by the President,
  • Ratification of an emergency proclamation,
  • Making any change in the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, and
  • Making any change in the qualifications for the membership of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.

[7] Exclusive Powers

The Rajya Sabha enjoys two exclusive powers:

(i) The Power to declare a Subject of State List as a subject of National Importance:

The Rajya Sabha can pass a resolution by 2/3rd majority of its members for declaring a State List subject as a subject of national importance. Such a resolution empowers the Union Parliament to legislate on such a state subject for a period of one year. Such resolutions can be repeatedly passed by the Rajya Sabha.

(ii) Power in respect of Creation or Abolition of an All India Service:

The Rajya Sabha has the power to create one or more new All India Services. It can do so by passing a resolution supported by 2/3rd majority on the plea of national interest. In a similar way, the Rajya Sabha can disband an existing All India Service.

Limitations to its powers

The Constitution places some restrictions on Rajya Sabha; the Lok Sabha is more powerful in certain areas as such:

1. Money bills

  • A money bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha by a minister and only on recommendation of President of India.
  • When the Lok Sabha passes a money bill then the Lok Sabha sends money bill to the Rajya Sabha for 14 days during which it can make recommendations.
  • Even if Rajya Sabha fails to return the money bill in 14 days to the Lok Sabha, that bill is deemed to have passed by both the Houses.

Also, if the Lok Sabha rejects any (or all) of the amendments proposed by the Rajya Sabha, the bill is deemed to have been passed. Hence, Rajya Sabha can only give recommendations for a money bill but Rajya Sabha cannot amend a money bill.

There is no joint sitting of both the houses with respect to money bills, because all final decisions are taken by the Lok Sabha.

2. Joint Sitting of the Parliament

  • Article 108 provides for a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament in certain cases.
  • Considering that the numerical strength of Lok Sabha is more than twice that of Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha tends to have a greater influence in a joint sitting of Parliament.  A joint session is chaired by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.

Joint sessions of Parliament are a rarity, and have been convened only three times in last 71 years, for the purpose of passage of a specific legislative act, the latest time being in 2002:

  • 1961: Dowry Prohibition Act, 1958
  • 1978: Banking Services Commission (Repeal) Act, 1977
  • 2002: Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002

 3. No confidence motion:

  • The Union Council of Ministers is collectively responsible before the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha.
  • Lok Sabha alone can cause the fall of the Council of Ministers by passing a vote of no-confidence.

Rajya Sabha: A destructionist house?

  • An analysis by the Secretariat revealed that the productivity of the Rajya Sabha till 1997 has been 100% and above and the past 23 years have thrown up a disturbing trend of rising disruptions.
  • This decline is primarily on account of disruptions forcing cancellation of Question Hour frequently.
  • Disruptions also dent the quality of law-making as seen in passing of Bills without discussion sometimes.
  • However, the Rajya Sabha is proving to be more and more a ‘deliberative’ body with increasingly more time being spent on this function.
  • According to various members of Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has done nothing except stalling legislative works and causing policy paralysis in the country.
  • For critics, the Upper House serves no purpose as its members are not directly elected and hence are not accountable to the people.
  • Rajya Sabha often has members from the party defeated in various elections, or are from political families, and due to political differences, they do not allow passage of important bills.
  • So many extra members are an added burden on exchequer which can be done away with.
  • Politics of boycotting and creating ruckus in the house and toeing on the party-line even on the issue that won’t attract disqualification provisions is a worrying thing.
  • At the same time, in terms of working, Rajya Sabha does not have sufficient powers in financial matters to bring any change and they are without any direct public interaction. Hence its purpose in modern democracy seems outdated.

Importance of Rajya Sabha and Why It Should Continue

  • According to President Radhakrishnan, there are functions, which a revising chamber like Rajya Sabha can fulfil fruitfully. Parliament is not only a legislative but a deliberative body. So far as its deliberative functions are concerned, Rajya Sabha has made very valuable contributions time and again.
  • It’s true that party dynamics affects the working of Rajya Sabha. But in democracy passion often defeat the normal rationality. Thus a revising house is needed to check such adrenal rush.
  • While the argument of members not able to win in direct elections holds true, but retaining talent is essential for any democratic system. Losing valuable talent during election fervours has mostly been corrected by Rajya Sabha. It has also given entry to other experts like scientist, artist, sportsmen etc that can rarely face the electoral politics.
  • While Lok Sabha have members for each state, the Hindi belt domination is a constant theme. Hence other state interests, like those in North East, have always been taken up by the Rajya Sabha.
  • While it can’t bring no confidence motion or amend money bill, its role in checking arbitrariness of government as reflected in Land Ordinance, is necessary in democracy. Besides its special role in All India Services, legislation in State List too necessitates its existence.
  • Men and women of prodigious talent and calibre have adorned the benches of the upper house and have contributed significantly towards realising the vision of the founding fathers of the Constitution.
  • A permanent Upper House is also a check against any abrupt changes in the composition of the Lower House.
  • Rajya Sabha has continuity and is a permanent house.
  • Unlike Lok Sabha, it cannot be dissolved by anyone. Thus it has, time and often, carried out some administrative functions even when the lower house is dissolved. It has members with experienced players while there may be new entrants in the Lok Sabha.

By virtue of this, Rajya Sabha can’t be said to be ‘obstructive’.

Conclusion

A study of the powers of the Rajya Sabha leads us to the conclusion that it is neither a very weak house like the British House of Lords nor a very powerful house as the American Senate. Its position is somewhat mid-way between the two. It has been less powerful than Lok Sabha but it has been not a very weak or insignificant House.

Instead of engaging in the debate of if we need upper house or not, more constructive outlook would be improve it’s functioning. Clearly, the recommendations are present from NCRWC to 2nd ARC. The need is implementation and political support.

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Categories
Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Perspective: India – Vietnam Relations

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Context

  • Defence Minister Rajnath was on a three day official visit to Vietnam.
  • Wide-ranging discussions were held between both sides on effective and practical initiatives to further expand bilateral defense engagements and regional & global issues.
  • The two Defence Ministers also signed the 20 Year ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030’.
  • An MoU on Mutual Logistics Support was also signed and both sides also agreed to early finalization of the Defence Line of Credit worth 500 million US dollars extended to Vietnam.

India – Vietnam Relations: A Backgrounder

  • India and Vietnam share traditionally close and cordial bilateral relations.
  • India chaired the International Commission for Supervision and Control (ICSC), which was formed pursuant to the Geneva Accord of 1954 to facilitate the peace process in Vietnam.
  • India initially maintained Consulate-level relations with the then North and South Vietnams and later established full diplomatic relations with unified Vietnam on 7 January 1972.
  • Relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of “Strategic Partnership” during the visit of Vietnam’s PM Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2007
  • In September 2016, during PM Modi’s visit to Vietnam, bilateral relations were further elevated to the level of “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”.

Areas of Cooperation

(1) Economic

  • During FY April 2020 – March 2021, bilateral trade between India and Vietnam reached US$11.12 billion with India being a net importer.
  • India granted “Most Favoured Nation” status to Vietnam in 1975 and both nations signed a bilateral trade agreement in 1978.
  • Vietnam is also keen for India to expand its presence in oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea and has firmly maintained that the areas fall well within Vietnam’s economic zone.

(2) Development partnership

  • Under the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) framework, India has been taking up various projects in different provinces of Vietnam for development of community infrastructure.
  • The MGC initiative comprising six countries — India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam — was launched in 2000 to boost cooperation in a range of areas including connectivity, tourism and culture.

(3) Defence

  • Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.
  • Vietnam is interested in India’s Akash surface-to-air systems and Dhruv advanced light helicopters and Brahmos Missiles.
  • India recently handed over 12 high-speed guard boatstoVietnam, in reflection of the growing congruence in maritime security.

Vietnam’s Importance for India

  • Vietnam is an important element of India’s Act East Policy, which aims to re-invigorate its historical ties with countries in Southeast and East Asia.
  • There are ample opportunities for closer connectivity between India and Vietnam via Myanmar and existing transit routes in Cambodia and Laos.
  • India’s growing economy needs energy resources and Vietnam has rich hydrocarbon reserves.
  • India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC Videsh) has been searching for oil in disputed waters off Vietnam.
  • Also Vietnam lies at a centrestage of the “Necklace of Diamonds Strategy” that aims at garlanding China or in simple words, the counter encirclement strategy.
  • India is expanding its naval bases and is also improving relations with strategically placed countries to counter China’s strategies.

India’s significance to Vietnam

  • For Vietnam, India could be a bulwark against the dominance of any single country in the region.
  • Hanoi has a long-festering territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea, which has worsened since 2014.
  • In the past, India has additionally conducted capacity-building programs for Vietnamese defence personnel.
  • Besides, there are numerous opportunities to increase trade between the two countries.
  • Indian companies can infuse much needed capital and technology into the Vietnamese market to bring it to par with its East Asian counterparts.
  • Then there is the strong cultural aspect to the relationship, with Buddhism seeping into Vietnam from the land of its birth in India.

China Factor in bilateral ties

  • China factor also weighs heavily in the respective strategic calculus of India and Vietnam.
  • Both countries had fought wars with China and both have border problems with that country.
  • China aggressively continues to encroach in the territories of the two countries.
  • Hence, it is natural for both the countries to come closer with a view to restrain China from its aggressive actions.

Areas for improvement

  • India’s cultural presence in Vietnam is modest.
  • Rarely are Indian films and television shows broadcast on television channels.
  • Films depicting ancient traditions do not impact the youths and send mixed signals on India’s development.

Way forward

  • By enhancing ties with Hanoi, India can incorporate the same template in engaging with other Southeast Asian states such as the Philippines.
  • The close relationship between the two countries is significant for maintaining strategic balance in South East Asia which is witnessing aggressive Chinese activities.
  • Both Countries need to leverage the economic opportunities left out of anti-China sentiments and several manufacturing firms deciding to shift from China.
  • Both Countries should expedite the process of negotiations for finalisation of defence deals.
  • Moreover, India can learn from Vietnam’s open trade policy, due to which Vietnam’s exports have grown by about 240% in the past eight years.

Conclusion

  • India must show greater commitment in the region if it seeks to enhance its strategic position there.
  • By illustrating its desire and willingness to pay attention to the security issues that the states of Southeast Asia currently face, India will be able to signal its positive intentions.

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Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Perspective: Remote Voting Facility

The Election Commission of India has decided to set up a committee to explore the possibility of allowing migrant workers to vote remotely on a pilot basis.

Voting facilitation for Migrant Workers

  • According to an ECI, there needs to be a concerted effort to see problems faced by migrant workers in exercising their franchise.
  • ECI had set up a four-member panel in 2020 to assess the technology landscape to enable remote voting.
  • The panel has presented a concept plan to the ECI to enable a two-way transfer of vote and ballot.
  • Currently, postal ballots are meant only for service voters such as army personnel who cannot return to vote.

So what is remote voting, how will it work on the ground and what are the challenges in the implementation of this process.

What is Remote Voting?

  • Remote voting means facilitating voting to those who are migrated to somewhere else for earning, they can’t return even to their respective home Village for mere voting.

ECI’s Proposals to use Blockchain

  • IIT-Madras who is among the ECI panel is developing a system for two-way remote voting in a controlled environment using blockchain technology.

Goals to be achieved

  1. More inclusive democracy and political process
  2. No voter to be left behind

How would it work?

  • It would entail:
  • Voter identification and authorisation on the Electoral Registration Officer Network (ERO Net
  • Use of biometric data and web cameras for authentication
  • Blockchain-based e-ballot generation, which would convert into a vote once the hash code would be generated on its execution
  • The encrypted remote votes cast would once again be validated at the pre-counting stage to ensure that they have neither been decrypted nor tampered with or replaced.

Why need Remote Voting?

  • Migrant population: According to the 2011 census, there are 45 crore internal migrants who accounted for 37% of the population. There are nearly 10 million migrant workers as per e-SHRAM portal.
  • Flexiblity for voters: The individual can cast his/her vote from multiple locations and not solely from one registered polling station.
  • Increasing voting turnout: It will ensure more eligible voters cast their votes which will help in including more voters.
  • Preventing transparency: It will provide enhanced efficiency in counting votes. It will be promoting security towards the recording of votes as opposed to physical tampering.
  • Voter Authencity: It will help in minimising errors and easing the overall process for the voter by utilising basic features such as Facial recognition technology (FRTs) and biometric identification protocols.
  • Elections and weather: Voting calendar is very random. It is never held in convenient months.  

Apprehensions regarding remote voting

  • Mapping of migrant laborers: Mapping of migrant labourers is a mammoth exercise that the administration has to take up.
  • Voter-list reforms: There are a set of reforms pending in Indian. For example, Aadhaar-linking for de-duplication and a single electoral roll.
  • Privacy concerns:  It saves users’ biometrics and other data which can be misused by hackers and other parties that would undermine the right to privacy.

Conclusion

  • Voting is the most important aspect of democracy and for its feasibility it’s persistence and timely improvement is utmost important.
  • The ECI is working to find a system where these people can also vote to their desired candidate from any corner of the country.

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Announcements Motivation Bytes

1 2 3…….. 70/100 Questions in Prelims 2022 are directly from CivilsDaily IAS Resources! Tap the link to unlock the treasure.

Who said Prelims is Unpredictable?

Shoutout, It’s No More!


70/100 Qs in Prelims (GS) 2022 were from CivilsDaily IAS sources. 49Qs are direct hit, 21 Qs are interpreted ones.


We know its hard to believe. Let’s go inside and decode the explanation of the most stressed questions with Sure Shot Answer Keys.

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Q1. “Rapid Financing Instrument” and “Rapid Credit Facility” are related to the provisions of lending by which one of the following?

(a) Asian Development Bank

(b) International Monetary fund

(c) United National Environment Programme Finance initiative

(d) Word bank

Ans: (b)


Q2. With reference to the Indian economy, consider the following statements:

  1. An increase in Nominal Effective Exchange Rate (NEER) indicates the appreciation of the rupee.
  2. An increase in the Real effective Exchange rate (REER) indicates an improvement in trade competitiveness.
  3. An increasing trend in domestic inflation relative to inflation in other countries in likely to cause an increasing divergence between NEER and REER.

Which of above statements are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Explanations:  Statement-1 is incorrect, while Statement-2 and 3 are correct.

  • An increase in NEER indicated the depreciation of the Rupee, it will increase trade competitiveness. Hence, Statement-1 is incorrect.

Q3. With reference to Indian Economy, consider the following statements, consider the following statements:

  1. If inflation is too high, the Reserve bank buys government securities.
  2. If the rupee is rapidly depreciating, RBI is likely to sell dollars in the market.
  3. If the interest rate in USA or European Union were to fall, that is likely to induce RBI to buy dollars.

Which of the following statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, and 3 only

Ans: (b)

Explanations: If inflation is too high, RBI is likely to see government securities to reduce the money supply in the market, which will reduce inflation. Hence, Statement-1 is incorrect.

  • If the Rupee is rapidly depreciating, RBI is likely to sell dollars in the market, which will lead to the appreciation of the rupee. Hence, Statement-2 is correct.
  • Statement-3 is also correct.

Q4. With reference to “G-20 Common Framework”, Consider the following statements:

  1. It is an initiative endorsed by the G-20 together with the Paris Club.
  2. It is an initiative to support low-income countries with unsustainable debit.

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 2 only

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c)

Explanation: The Common Framework for debt treatment beyond the DSSI (Common Framework) is an initiative endorsed by the G20, together with the Paris Club, last November to support, in a structural manner, Low Income Countries with unsustainable debt. Hence, both of Statements are correct.


Q5. With reference to the Indian economy, what are the advantages of “Inflation-indexed bonds (IIB)”.

  1. Government can reduce the coupon rates on its borrowing by way of IIBs
  2. IIBs provide protection to investors from uncertainty regarding inflation.
  3. The interest received as well as capital gains on IIBs are not taxable.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans:  (a)

Explanation: Only Statements- 1 and 2 are correct, while Statement-3 is not correct.

  • The CIBs issued in 1997 provided inflation protection only to principal and not to interest payment.
  • Interest rate provide protection against inflation by paying fixed coupon rate on the principal adjusted against inflation.
  • Extant tax provisions are applicable on interest payment and capital gains on IIBs. Hence, Statement-3 is incorrect.
  • Usually Coupon rate (1.5%) on the IIBs is less government securities ( G- secs), hence Statement-1 is correct.

Q6. With reference to Foreign-owned E-commerce firms operating in India, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. They can sell their own goods in addition to offering their platforms as marketplaces.
  2. The degree to which they can own big sellers on their platforms is limited.

Select the correct answer using the code given:

(a) 1 Only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)

Explanation: E-commerce Rules -2021: The rules barred online marketplaces from holding inventory of their own or influencing the price of goods on their platforms. They also prohibited group companies or entities in which marketplaces have control of inventory to sell on their platforms, among other things. Hence, both statements are incorrect.


Q7. Which of the following activities constitute the real sector in the economy?

1. Farmers harvesting their crops

2. Textile mills converting raw cotton into fabrics

3. A commercial bank lending money to a trading company

4. A corporate body issuing Rupee Denominated Bonds overseas

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans:  (a)

Explanation:

Statement-1 and 2 are correct, while 3 and 4 are incorrect.

The real economy concerns the production, purchase and flow of goods and services (like oil, bread and labor) within an economy. It is contrasted with the financial economy, which concerns the aspects of the economy that deal purely in transactions of money and other financial assets, which represent ownership or claims to ownership of real sector goods and services.


Q8. Which one of the following situations best reflects “Indirect Transfers” often talked about in media recently with reference to India?

(a) An Indian company investing in a foreign enterprise and paying taxes to the foreign country on the profits arising out of its investment

(b) A foreign company investing in India and paying taxes to the country of its base on the profits arising out of its investment

(c) An Indian company purchases tangible assets in a foreign country and sells such assets after their value increases and transfers the proceeds to India

(d) A foreign company transfers shares and such shares derive their substantial value from assets located in India

Ans: (d)

  • Indirect transfers refer to situations where when foreign entities own shares or assets in India, the shares of such foreign entities are transferred instead of a direct transfer of the underlying assets in India.

As per landmark ruling of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Vodafone International Holdings BV v. Union of India (the “Vodafone case”) (2012) in which the Court held that Transfer of shares of a Cayman Islands company would not be subject to capital gains tax in India since the shares of the Cayman Islands company were not located in India.


Q9.  With reference to the expenditure made by an organization or a company, which of the following statements is/are correct?

1. Acquiring new technology is capital expenditure.

2. Debt financing is considered a capital expenditure, while equity financing is considered revenue expenditure.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(e) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans:  (a)

  • Statement-1 is correct, while statement-2 is incorrect.
  • Capital expenditures (CAPEX) are funds used by a company to acquire, upgrade, and maintain physical assets such as property, buildings, or equipment or technology.
  • Statement-1 is correct.
  • Companies often use debt financing or equity financing to cover the substantial costs involved in acquiring major assets (Capital expenditure) for expanding their business.
  • Hence, statement-2 is incorrect.

Q10. With reference to the Indian economy, consider the following statements:

1. A share of the household financial savings goes towards government borrowings.

2. Dated securities issued at market-related rates in auctions form a large component of internal debt.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c)

  • Household Savings is often deposited in financial institutions, which are used by them to buy government securities. Hence, Statement-1 is correct.
  • Internal debt consists of marketable debt and non-marketable debt. Marketable debt comprises of Government dated securities and Treasury Bills. Dated Securities form a large component of internal debt.


Q.11  Consider the followings Statements:

1. Pursuant to the report of H.N. Sanyal Committee, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was passed.

2. The Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and the High Courts to punish for contempt of themselves.

3. The Constitution of India defines Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt.

4. In India, the Parliament is vested with the powers to make laws on Contempt of Court.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 2 and 4

(c) 3 and 4 only

(d) 3 only

Ans: (b)

  • Statement-1, 2 and 4 are correct and 3 is incorrect.
  • A committee was set up in 1961 under the chairmanship of the late H N Sanyal, the then additional solicitor general. The committee made a comprehensive examination of the law and problems relating to contempt of court in the light of the position obtaining in our own country and various foreign countries.
  • The Contempt of Court Act, 1971 was passed which dealt with such above concept. Article 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.

Q12. With reference to India, consider the following statements:

  1. Government law officers and legal firms are recognized advocates, but as corporate lawyers and patent attorneys are excluded from recognition as advocates.
  2. Bar Councils have the power to lay down the rules relating to legal education and recognition of law colleges.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: b

  • Under Advocates Act, 1961, Advocates to be the only recognized class of persons entitled to practice law.―Subject to the provisions of this Act and any rules made thereunder, there shall, as from the appointed day, be only one class of persons entitled to practice the profession of law, namely, advocates.  Hence, Statement-1 is incorrect.
  • The Bar Council of India was established by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961. The Bar Council of India is a statutory body created by Parliament to regulate and represent the Indian bar. We perform the regulatory function by prescribing standards of professional conduct and etiquette and by exercising disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar. It sets standards for legal education and grants recognition to Universities whose degree in law will serve as qualification for enrolment as an advocate. Hence, Statement-2 is correct.

13. Consider the following statements:

  1. A bill amending the Constitution requires a prior recommendation of the President of India.
  2. When a Constitution Amendment Bill is presented to the President of India, it is obligatory for the President of India to give his/her assent.
  3. A Constitution Amendment Bill must be passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha by a special majority and there is no provision for joint sitting.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

  • Statement-1 is correct and statement-2 and 3 are incorrect.
  • A bill for Constitutional amendment doesn’t require prior permission of President under article 368. However, it is obligatory for president of India go giver his/her consent. Such bill is passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting. There is no provision for joint sitting.

Q14. Consider the following statements:

  1. The Constitution of India classifies the ministers into four ranks viz. Cabinet Minister, Minister of State with Independent Charge, Minister of State and Deputy Minister.
  2. The total number of ministers in the Union Government, including the Prime Minister, shall not exceed 15 percent of the total number of members in the Lok Sabha.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

  • Statement-1 is incorrect, while statement-2 is correct.
  • The constitution mentions the word ‘council of ministers’, however it doesn’t classify ministers into 4 categories. Hence, statement-1 is incorrect.
  • As provided by 91th amendment, 2003 under Anti-defection law, as per article 75(1A) The total number of Ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the Council of Ministers shall not exceed fifteen per cent. of the total number of members of the House of the People.  Hence, statement-2 is correct.

Source: July 2021 CA Test


15.  Which of the following is/are the exclusive power(s) of Lok Sabha ?

1. To ratify the declaration of Emergency

2. To pass a motion of no-confidence against the Council of Ministers

3. To impeach the President of India

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 3 only

Ans: (b)

  • Only statement-2 is correct, while statement-1 and 3 are incorrect.
  • To pass a motion of no-confidence against the Council of Ministers is special power of Lok Sabha, not available to Rajya Sabha. However, matters relating to ratify the declaration of Emergency and impeachment of President, both houses have equal powers.
  • Source: M. Laxmikant

Q16. With reference to anti-defection law in India, consider the following statements:

  1. The law specifies that a nominated legislator cannot join any political party within six months of being appointed to the House.
  2. The law does not provide any time frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Explanation- The law specifies that a nominated legislator can join any political party within six months of being appointed to the House. Hence statement 1 is incorrect. There is no time limit as per the law within which the Presiding Officers should decide on a plea for disqualification. The courts also can intervene only after the officer has made a decision, and so the only option for the petitioner is to wait until the decision is made. Hence statement 2 is correct.

Source: August 2021 CA Test


Q17. Consider the following statements :

1. Attorney General of India and Solicitor General of India are the only officers of the Government who are allowed to participate in the meetings of the Parliament of India.

2. According to the Constitution of India, the Attorney General of India submits his resignation when the Government which appointed him resigns.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)

  • Explanation- Under Article 76, Attorney General of India is the only officers of the Government who are allowed to participate in the meetings of the Parliament of India.  Hence statement 1 is incorrect
  • He holds office during President’s pleasure & can be removed by President at any time. Further, no grounds for removal or procedure have been mentioned in Constitution. Hence statement 2 is incorrect. 

Source: April 2022 CA Test


Q18. With reference to the writs issued by the Courts in India, consider the following statements:

1. Mandamus will not lie against a private organization unless it is entrusted with a public duty.

2. Mandamus will not lie against Company even though it may be a Government Company.

3. Any public-minded person can be a petitioner to move the Court to obtain the Writ of Quo Warranto.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2fand 3

Ans: (c)

Explanation: Mandamus does not lie against a private person or body, whether incorporated or not except where the state is in collusion with such private party. Further, the writ of mandamus will lie against a private company if it performs a public function or a public obligation. Hence statement 1 is correct and statement 2 is incorrect. Unlike other writs Quo Warranto can be sought by any person and not necessarily an aggrieved person. Hence statement 3 is correct.

Source: B01 Polity Basics Test, Q.47


Q19. With reference to Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, consider the following statements:

1. Private and public hospitals must adopt it.

2. As it aims to achieve universal health coverage, every citizen of India should be part of it ultimately.

3. It has seamless portability across the country.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

  • Explanation: Participation in ABDM is voluntary including for citizens. Participation of a healthcare facility or an institution is also voluntary and shall be taken by the respective management (government or private management). However, once the management decides to register the respective healthcare facility/institution in ABDM, it is essential for all the healthcare professionals serving the said facility/institution to register in Healthcare Professionals Registry so that the institution can become fully integrated with the National Digital Health Ecosystem (NDHE). Hence statement 1 and 2 is incorrect.  ABDM provides for seamless portability across the country. Hence statement 3 is correct

Source: FLT07, Q.35


Q20. With reference to Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, consider the following statements :

1. As per the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the election of Deputy Speaker shall be held on such date as the Speaker may fix.

2. There is a mandatory provision that the election of a candidate as Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha shall be from either the principal opposition party or the ruling party.

3. The Deputy Speaker has the same power as of the Speaker when presiding over the sitting, of the House and no appeal lies against his rulings.

4. The well-established parliamentary practice regarding the appointment of Deputy Speaker is that the motion is moved by the Speaker and duly seconded by the Prime Minister.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 1, 2 and 3

(c) 3 and 4 only

(d) 2 and 4 only

Ans: (a)

  • Explanation: The date of election of the Deputy Speaker is fixed by the Speaker. Hence statement 1 is correct.
  • The Deputy Speaker performs the duties of the Speaker’s office when it is vacant. He also acts as the Speaker when the latter is absent from the sitting of the House. In both the cases, he assumes all the powers of the Speaker.
  • He also presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament, in case the Speaker is absent from such a sitting. Hence statement 3 is correct.
  • Upto the 10th Lok Sabha, both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were usually from the ruling party. Since the 11th Lok Sabha, there has been a consensus that the Speaker comes from the ruling party (or ruling alliance) and the post of Deputy Speaker goes to the main opposition party. However, it is not mandatory. Hence statement 2 is incorrect.
  • For the election of deputy speaker, any member may give notice in writing, addressed to the Secretary-General, of a motion that another member be chosen as the Deputy Speaker of the House and the notice shall be seconded by a third member and shall be accompanied by a statement by the member whose name is proposed in the notice that the member proposed is willing to serve as Deputy Speaker if elected. Hence statement 4 is incorrect.

Source: September 2021 CA Test , Q.1)


Q21. Among the following crops, which one is the most important anthropogenic source of both methane and nitrous oxide?

(a) Cotton

(b) Rice

(c) Sugarcane

(d) Wheat

Ans: (b)

Source: December 2021 CA Test, Q.60)


Q22. “System of Rice Intensification” of cultivation, in which alternate wetting and drying of rice fields is practiced, results in

1. Reduced seed requirement

2. Reduced methane production

3. Reduced electricity consumption

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

  • Explanation: All the statements are correct.
  • In SRI paddy cultivation, less quantity of seeds – 2 kg / acre is required. Hence fewer plants per unit area (25 x 25 cm) whereas in mainstream chemical intensive paddy cultivation requires 20 kg seed per acre.
  • The management methods of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), by creating aerobic soil conditions through shallow and intermittent irrigation or alternate wetting and drying (AWD), bring about mostly aerobic soil conditions that sharply reduce methane emissions. Research has shown that intermittent paddy irrigation by SRI or AWD reduced methane emissions by between 22% and 64%.
  • As SRI reduces water requirement, electricity consumption for irrigation also reduces.

Source:


Q23. Which one of the following lakes of West Africa has become dry and turned into a desert?

(a) Lake Victoria

(b) Lake Faguibine

(c) Lake Oguta

(d) Lake Volta

Ans- (b)

Explanation: https://www.britannica.com/place/Lake-Faguibine


Q24. Gandikota canyon of South India was created by which one of the following rivers?

(a) Cauvery

(b) Manjira

(c) Pennar

(d) Tungabhadra

Ans: (c)

https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/what-2021-holds-for-bikers/article33472618.ece


Q25. Consider the following pairs:

Peak                               Mountains

1. Namcha Barwa — Garhwal Himalaya

2. Nanda Devi —        Kumaon Himalaya

3. Nokrek —                Sikkim Himalaya

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 3 only

Ans- (b)

Explanation- Namcha Barwa is in North Eastern India whereas Garhwal Himalaya is in Uttarakhand.

Nanda Devi is in Kumaon Himalaya.

Nokrek is in Megalaya.

Source: B08, Indian Geography, Q.92


Q26. The term “Levant” often heard in the news roughly corresponds to which of the following regions?

(a) Region along the eastern Mediterranean shores

(b) Region along North African shores stretching from Egypt to Morocco

(c) Region along Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa 

(d) The entire coastal areas of Mediterranean Sea

Ans- (a)

Explanation:

The Levant is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia. In its narrowest sense, which is in use today in archaeology and other cultural contexts, it is equivalent to a stretch of land bordering the Mediterranean in southwestern Asia, i.e. the historical region of Syria (“greater Syria”), which includes present-day Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and most of Turkey southwest of the middle Euphrates. Its overwhelming characteristic is that it represents the land bridge between Africa and Eurasia.

The Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia is collectively called as Levant Region. Levant stands for L in the erstwhile ISIL (now ISIS).

Source: August 2021 CA Test


Q27. Consider the following countries:

1. Azerbaijan

2. Kyrgyzstan

3. Tajikistan

4. Turkmenistan

5. Uzbekistan

Which of the above have borders with Afghanistan?

(a) 1, 2 and 5 only

(b) 1, 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 3, 4 and 5 only

(d) 1,2,3,4 and 5

Source: September 2021 CA Test, Q.37


Q28. With reference to India, consider the following statements:

1. Monazite is a source of rare earth.

2. Monazite contains thorium.

3. Monazite occurs naturally in the entire Indian coastal sands in India.

4, In India, Government bodies only can process or export monazite.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 1, 2 and 4 only

(c) 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans- (b)

  • Exp- Monazite is a reddish-brown phosphate mineral containing rare earth metals. Hence statement 1 is correct
  • Monazite is one of the beach sand minerals that contains rare earths like, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium etc. It also contains thorium which is a “prescribed substance”, the list of which was revised in 2006 under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962. Hence statement 2 is correct
  • Hence statement 3 is wrong
  • A licence from the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) under the Atomic Energy (Working of the Mines. Minerals and Handling of Prescribed Substances) Rules 1984 promulgated under the Atomic Energy Act 1962 is necessary for exporting monazite. DAE has not issued any licence to any private entity either for production of monazite, or for its downstream processing for extracting thorium, or the export of either monazite or thorium. Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL), a wholly owned Public Sector Undertaking of the Government of India (GOI) under DAE, is the only entity that has been permitted to produce and process monazite and handle it for domestic use as well as for export.  Hence statement 4 is correct

Q29. In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year normally occurs in the:

(a)First half of the month of June

(b)Second half of the month of June

(c)First half of the month of July

(d)Second half of the month of July

Ans- (b)

  • Explanation- The longest day of 2021 for those living north of the Equator is June 21. In technical terms, this day is referred to as the summer solstice, the longest day of the summer season. It occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, or more specifically right over 23.5 degree north latitude.
  • During the solstice, the Earth’s axis — around which the planet spins, completing one turn each day — is tilted in a way that the North Pole is tipped towards the sun and the South Pole is away from it.
  • This day is characterised by a greater amount of energy received from the sun. According to NASA, the amount of incoming energy the Earth received from the sun on this day is 30 per cent higher at the North Pole than at the Equator.
  • The maximum amount of sunlight received by the Northern Hemisphere during this time is usually on June 20, 21 or 22. In contrast, the Southern Hemisphere receives most sunlight on December 21, 22 or 23 when the northern hemisphere has its longest nights– or the winter solstice.
  • Source- Class 11 Geography NCERT

Q30. Consider the following pairs :

Wetland /Lake                                Location

1. Punjab                                 Hokera Wetland

2. Himachal                             Renuka Wetland

3. Tripura                                 Rudrasagar Lake —

4. Tamil Nadu                         Sasthamkotta Lake 

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs

Ans- (b)

Exp- Hokera Wetland is in Zainakote near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, India. Sasthamkotta Lake which is known as the Queen of Lakes is located 29 km from Kollam, Kerala. It is the largest freshwater lake in Kerala

Source: December 2021, Q.71


Q31. Consider the following:

  1. Aarogya Setu
  2. COWIN
  3. DigiLocker
  4. DIKSHA

Which of the above are built on top of open-source digital platforms?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: (d)

What is an Open Source Platform?

  • An open source platform is any platform that allows access to its source code to any other users or developers. An open source platform is one aspect of a wide availability of open source products. In contrast with closed source software, which is a type of proprietary software that reserves rights only to authorized individuals, open source software aims to allow equal access to anyone and everyone.

Aarogya Setu

·         Aarogya Setu is an Indian COVID–19 “contact tracing, syndromic mapping and self-assessment” digital service, primarily a mobile app, developed by the National Informatics Centre under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

·         With nearly 200 million users, the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app is a readily available package for developers: PM

CoWIN

  • CoWIN is an Indian government web portal for COVID-19 vaccination registration, owned and operated by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • The CoWin platform is being made open source and it will be available to any and all countries, Prime Minister Modi said, addressing the CoWin Global Conclave here on Monday.

Digilocker

  • DigiLocker is an initiative by the government to offer Indian citizens a free platform to store and access important documents. The platform uses several open source technologies to deliver a mass solution and contributes back to the ever-growing community.

DIKSHA

  • DIKSHA is built on open source technology, made in India and made for India, which incorporates internet scale technologies and enables several use-cases and solutions for teaching and learning. DIKSHA is built using MIT licensed open source technology called Sunbird, which is a digital infrastructure for learning and is designed to support multiple languages and solutions and offers over a 100 micro services as building blocks for the development of platforms and solutions.

Source: CA question from 2020




https://www.civilsdaily.com/news/aarogya-setu-app-is-now-open-source/

Q32. With reference to Web 3.0, consider the following statements :

  1. Web 3.0 technology enables people to control their own data.
  2. In Web 3.0 world, there can be blockchain based social networks.,
  3. Web 3.0 is operated by users collectively rather than a corporation.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  • 1 and 2 only
  • 2 and 3 only
  • 1 and 3 only
  • 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Explanation:

  • Web 3.0 is highly decentralized, driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence, and leverages blockchain technology. The result is real-world human communication. Users retain control over their data and content, and they can sell or trade their data without losing ownership, risking privacy or relying on intermediaries. In this business model, users can log into a website without having their internet identity tracked.
  • Key to the innovation in Web 3.0 is the digitization of assets via tokenization. Tokenization converts assets and rights into a digital representation, or token, on a blockchain network. Cryptocurrency and fungible tokens are forms of digital currency that can easily be exchanged across networks, driving a new business model that democratizes finance and commerce. Non fungible tokens (NFTs) are units of data that represent unique assets such as avatars, digital art, or trading cards, that can be owned by users and monetized for their own gain.
  • It’s relatively easy to identify the major differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. With the former, users passively consult web pages and, generally, do not generate their own content. With the latter, users generate content and interact with sites (and each other) through social media platforms, forums and more. With the Web 3.0 generation of the internet, the differences are not as clearly defined.
  • The term Web 3.0, coined by reporter John Markoff of The New York Times in 2006, refers to a new evolution of the Web which includes specific innovations and practices. Below are eight main features that can help us define Web 3.0:
  • Semantic Web: The next evolution of the Web involves the Semantic Web. The Semantic Web improves the abilities of web technologies to generate, share and connect content through search and analysis by understanding the meaning of words rather than by keywords or numbers.
  • Artificial Intelligence: By combining semantic capabilities with natural language processing, computers can understand information on a human-like level to provide faster and more relevant results. In doing so, they become more intelligent and better satisfy the needs of users.
  • 3D Graphics: Three-dimensional design is used extensively in websites and services in Web 3.0. Museum guides, computer games, eCommerce, geospatial contexts and more are all common examples of this.
  • Connectivity: With Web 3.0, information is more connected thanks to semantic metadata. As a result, the user experience evolves into a new level of connectivity that leverages all available information.
  • Ubiquity: Internet content and services can be accessed anywhere at any time via any number of devices, rather than exclusively via computers and smartphones. Web 2.0 is already ubiquitous in many ways, but the growth of IoT devices will take it to new levels.
  • Blockchain: With blockchain technology, user data is protected and encrypted. This prevents large companies from controlling and/or using users’ personal data for their gain.
  • Decentralized: Decentralized data networks store data within a peer-to-peer interconnection. Users maintain ownership over their data and digital assets and are able to log in securely over the internet without being tracked.
  • Edge Computing: Web 3.0 relies on the advance of edge computing in which apps and data are processed at the network edge on devices such as mobile phones, laptops, appliances, sensors and even smart cars.

Q33. With reference to “Software as a Service (SaaS)”, consider the following statements:

  1. SaaS buyers can customize the user interface and can change data fields.
  2. SaaS users can access their data through their mobile devices.
  3. Outlook, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail are forms of SaaS.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

What Is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)?

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software licensing model in which access to the software is provided on a subscription basis, with the software being located on external servers rather than on servers located in-house.
  • Software-as-a-Service is typically accessed through a web browser, with users logging into the system using a username and password. Instead of each user having to install the software on their computer, the user is able to access the program via the Internet.

Key Takeaways

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software licensing model, which allows access to software a subscription basis using external servers.
  • SaaS allows each user to access programs via the Internet, instead of having to install the software on the user’s computer.
  • SaaS has many business applications, including file sharing, email, calendars, customer retention management, and human resources. As Outlook, Hotmail and Yahoo mail is your email system they are part of SaaS.
  • SaaS is easy to implement, easy to update and debug, and can be less expensive (or at least have lower up-front costs) since users pay for SaaS as they go instead of purchasing multiple software licenses for multiple computers.
  • Drawbacks to the adoption of SaaS center around data security, speed of delivery, and lack of control.

Source:


Q34. Which one of the following statements best reflects the idea behind the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System” often talked about in media?

(a) A hypersonic missile is launched into space to counter the asteroid approaching the Earth and explode it in space.

(b) A spacecraft lands on another planet after making several orbital motions.

(c) A missile is put into a stable orbit around the Earth and deorbits over a target on the Earth.

(d) A spacecraft moves along a comet with the same speed and places a probe on its surface.

Ans: (c)

Explanation:

  • Fractional orbital Bombardment system is a warhead put into a stable orbit and it deorbits over the target. If the target and the launch position is lined up and the warhead keeps going round, it will complete a circle.Obviously, with the earth moving during this, it is more of a spiral than a ring, but the horizontal movement is countered in such a way that the warhead still goes over the target.

Q35. Which one of the following is the context in – which the term “qubit” is mentioned ?

(a) Cloud Services

(b) Quantum Computing

(c) Visible Light Communication Technologies

(d) Wireless Communication Technologies

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

  • A qubit (or quantum bit) is the quantum mechanical analogue of a classical bit. In classical computing the information is encoded in bits, where each bit can have the value zero or one. In quantum computing the information is encoded in qubits. A qubit is a two-level quantum system where the two basis qubit states are usually written as
  • ∣0⟩∣0⟩ and ∣1⟩∣1⟩. A qubit can be in state ∣0⟩∣0⟩, ∣1⟩∣1⟩ or (unlike a classical bit) in a linear combination of both states. The name of this phenomenon is superposition.

Source: August CA Test 2021, Q.83


Q36. Consider the following communication technologies:

1. Closed-circuit Television

2. Radio Frequency Identification

3. Wireless Local Area Network

Which of the above are considered Short-Range devices/technologies ?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Explanation:

Closed-circuit television

  • CCTV stands for closed-circuit television and is commonly known as video surveillance. “Closed-circuit” means broadcasts are usually transmitted to a limited (closed) number of monitors, unlike “regular” TV, which is broadcast to the public at large. CCTV networks are commonly used to detect and deter criminal activities, and record traffic infractions, but they have other uses.
  • CCTV technology was first developed in 1942 by German scientists to monitor the launch of V2 rockets. It was later used by American scientists during the testing of the atomic bomb.

Radio frequency identification

  • A radio frequency identification reader (RFID reader) is a device used to gather information from an RFID tag, which is used to track individual objects. Radio waves are used to transfer data from the tag to a reader.
  • RFID is a technology similar in theory to bar codes. However, the RFID tag does not have to be scanned directly, nor does it require line-of-sight to a reader. The RFID tag it must be within the range of an RFID reader, which ranges from 3 to 300 feet, in order to be read. RFID technology allows several items to be quickly scanned and enables fast identification of a particular product, even when it is surrounded by several other items.

Wireless Local area Network

  • The finalization of industry standards, and the corresponding release of WLAN products by leading manufacturers, has sparked the implementation of WLAN solutions in many market segments, including small office/home office (SOHO), large corporations, manufacturing plants, and public hotspots such as airports, convention centers, hotels, and even coffee shops.
  • In some instances WLAN technology is used to save costs and avoid laying cable, while in other cases it is the only option for providing high-speed Internet access to the public. Whatever the reason, WLAN solutions are popping up everywhere.
  • To address this growing demand, traditional networking companies, as well as new players to the market, have released a variety of WLAN products. These products typically implement one of the many WLAN standards, although dual-mode products that support multiple standards are starting to emerge as well. When evaluating these products, some key areas should be considered, including:
  • Range/coverage. The range for WLAN products is anywhere from 50 meters to 150 meters.

Sources: Short-range-wireless-communication-technology-and-its-variants

  • Short Range Devices (SRD) are radio devices that offer a low risk of interference with other radio services, usually because their transmitted power, and hence their range, is low. The definition ‘Short Range Device’ may be applied to many different types of wireless equipment, including various forms of:
    • Access control (including door and gate openers)
    • Alarms and movement detectors
    • Closed-circuit television (CCTV)
    • Cordless audio devices, including wireless microphones
    • Industrial control
    • Local Area Networks
    • Medical implants
    • Metering devices
    • Remote control
    • Radio frequency identification (RFID)
    • Road Transport Telematics
    • Telemetry.

Source: short-range-devices


Q37. Consider the following statements :

1. Biofilms can form on medical implants within human tissues.

2. Biofilms can form on food and food processing surfaces.

3. Biofilms can exhibit antibiotic resistance.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d)

Explanation:

  • A biofilm is an assemblage of microbial cells that is irreversibly associated (not removed by gentle rinsing) with a surface and enclosed in a matrix of primarily polysaccharide material. Noncellular materials such as mineral crystals, corrosion particles, clay or silt particles, or blood components, depending on the environment in which the biofilm has developed, may also be found in the biofilm matrix.
  • Biofilms may form on a wide variety of surfaces, including living tissues, indwelling medical devices, industrial or potable water system piping, or natural aquatic systems.
  • Biofilms are composed primarily of microbial cells and EPS.
  • EPS also contribute to the antimicrobial resistance properties of biofilms by impeding the mass transport of antibiotics through the biofilm, probably by binding directly to these agents.
  • Biofilms can form on food and food processing surfaces.
  • food industry biofilms associated with health issues in dairy products, ready-to-eat foods and other food matrixes.

Q38. Consider the following statements in respect of probiotics:

  1. Probiotics are made of both bacteria and yeast.
  2. The organisms in probiotics are found in foods we ingest but they do not naturally occur in our gut.
  3. Probiotics help in the digestion of milk sugars.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 2 and 3

Answer: (c)

Explanation:

  • Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in your body.
  • Though the most common place linked to beneficial microbes is your gut (mostly large intestines), you have several locations in and on your body that host good microbes. These locations are in contact with the “outside world” and include your:
    • Gut.
    • Mouth.
    • Vagina.
    • Urinary tract.
    • Skin.
    • Lungs.
  • Though there are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics, there are two specific types of bacteria that are common probiotics found in stores. These include:
    • Lactobacillus.
    • Bifidobacterium.
  • Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:
    • Saccharomyces boulardii.
  • Lactobacillus can also help the body metabolise and break down lactose, the natural sugar found in dairy foods.


Q39. In the context of vaccines manufactured to prevent COVID-19 pandemic, consider the following statements :

1. The Serum Institute of India produced COVID-19 vaccine named Covishield using mRNA platform.

 2. Sputnik V vaccine is manufactured using vector based platform.

3. COVAXIN is an inactivated pathogen ve based vaccine.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

What kind of vaccine is COVISHIELDTM?

  • It is a recombinant, replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vector encoding the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein. Following administration, the genetic material of part of corona virus is expressed which stimulates an immune response.

Source: health_faq_covishield.php

  • Sputnik V is the world’s first registered vaccine based on a well-studied human adenovirus vector platform. It has been approved for use in 71 countries with a total population of 4 billion people.

Source: about-vaccine

  • Covaxin

○       What technology has been used in development of the currently available two vaccines in India?

  • Covishield® vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, is a Viral Vector-based Technology which is also used to manufacture Ebola vaccine.
  • Covaxin® vaccine, manufactured by the Bharat Biotech, is a Whole-virion Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccine which is also used to manufacture vaccines like Influenza, Rabies and Hepatitis- A.

Source: faqs.html

Source: FLT 6, Q.88


Q40. If a major solar storm (solar-flare) reaches the Earth, which of the following are the possible effects on the Earth?

1. GPS and navigation systems could fail.

2. Tsunamis could occur at equatorial regions.

3. Power grids could be damaged.

4. Intense auroras ‘could occur over much of the Earth.

5. Forest fires could take place over much of the planet.

6. Orbits of the satellites could be disturbed.

7. Shortwave radio communication of the aircraft flying over polar regions could be interrupted

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2, 4 and 5 only

(b) 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 only

(c) 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Ans: (c)

Explanation:

  • A massive solar flare erupted from the Sun’s surface, disrupting radio waves, telecommunication networks, and power systems by triggering an intense magnetic storm.

So, 1, 3 and 7 are correct.

What are the causes of tsunamis?

1. Earthquakes

All earthquakes do not cause tsunamis. There are four conditions necessary for an earthquake to cause a tsunami:

  1. The earthquake must occur beneath the ocean or cause the material to slide into the ocean.
  2. The earthquake must be strong, at least magnitude6.5 on the Richter Scale
  3. The earthquake must rupture the Earth’s surface and it must occur at shallow depth – less than 70km below the surface of the Earth.
  4. The earthquake must cause vertical movement of the seafloor (up to several

2. Landslides

  • A landslide that occurs along the coast can force large amounts of water into the sea, disturbing the water and generate a tsunami. Underwater landslides can also result in tsunamis when the material loosened by the landslide moves violently, pushing the water in front of it.

3. Volcanic Eruption

  • Although relatively infrequent, violent volcanic eruptions represent also impulsive disturbances, which can displace a great volume of water and generate extremely destructive tsunami waves in the immediate source area. According to this mechanism, waves may be generated by the sudden displacement of water caused by a volcanic explosion, by a volcanos slope failure, or more likely by a phreatomagmatic explosion and collapse/engulfment of the volcanic magmatic chambers.

4. Extraterrestrial Collision

  • Tsunamis caused by extraterrestrial collision (i.e. asteroids, meteors) are an extremely rare occurrence. Although no meteor/asteroid induced tsunami has been recorded in recent history, scientists realize that if these celestial bodies should strike the ocean, a large volume of water would undoubtedly be displaced to cause a tsunami.

Hence, 2 is wrong.

Source: September 2021 CA Test , Q.7


Q41. “Climate Action Tracker” which monitors the emission reduction pledges of different countries is a:

(a) Database created by coalition of research organizations

(b) Wing of “International Panel of Climate Change”

(c)Committee under “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”

(d) Agency promoted and financed by United Nations Environment Programme and World Bank

Ans: (a)

Explanation:

  • The Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis that tracks government climate action and measures it against the globally agreed Paris Agreement aim of “holding warming well below 2°C, and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C.” A collaboration of two organisations, Climate Analytics and NewClimate Institute, the CAT has been providing this independent analysis to policymakers since 2009.
  • CAT quantifies and evaluates climate change mitigation targets, policies and action. It also aggregates country action to the global level, determining likely temperature increases during the 21st century using the MAGICC climate model. CAT further develops sectoral analysis to illustrate required pathways for meeting the global temperature goals.

Q42. Consider the following statements:

1. “The Climate Group” is an international non-profit organization that drives climate action by building large so networks and runs them.

2. The International Energy Agency in partnership with the Climate Group launched a global initiative “EP100”.

3. EP100 brings together leading companies committed to driving innovation in energy efficiency and increasing competitiveness while delivering on emission reduction goals.

4. Some Indian companies are members of EP100.

5. The International Energy Agency is the Secretariat to the “Under2 Coalition”.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 2, 4 and 5

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans: (b)

Under 2 Coalition is a repeated question from CSP 2020.

Explanation:

  • Climate group an international non-profit founded in 2003, with offices in London, New York, New Delhi, Amsterdam and Beijing.
  • In that time, it has grown our network to include over 500 multinational businesses in 175 markets worldwide. The Under2 Coalition, for which we are the Secretariat, is made up of over 260 governments globally, representing 1.75 billion people and 50% of the global economy.

Source: about-us

  • So, 1 is correct and 5 is wrong
  • The Climate Group’s global EP100 initiative in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy brings together a growing group of energy-smart companies committed to using energy more productively, to lower greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate a clean economy.
  • EP100
  • Mahindra and Mahindra is part of EP 100.

Q43. “If rainforests and tropical forests are the lungs of the Earth, then surely wetlands function as its kidneys.” Which one of the following functions of wetlands best reflects the above statement ?

(a) The water cycle in wetlands involves surface runoff, subsoil percolation and evaporation.

(b) Algae form the nutrient base upon which fish, crustaceans, molluscs, birds, reptiles and mammals thrive.

(c) Wetlands play a vital role in maintaining sedimentation and balance soil stabilization.

(d) Aquatic plants absorb heavy metals and excess nutrients.

Answer: (d)

Explanation:

  • Your kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys also remove acid that is produced by the cells of your body and maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals—such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium—in your blood.
  • Hence the D option matches the most.

Q44. In the context of WHO Air Quality Guidelines, consider the following statements :

  1. The 24-hour mean of PM2.5 should not exceed 15 ug/m2 and annual mean of PM2.should not exceed 5 ug/m3.
  2. In a year, the highest levels of ozone pollution occur during the periods of inclement weather.
  3. PM10 can penetrate the lung barrier and enter the bloodstream.
  4. Excessive ozone in the air can trigger asthma.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1, 3 and 4

(b) 1 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4

(d) 1 and 2 only

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

  • The updated guidelines state that annual average concentrations of PM2.5 should not exceed 5 µg/m3, while 24-hour average exposures should not exceed 15 µg/m3 more than 3 – 4 days per year.

WHO-Air-Quality-Guidelines

  • So 1 is correct.
  • The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Fine particles (PM2.5) pose the greatest health risk. These fine particles can get deep into lungs and some may even get into the bloodstream. Exposure to these particles can affect a person’s lungs and heart. Coarse particles (PM10-2.5) are of less concern, although they can irritate a person’s eyes, nose, and throat.
  • So 3 is wrong.

Depending on the level of exposure, ozone can:

  • Cause coughing and sore or scratchy throat.
  • Make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously and cause pain when taking a deep breath.
  • Inflame and damage the airways.
  • Make the lungs more susceptible to infection.
  • Aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.
  • Increase the frequency of asthma attacks.

4 is right.


Q45. With reference to “Gucchi” sometimes mentioned in the news, consider the following statements:

1. It.is a fungus.

2. It grows in some Himalayan forest areas.

3. It is commercially cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of north-eastern India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 2

(d) 2 and 3

Ans: (c)

Explanation:

  • Guchhi mushroom is a species of fungus in the family Morchellaceae of the Ascomycota. They are pale yellow in colour with large pits and ridges on the surface of the cap, raised on a large white stem.
  • The mushrooms cannot be cultivated commercially and grow in conifer forests across temperature regions, and the foothills in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and Jammu and Kashmir. And it takes months for villagers to collect enough of these mushrooms, dry them and bring them to the market.           

Q.46. With reference to polyethylene Terephthalate, the use of which is so widespread in our daily lives, consider the following statements :

1. Its fibres can be blended with wool and cotton fibres to reinforce their properties.

2. Containers made of it can be used to store any alcoholic beverage.

3. Bottles made of it can be recycled into other products.

4. Articles made it can be easily disposed of by incineration without causing greenhouse gee missions.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3

(b) 2 and 4

(c) 1 and 4

(d) 2 and 3

Ans: (a)

Explanation

  • They are often used in durable-press blends with other fibres such as rayon, wool, and cotton, reinforcing the inherent properties of those fibres while contributing to the ability state govt bans it and says its harmful
  • PET is completely recyclable, and is the most recycled plastic in the U.S and worldwide. More than 1.5 billion pounds of used PET bottles and containers are recovered in the United States each year for recycling.
  • The burning of plastics releases toxic gases like dioxins, furans, mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (better known as BCPs) into the atmosphere, and poses a threat to vegetation, and human and animal health.

Source)

Statement 2 is incorrect because.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/paper-/-wood-/-glass/-plastic/-marbles/plastic-industry-opposes-ban-on-alcohol-sale-in-pet-bottles/articleshow/50957939.cms

Statement 4 is incorrect because:

https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/gc/d0gc01613f


Q.47 Which of the following is not a bird?

(a) Golden Mahseer

(b) Indian Nightjar.

(c) Spoonbill

(d) White Ibis

Ans: (a)

Explanation:

  • Golden Mahseer roughly translates as mahi – fish and sher – tiger, and hence is also referred as tiger among fish.
  • It is a large cyprinid and known to be the toughest among the fresh water sport fish.
  • The body colour of an adult Golden Mahseer is golden on dorsal side and fins are reddish-yellow.
  • Also the fish is characterized by their large scales and thick powerful lips with relatively longer barbels (sensory hair-like organs in front of the mouth).
  • Golden Mahseer lives in fast-moving waters, inhabiting hill streams with a rocky and stony substrate.
  • They can be found in temperatures between 5°C and 25°C.

Source:


Q.48 Which of the following are nitrogen-fixing plants?

1. Alfalfa

2. Amaranth

3. Chickpea

4. Clover

5. Purslane (Kulfa)

6. Spinach

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1,3 and 4 only

(b) 1, 3, 5 and 6 only

(c) 2, 4, 5 and 6 only

(d) 1,2,4,5 and 6

Ans: (a) (doubtful)

Explanation:

  1. Alfalfa: Alfalfa fixes more nitrogen than any legume crop. In fact, a stand can fix as much as 300 pounds of N per acre per year. It uses much of this nitrogen to produce protein in the plant, which growers can harvest and feed to livestock.
  2. Amaranth: Nutrient-poor soils coupled with micronutrient deficiency among many rural resource-poor communities remain a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. Nutrient-poor soils can be managed through various soil amendment or fertilisation strategies. Micronutrients can be supplied through plants. The study was aimed at determining the symbiotic nitrogen fixation of cowpea as well as the contribution of inter-cropping under varying levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) fertilisation.
  3. Chickpea: Chickpea and faba bean provide many benefits in northern cropping rotations, including the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen (N2), resulting in more soil N for following cereal crops. The amount of nitrogen fixed is determined by how well the pulse crop grows and the level of nitrate in the soil at planting.
  4. Clover: Nitrogen fixation is one of many economically important features of clover, particularly when clover represents a substantial proportion of available forage. A vigorous stand of white clover will fix 100-150 pounds of nitrogen per year depending on soil and growing conditions
  5. Purslane (Kulfa): Purslane is known for its phytochemicals such as alkaloids, flavonoids, catecholamines and carotenoids. Results showed no influence of nitrogen treatment concentration on purslane shoot tissue fresh weight accumulation.
  6. Spinach: Does not have any role in nitrogen fixation.

Source) https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/10/4/565


Q.49 “Biorock technology” is talked about in which one of the following situations

(a) Restoration of damaged coral reefs

(b) Development of building materials using plant residues

(c) Identification of areas for exploration/extraction of shale gas

(d) Providing salt licks for wild animals in forests/protected areas

Ans: (a)

Explanation: The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), with help from Gujarat’s forest department, is attempting for the first time a process to restore coral reefs using biorock or mineral accretion technology.

Mineral Accretion Technology:

  • Also called ‘Biorock Technology’, it is a method that applies safe, low voltage electrical currents through seawater, causing dissolved minerals to crystallize on structures, growing into a white limestone (CaCo3) similar to that which naturally makes up coral reefs and tropical white sand beaches.
  • Biorock, also known as Seacrete or Seament, refers to the substance formed by electro-accumulation of minerals dissolved in seawater.
  • The formed material has a strength similar to concrete. It can be used to make robust artificial reefs on which corals grow at very rapid rates.
  • Fragments of broken corals are tied to the biorock structure, where they are able to grow at least four to six times faster than their actual growth as they need not spend their energy in building their own calcium carbonate skeletons.
  • The technology also helps corals, including the highly sensitive branching corals, to counter the threats posed by global warming.

Source:

Biorock technique for Coral Restoration


Q.50 The “Miyawaki method” is well known for

(a) Promotion of commercial farming in arid and semiarid areas

(b) Development of gardens using genetically modified flora

(c) Creation of mini forests in urban areas

(d) Harvesting wind energy on coastal areas and on sea surfaces

Ans: (c)

Explanation

  • Miyawaki method is a method of urban afforestation by turning backyards into mini-forests.
  • It includes planting trees as close as possible in the same area which not only saves space, but the planted saplings also support each other in growth and block sunlight from reaching the ground, thereby preventing the growth of weed.
  • Thus the saplings become maintenance-free (self-sustainable) after the first three years.
  • It helps to create a forest in just 20 to 30 years while through conventional methods it takes anywhere between 200 to 300 years.

Source:


Q.51 In the Government of India Act 1919, the functions of provincial government were divided into “Reserved” and “Transferred” subjects. Which of the following were treated as Reserved subjects?

  1. Administration ofJustice
  2. Local Self-Government
  3. Land Revenue
  4. Police

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2, 3 and 4

(c) 1, 3 and 4

(d) 1, 2 and 4 

Ans: (c)

Explanation: The reserved subjects came under the heading of law and order and included justice, the police, land revenue, and irrigation. The transferred subjects (i.e., those under the control of Indian ministers) included local self-government, education, public health, public works, and agriculture, forests, and fisheries.

Source: B08, Q.3


Q.52 In medieval India, the term “Fanam” referred

(a) Clothing

(b) Coins

(c) Ornaments

(d) Weapons

Ans: (b)

Explanation: In this country , they have three kinds of money , made of gold mixed with alloy; one called varahab, weight about one mithkal, equivalent to two dinars; lopeki,the second which is called, which is called pertab, is the half of the thirst; the third called fanam, is equivalent in value to the tenth part of the last mentioned coin. Of these different coins the fanam is the most useful. They cast in pure silver a coin which is the sixth of the fanam, which they call tar. This latter is also very useful coin in currency. A copper coin with the third of a tar is called dijitel. According to the practice adopted in this empire, all the provinces at a fixed period, bring their gold to the mint.

If any man receives from the divan an allowance in gold, he was to be paid by the darabkhana”.

Source) https://ddceutkal.ac.in/Syllabus/MA_history/Paper_13.pdf

Civilsdaily Listicles

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/e/2PACX-1vSkHFHRtlTNooctjPWI8GOpde-fFhr6MKz8idRarPL0QGDkWgbN9RQyAZJNYQw54sOeMx29wXZE7yn7/pubhtml?gid=579201995&single=true

Q.53 Consider the following freedom fighters:

1. Barindra Kumar Ghosh

2. Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee

3. Rash Behari Bose

Who of the above was/were actively associated with the Ghadar Party?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 3 only

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

  1. Barindra Kumar Ghosh:
  2. Barindra Kumar Ghosh, the younger brother of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, was an Indian revolutionary and journalist. Being born in England, he received education in Deoghar and military training from Baroda. He was highly influenced by Aurobindo and thus, joined the revolutionary movement. He was actively associated with Jatindra Nath Banerjee (a prominent freedom fighter, also known as Niralamba Swami).
  3. In the year 1906, Barindra Kumar published the Bengali weekly Jugantar. Later, the secret revolutionary arm Jugantar was formed under the guise of a fitness club in Bengal. He, along with Jatindranath Mukherjee (or Bagha Jatin), was instrumental in recruiting young revolutionaries. Maniktala, Kolkata, emerged as a secret place where the revolutionaries used to manufacture bombs, and collected arms and ammunition.
  4. In the intensive police investigation following the murder attempt of Magistrate Douglas Kingsford (1908), Barindra and Aurobindo were arrested on 2nd May 1908 along with other freedom fighters. In the Alipore Bomb Case, Barindra Ghosh and Ullaskar Dutta (a member of the Jugantar party) were sentenced to death. With the intervention of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment. In 1909, Barindra Kumar was deported to the Cellular Jail, Andaman. Upon his release from jail, Barindra began his journalistic career and became associated with Dainik Basumati and the Statesman.
  1. Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee: Jogesh Chatterjee was born in 1895 and initially joined Anushilan Samiti of Bengal, later he became part of the Hindustan Republican Association/ Army (HRA). He remained imprisoned. The members of the HRA once planned to free him but the plan failed. Later he joined Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and remained with it till 1953. He became a Rajya Sabha member from the Congress party in 1956 and died as MP on 2 April 1960. His two books are well known, viz. his autobiography, In Search of Freedom and Indian Revolutionaries in Conference.
  2. Rash Behari Bose: Rash Behari Bose was born in Bardhawan, West Bengal. Although he was more interested in revolutionary activities, he earned a degree in medical science and engineering.
    • Bose learned the tricks of making crude bombs even before he had passed matriculation.
    • His sacrifices and organisational skills formed a big part in India’s struggle for independence.
    • He was one of the key organisers of Ghadar revolution that aimed to attack the British army from the inside. It helped in activating an uprising in India. He also played a crucial role in organising the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj).
    • To activate the Indian independence struggle in abroad, he, along with A M Nair, persuaded the Japanese authorities to support and stand by the Indian nationalists.
    • He performed a key role in establishing the Indian Independence League.
    • He attempted to assassinate Lord Hardinge by throwing a bomb at his parade in Delhi on December 23, 1912.
    • He escaped the arrest but several of his confidants were arrested and hanged for the famous Lahore Conspiracy Case.
    • Rash Behari Bose escaped from India in 1915 and lived in Japan as an escapee. In 1943, he handed over the charge of Azad Hind Fauj to Subhas Chandra Bose.
    • The Japanese government had honoured him with the ‘Order of the Rising Sun’

Source) https://amritmahotsav.nic.in/unsung-heroes-detail.htm?91

Option 3 can be eliminated.


Q.54 With reference to the proposals of Cripps Mission, consider the following statements:

  1. The Constituent Assembly would have members nominated by the Provincial Assemblies as well as the Princely States.
  2. Any Province, which is not prepared to accept the new Constitution would have the right to sign a separate agreement with Britain regarding its future status.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

Proposals of Cripps Mission:

  • Setting up of an Indian dominion. This dominion would have the freedom to remain with the British Commonwealth or to secede from it. It would also be at liberty to take part in international organisations.
  • A Constituent Assembly would be formed to frame a new constitution for the country. This Assembly would have members elected by the provincial assemblies and also nominated by the princes. Hence, Statement 1 is incorrect.
  • Any province unwilling to join the Indian dominion could form a separate union and have a separate constitution.
  • The transfer of power and the rights of minorities would be safeguarded by negotiations between the Constituent Assembly and the British government.
  • In the meantime, until this new constitution came into force, India’s defence would be controlled by the British and the powers of the Governor-General would remain unaltered.

Source: History Basics Test, B04, Q.38


Q.55) With reference to Indian history, consider the following texts:

1. Nettipakarana

2. Parishishtaparvan

3. Avadanashataka

4. Trishashtilakshana Mahapurana

Which of the above are Jaina texts?

(a) 1, 2 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 2, 3 and 4 only

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

  • Nettipakaraṇa is related to Buddhism’s Pali Canon. Hence, option 1 is incorrect.
  • The Parishishtaparvan also known as the Sthaviravalicharitra is a 12th-century Sanskrit mahakavya by Hemachandra which details the histories of the earliest Jain teachers. Hence, option 2 is correct.
  • The Avadānaśataka or “Century of Noble Deeds” is an anthology in Sanskrit which contains some collection of Buddhist narratives compiled from the second to fifth centuries CE. Hence, option 3 is incorrect.
  • Mahapurana (महापुराण) or Trishashthilkshana Mahapurana is a major Jain text composed largely by Acharya Jinasena during the rule of Rashtrakuta. Hence, option 4 is correct.

Q.56) With reference to Indian history, consider the following pairs:

Historical person-Known as

1. Aryadeva – Jaina scholar

2. Dignaga – Buddhist scholar

3. Nathamuni – Vaishnava scholar

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) None of the pairs

(b) Only one pair

(c) Only two pairs

(d) All three pairs

Ans: (c)

Explanation:

  • Āryadeva, was a Mahayana Buddhist monk, a disciple of Nagarjuna and a Madhyamaka philosopher. Hence, pair 1 is incorrectly matched.
  • Dignāga was an Indian Buddhist scholar. Hence, pair 2 is correctly matched.
  • Sri Ranganathamuni, popularly known as Sriman Nathamuni, was a Vaishnava theologian who collected and compiled the Nalayira Divya Prabandham. Hence, pair 3 is correctly matched.

Q. 57 With reference to Indian history, consider the following statements:

  1. The first Mongol invasion of India happened during the reign of Jalal-ud-din Khalji.
  2. During the reign of Ala-ud-din Khalji, one Mongol assault marched up to Delhi and besieged the city.
  3. Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq temporarily lost portions of north-west of his kingdom to Mongols.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 3 only

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect: Chengez Khan invaded India during the reign of Iltumish for the first time. He was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire.
  • Statement 2 is correct: During the reign of Ala-ud-din Khalji, one of the Mongol invasion reached till the outskirts of Delhi city and besieged it.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect: Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq defeated the Mongols and he had not lost any of the portions of his kingdom to them.

Source: The Mongols and Delhi Sultanate- Satish Chandra, Medieval India NCERT, Class 11.

Q.58. With reference to Indian history, who of the following were known as “Kulah-Daran”?

(a) Arab merchants

(b) Qalandars

(c) Persian calligraphists

(d) Sayyids

Ans: (d)

Explanation:

  • The Sayyids were claimed to descent from the Prophet through his daughter Fatima. They Commanded special respect in Muslim society.
  • Even the Timur protected the life of Sayyids during his invasion in India. Although his policy was one of general slaughter.
  • The sayyids put on a pointed cap (kulah) and they were known as ‘Kulah Daran’ during Delhi sultanate.

Source)  History of Medieval India by V.D Mahajan


Q.59 With reference to Indian history, consider the following statements:

  1. The Dutch established their factories/werehouses on the east coast on lands granted to them by Gajapati rulers.
  2. Alfonso de Albuquerque captured Goa from the Bijapur Sultanate.
  3. The English East India Company established a factory at Madras on a plot of land leased from a representative of the Vijayanagara empire.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect: Next to the Portuguese, the Dutch set their feet in India.

In 1602, the United East India Company of the Netherlands was formed and given permission by the Dutch government to trade in the East Indies including India.

Gajapati Rule has declined in 1541. The last ruler was Kakharua Deva.

  • Statement 2 is correct: Alfanso de Albuquerque captured Goa from the Bijapur sultanate king Adil Shahis with the help of Vijaynagara Empire.
  • Statement 3 is correct: the English East India Company established a factory in Madras in 1639 on land leased from representatives of Vijayanagara Empire called the Nayakas.

Source: History Test B03, Q.2


Q.60 According to Kautiyla’s Arthahastra, which of the following are correct?

  1. A person could be a slave as a result of judicial punishment.
  2. If a female slave bore her master a son, she was legally free.
  3. If a son born to a female slave was fathered by her master, the son was entitled to the legal status of the master’s son.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Explanation:

The Arthashastra states that a man could be a slave either by birth, by voluntarily selling himself, by being captured in war, or as a result of a judicial punishment. Slavery was a recognized institution and the legal relationship between master and slave was clearly defined e.g. if a female slave bore her master a son, not only was she legally free but the child was entitled to legal status of the master’s son. Hence, all the statements are correct.


Q.61) Consider the following statements:

1. Tight monetary policy of US Federal Reserve could lead to capital flight.

2. Capital flight may increase the interest cost of firms with existing External Commercial Borrowings (ECBs).

3. Devaluation of domestic currency decreases the currency risk associated with ECBs.

Which of the following statements are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans:

Exp


62) Consider the following states:

1. Andhra Pradesh

2. Kerala

3. Himachal Pradesh

4. Tripura

How many of the above are generally known as tea-producing states?

(a) Only one state

(b) Only two state

(c) Only three state

(d) All the four states

Ans: d

Exp: All the above states do produce tea.

Source:http://www.teaboard.gov.in/pdf/directory/registered_tea_factory.pdf


63) Consider the following statements:

1. In India, credit rating agencies are regulated by Reserve bank of India.

2. The rating agency popularly known as ICRA is a public limited company.

3. Brickwork Ratings is an Indian credit rating agency.

Which of the statements given below are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: b

Exp: SEBI regulates the agencies which are engaged in the business of rating securities offered by way of public or rights issue. Hence statement 1 is not correct.

ICRA Limited (formerly Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency of India Limited) was set up in 1991 by leading financial/investment institutions, commercial banks and financial services companies as an independent and professional investment Information and Credit Rating Agency.

Brickwork Ratings (BWR), a SEBI registered Credit Rating Agency, has also been accredited by RBI offers rating services on Bank Loans, NCD, Commercial Paper, Fixed deposits, Securitised paper, Security receipts etc.

January 2022 CA Test, Q.1


64) With reference to the ‘Banks Board Bureau (BBB)’, which of the following statements are correct?

1. The Governor of RBI is the Chairman of BBB.

2. BBB recommends for the selection of heads for Public Sector banks.

3. BBB helps the Public Sector banks in developing strategies and capital raising plans.

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: b

Exp: Banks Board Bureau is an Autonomous Body of Government of India. It  are committed to improving the Governance and Boards of public sector financial institutions. The Secretariat of the Bureau currently comprises Secretary and four officers.

Chairman can be any person of such expertise who can be appointed by Central  Government. Hence Statement 1 is incorrect.

Department of Financial Services Secretary, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises are ex-officio members of the BBB.

The Banks Board Bureau is mandated to select and appointment Board members for various financial institutions in public sector. It is also required to undertake activities in the sphere of governance in these institutions.


65) With reference to Convertible Bonds, consider the following statements:

1. As there is an option to exchange the bond for equity, Convertible Bonds pay a lower rate of interest.

2. The option to convert to equity affords the bondholder a degree of indexation to raising consumer prices.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans

Exp


66) Consider the following:

1. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

2. Missile Technology Control Regime
3. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

India is a member of which of the above?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3 only

Ans: d

Exp: India is member of all the above mentioned organisations.

Covered tens of times …


67) Consider the following statements:

1. Vietnam has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world in the recent years.

2. Vietnam is led by a multi-party political system.

3. Vietnam’s economic growth is linked to its integration with global supply chains and focus on exports.

4. Foe along time Vietnam’s low labour costs and stable exchange rates have attracted global manufacturers.

5. Vietnam has the most productive e-service sector in the Indo-Pacific region.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

a) 2 and 4

b) 3 and 5

c) 1, 3 and 4

d) 1 and 2

Ans: c

Exp: GDP growth statistics report states that Vietnam is the fastest growing world economy with a growth rate of 7.31% in 2019. It has surpassed the growth rate of other Asian economies including India and China, which stand at 4.5% and 6% CAGR respectively. Below article of WB shows us that statement 1, 3 and 4 are true.

Unfortunately, their e-service sector isn’t that productive which is why statement 5 is wrong.

It is a one party socialist republic state. Hence statement 2 is not correct.

https://www.britannica.com/place/Vietnam/Government-and-society

Source: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/vietnam/overview#3

https://locus.sh/resources/bulletin/vietnams-economic-growth/


68) In India, which one of the following is responsible for maintaining price stability by controlling inflation?

(a) Department of Consumer Affairs

(b) Expenditure Management Commission

(c) Financial Stability and Development Council

(d) Reserve Bank of India

Ans: d

Exp: RBI’s primary objective of monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth. Price stability is a necessary precondition to sustainable growth.

Source: https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/FS_Overview.aspx?fn=2752


69) With reference to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), consider the following statements:

1. They enable the digital representation of physical assets.

2. They are unique cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain.

3. They can be traded or exchanged at equivalency and therefore can be used as a medium of commercial transactions.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans) a
Exp) Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other. Unlike cryptocurrencies, they cannot be traded or exchanged at equivalency. This differs from fungible tokens like cryptocurrencies, which are identical to each other and, therefore, can serve as a medium for commercial transactions.


70) Consider the following pairs:

         Reservoirs                               States

1. Ghataprabha             —         Telangana

2. Gandhi Sagar             —         Madhya Pradesh

3. Indira Sagar                —        Andhra Pradesh

4. Maithon         —   Chhattisgarh 

How many pairs given above are not correctly matched

a) Only one pair

b) Only two pairs

c) Only three pairs

d) All the four pairs

Ans: c

Exp: Ghataprabha is a tributary of R. Krishna, and is located in Karnataka.

Gandhi Sagar is located in Madhya Pradesh

Indira Sagar is located in Madhya Pradesh

Maithon is located in Jharkhand

Source: http://117.252.14.242/rbis/basin%20maps/Krishna/ghataprabha.htm

https://mandsaur.nic.in/en/tourist-place/gandhi-sagar-dam/

http://www.nhpcindia.com/Default.aspx?id=186&lg=eng&CatId=1&ProjectId=19

https://dhanbad.nic.in/tourist-place/maithon-dam/

71) In India, which one of the following compiles information on industrial disputes, closures, retrenchments and lay-offs in factories employing workers?

(a) Central Statistics Office

(b) Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal trade

(c) Labour Bureau

(d) National Technical manpower Information System

Ans: c

Exp: The Departments of Labour in the States and Regional Labour Commissioners (Central) collect the basic information from the affected Primary Units in respect of the work stoppages in the State and Central Spheres respectively on account of strikes and lockouts.

Source: http://labourbureau.gov.in/Ind_dis_clo_2k6%20Intro.htm#:~:text=The%20Departments%20of%20Labour%20in,account%20of%20strikes%20and%20lockouts.

72) In India, what is the role of Coal Controller’s Organisation (CCO)?

1. CCO is the major source of Coal Statistics in Government of India.

2. It monitors progress of development of Captive Coal/Lignite locks.

3. It bears any objection to the Government’s notification relating to acquisition of coal-bearing areas.

4. It ensures that coal mining companies deliver the coal to end users in the prescribed time.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 3 and 4 only

(c) 1 and 2 only

(d) 1, 2 and 4

Ans:  a

Exp: CCO does not ensure that the coal is supplied to end users, except that rest of the works and responsibilities are been given to CCO

Source: http://www.coalcontroller.gov.in/pages/display/5-functionsresponsibilities


73) If a particular area was brought under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which one of the following statements best reflects the consequence of it?

(a) This would prevent the transfer of land of tribal people to non-tribal people.

(b) This would create a local self-governing body in that area.

(c) This would convert that area into a Union territory.

(d) The State having such areas would be declared Special Category State.

Ans) a
Exp)
Governor may formulate rules to prevent the transfer of the land of tribal to non-tribal people. Hence option a is correct.

Statement b will correct for Schedule VI areas.

Source: FLT 8, Q.7


74) Consider the following statements:

1. The India Sanitation Coalition is a platform to promote sustainable sanitation and is funded by the Government of India and the World Health Organization.

2. The National Institute of Urban Affairs is an apex body of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in Government of India and provides innovative solutions to address the challenges of Urban India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: b

Exp: The India Sanitation Coalition was launched on June 25, 2015, at FICCI, New Delhi. ISC is a multi-stakeholder platform that brings together the private sector, government, financial institutions, civil society groups, media, donors/bi-lateral/multilateral, experts etc. to work in the sanitation space to drive sustainable sanitation through a partnership model. There is no involvement of WHO. Hence Statement 1 is not correct

Source: https://www.indiasanitationcoalition.org/

The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is India’s leading national think tank on urban planning and development. In 1976, NIUA was appointed as an apex body to support and guide the Government of India in its urban development plans. Since then, it has worked closely with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, alongside other government and civil sectors, to identify key areas of research. Hence statement 2 is true

https://niua.in/About_NIUA#aboutNiua


75) Which of the following has been constituted under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986?

(a) Central Water Commission

(b) Central Ground Water Board

(c) Central Ground Water Authority

(d) National Water Development Agency

Ans: c

Exp: Central Ground Water Authority has been constituted under Section 3 (3) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to regulate and control development and management of ground water resources in the country.

Powers & Functions:

The Authority has been conferred with the following powers:

(i)   Exercise of powers under section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for issuing directions and taking such measures in respect of all the matters referred to in sub-section(2) of section 3 of the said Act.

(ii)   To resort to penal provisions contained in sections 15 to 21 of the said Act.

(iii)  To regulate and control, management and development of ground water in the country and to issue necessary regulatory directions for the purpose.

(iv) Exercise of powers under section 4 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for the appointment of officers.

Source:


Q.76) With reference to the “United Nations Credentials Committee”, consider the following statements:

1. It is a committee set up by the UN Security Council and works under its supervision.

2. It traditionally meets in March, June and September every year.

3. It assesses the credentials of all UN members before submitting a report to the General Assembly for approval.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 3 only

(b) 1 and 3

(c) 2 and 3

(d) 1 and 2

Ans) (a)

Exp)

  • Statement 1 is incorrect. The United Nations Credentials Committee is a committee of the United Nations General Assembly
  • Statement 2 is incorrect. A Credentials Committee is appointed at the beginning of each regular session of the General Assembly.
  • Statement 3 is correct. Its main purpose is to report to the Assembly regarding the credentials of the body’s representatives.

Source)

https://www.un.org/en/ga/credentials/credentials.shtml

Source: FLT 1 , Q.55


Q.77) Which one of the following statements best describes the ‘Polar Code’?

(a) It is the international code of safety for ships operating in polar waters.

(b) It is the agreement of the countries around the North Pole regarding the demarcation of their territories in the polar region.

(c) It is a set of norms to be followed by the countries whose scientists undertake research studies in the North Pole and South Pole.

(d) It is a trade and security agreement of the member countries of the Arctic Council.

Ans) (a)

Exp)

  • Statement (a) is correct. Polar Code is International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters. The Polar Code covers the full range of design, construction, equipment, operational, training, search and rescue and environmental protection matters relevant to ships operating in the inhospitable waters surrounding the two poles.

Q.78) With reference to the United Nations General Assembly, consider the following statements:

1. The UN General Assembly can grant observer status to the non-member States.

2. Inter-governmental organizations can seek observer status in the UN General Assembly.

3. Permanent Observers in the UN General Assembly can maintain missions at the UN headquarters.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans- (d)

  • Statement 1 is correct. The United Nations General Assembly may grant non-member states, international organizations and other entities Permanent Observer Status.
  • Statement 2 is correct. General Assembly decided that observer status would be confined to States and intergovernmental organizations whose activities cover matters of interest to the Assembly.
  • Statement 3 is correct. Permanent Observers may participate in the sessions and workings of the General Assembly and maintain missions at the UN Headquarters.

Q.79) With reference to the “Tea Board” in India, consider the following statements:

1. The Tea Board is a statutory body.

2. It is a regulatory body attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

3. The Tea Board’s Head Office is situated in Bengaluru.

4. The Board has overseas offices at Dubai and Moscow.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c)  and 4 only

(d) 1 and 4 only

Ans) (d)

Exp)

  • Statement 1 is correct. The Tea Board of India is an autonomous and statutory body created under the Tea Act, 1953.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect. Headquarters is in Kolkata
  • Statement 4 is correct. Offices are located in Kolkata, London, Moscow and Dubai.

Source)

https://www.teaboard.gov.in/home


Q.80) Which one of the following best describes the term “greenwashing” ?

(a) Conveying a false impression that a company’s products are eco-friendly and environmentally sound.

(b) Non-inclusion of ecological/environmental costs in the Annual Financial Statements of a country.

(c) Ignoring the disastrous ecological consequences while undertaking infrastructure development.

(d) Making mandatory provisions for environmental costs in a government project/programme

Ans) (a)

Exp)

  • Statement (a) is correct. Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound.
  • Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly.

Source)


Q.81) Consider the following statements:

1. High clouds primarily reflect solar radiation and cool the surface of the Earth.

2. Low clouds have a high absorption of infrared radiation emanating from the Earth’s surface and thus cause a warming effect.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans) (d)

Exp)

  • Statement 1 is incorrect. High clouds are often thin and do not reflect very much. They let lots of the Sun’s warmth in They radiate less energy into space than the lower, warmer clouds. Therefore, high clouds work to “trap” more energy than the low clouds.
  • Statement 2 is incorrect. Low clouds are often quite thick and reflect lots of sunlight back to space. Low clouds are excellent reflectors. But, they don’t stop the longwave energy from escaping to space. Therefore, low clouds help to cool the Earth.

Source)

https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/horizon-magazine/qa-why-clouds-are-still-one-biggest-uncertainties-climate-change

Q.82) Consider the following statements:

1. Bidibidi is a large refugee settlement in north-western Kenya.

2. Some people who fled from South Sudan civil war live in Bidibidi.

3. Some people who fled from civil war in Somalia live in Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 3 only

Ans) (c)

Exp)

  • Statement 1 is incorrect. Bidibidi Refugee Settlement is a refugee camp is located in Uganda.
  • Statement 2 is correct. Bidibidi is home to over 270,000 South Sudanese refugees
  • Statement 3 is correct. Dadaab camps were established 30 years ago to accommodate Somalis fleeing their country’s civil war.

Source)

https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/latest/return-somalia-not-solution-refugees-dadaab-kenya

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/how-bidibidi-uganda-refugee-camp-became-city

Q.83) Consider the following countries:

1. Armenia

2. Azerbaijan

3. Croatia

4. Romania

5. Uzbekistan

Which of the above are members of the Organization of Turkic States?   

(a) 1, 2 and 4

(b) 1 and 3

(c) 2 and 5

(d) 3, 4 and 5

Ans) (c)

Exp)

  • The Organization of Turkic States, formerly called the Turkic Council or the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, is an international organization comprising prominent independent Turkic countries: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Source)

https://www.turkkon.org/en/turk-konseyi-hakkinda


Q.84) Consider the following statements:

1. Gujarat has the largest solar park in India.

2. Kerala has a fully solar-powered International Airport.

3. Goa has the largest floating solar photovoltaic project in India.

Which of the statements given below is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 3 only

Ans- (b)

Exp

  • Statement 1 is incorrect. India’s Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan is the largest solar power park in the world.
  • Statement 2 is correct. Kerala’s Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) is the first airport in the world that would be running fully on solar power.

Source: July 2021 CA Test, Q.48)


Q.85) With reference to the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, consider the following statements:

1. A coastal state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from a baseline determined in accordance with the convention.

2. Ships of all states, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.

3. The Exclusive Economic Zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea in measure.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans- (d)

Exp

  • Statement 1 is correct. Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.
  • Statement 2 is correct: The innocent passage has been codified in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) was adopted in 1982 [1] , it is also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty [2] . Its purpose is to establish a comprehensive set of rules governing the oceans and to replace previous U.N. Conventions on the Law of the Sea, 1958 (UNCLOS I) which was adopted in 1958 and another in 1960 (UNCLOS II), since these two convention were believed to be inadequate.
  • The term Innocent Passage is defined under international law referring to a ship or aircraft’s right to enter and pass through another’s territory so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the other state. Under Article 19 of the UNCLOS III it is defined “Passage is innocent so long as it is not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of the coastal State.” Such passage shall take place in conformity with this Convention and with other rules of international law. The right of innocent passage of foreign ships through the territorial waters of a coastal state is one of the oldest and most universally recognized rules of public international law.

Source: FLT 01, Q.8)


Q.86) Which one of the following statements best reflects the issue which Senkaku Islands, sometimes mentioned in the news?

(a) It is generally believed that they are artificial islands made by a country around South China Sea.

(b) China and Japan engage in maritime disputes over these islands in East China Sea

(c) A permanent American military base has been set up there to help Taiwan to increase its defence capabilities.

(d) Through International Courts of Justice declared them as no man’s land, some South-East Asian countries claim them.

Ans- (b)

Exp

  • Option (B) is the correct answer.
  • Japan and China claim the uninhabited islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Tiaoyu in China, as their own, but Japan has administered them since 1972. The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands were formally claimed by Japan in 1895. After Japan’s defeat in World War II, the island chain was controlled by the US until 1971 before its return. Since then, Japan has administered the island chains. China began to reassert claims over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the 1970s, citing historic rights to the area. However, Japan does not recognise Chinese claims.
  • The Diaoyu archipelago (known as the Senkakus in Japanese) is an uninhabited chain of islands in the East China Sea claimed by China, Taiwan and Japan.
  • The Japanese-administered island chain, formed by five islets and three barren rocks, covers an area of 7 square km. It is located about 200km southwest of Japan’s Okinawa island and a similar distance northeast of Taiwan.
  • Senkaku islands are a part of the Ryukyu chain of islands.

Source:


Q.87) Consider the following pairs:

Country                Important reason for being in the news recently

1. Chad – Setting up of permanent military base by China

2. Guinea – Suspension of Constitution  and Government by military

3. Lebanon — Severe and prolonged economic depression

4. Tunisia – Suspension of Parliament by the President

How many pairs given above matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs

Ans- (c)

Exp

  • Pair 1 is incorrectly matched. China has a permanent military base in Equatorial Guinea. It is the culmination of nearly a decade’s investment in Africa.
  • Pair 2 is correctly matched. On 5 September 2021, President of Guinea Alpha Condé was captured by the country’s armed forces in a coup d’état after gunfire in the capital, Conakry. Special forces commander Mamady Doumbouya released a broadcast on state television announcing the dissolution of the constitution and government.
  • Pair 3 is correctly matched. As per the World Bank, Lebanon’s severe and prolonged economic depression is likely to rank in the top 10, possibly top 3, most severe crisis episodes globally since the mid-nineteenth century’. Poverty in Lebanon has spread dramatically over the past year and now affects about 74 % of the population.
  • Pair 4 is correctly matched. Tunisian President Kais Saied extended the suspension of parliament until further notice in the month of August, 2021.


Q.88) Consider the following pairs:

Country – Region often mentioned, in the news

1. Anatolia – Turkey      

2. Amhara – Ethiopia   

3. Cabo Delgado- Spain

4. Catalonia – Italy   

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs

Ans) (b)

Exp)

  • Pair 1 is correctly matched. Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent.
  • Pair 2 is correctly matched. The Amhara are one of the two largest ethnolinguistic groups in Ethiopia (the other group being the Oromo). They constitute more than one-fourth of the country’s population. The Amharic language is an Afro-Asiatic language belonging to the Southwest Semitic group.
  • Pairs 3 and 4 are incorrectly matched. Cabo Delgado is the northernmost province of Mozambique.
  • Catalonia Catalonia remains one of the most economically dynamic communities of Spain. The Catalan capital and largest city, Barcelona, is a major international cultural centre and a major tourist destination.

Q.89) With reference to Indian laws about wildlife protection, consider the following statements:

1. Wild animals are the sole property of the government.

2. When a wild animal is declared protected, such animal is entitled for equal protection whether it is found in protected areas or outside.

3. Apprehension of a protected wild animal becoming a danger to human life is sufficient ground for its capture or killing.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 3 only

Ans- (a)

Exp

  • Statement 1 is correct. In a significant verdict, the Bombay High Court has ruled that wild animals including tiger should be treated as “government property for all purposes” and any damage caused by them should be compensated by the Government.
  • Statement 2 is correct. The law governing the subject of wildlife, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, does not discriminate between animals found in protected areas and outside. It provides for equal protection for wild animals irrespective of where they are found.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect. Only if the wild animal becomes a danger to human life or is diseased or disabled beyond recovery can it be allowed to be captured or killed by the competent authority, the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State. This provision is applicable to wild animals listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which includes leopards. Mere apprehension or fear that a wild animal could endanger human life is not a ground for capture or killing.

Source:


Q.90) Certain species of which one of the following organisms are well known as cultivators of fungi?

(a) Ant

(b) Cockroach

(c) Crab

(d) Spider

Ans- (a)

Exp-

  • Fungi and insects are two hyperdiverse groups of organisms that have interacted for millennia. Over time, some insects have come to rely on fungi for a variety of resources, including room and board.
  • Ants, wasps, beetles and a variety of other insects have adapted to using fungi primarily for reinforcing structures or as sources of food, with the most extreme examples resulting in the cultivation of fungal crops. Chief among these examples are the mushroom-farming ants and termites, and the wood-boring beetles and wasps.

Q.91) Consider the following pairs:

Site of Ashoka’s major rock edicts – Location in the state of:

1. Dhauli – Odisha

2. Erragudi – Andhra Pradesh

3. Jaugad – Madhya Pradesh

4. Kalsi – Karnataka

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs

Ans-  (b)

Exp:

  • Only two pairs are correctly matched. The correct answer is B.
  • The historically important Dhauli hills are located on the banks of Daya river, in Odisha. Dhauli is a small hillock rising conspicuously on the southern bank of the river Daya, in the midst of green fields. This is the site where Ashoka waged the final battle against Kalinga in 261 BC. Ashokan Rock Edicts numbering I-X and XIV are found on the bank of Daya river. Hence, pair 1 is correctly matched.
  • Ashoka’s rock edict site near Yerraguidi or Erragudi on Gooty-Pathikonda road in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh is the most important location in the entire South India. Hence, statement 2 is correctly matched.
  • Jaugada (located in Odisha) is the location of some of the Major Rock Edicts of Ashoka, inscribed circa 250 BCE: Major Rock Edicts 1-10 and 14 are inscribed on a central rock in the compound, as well as Separate Edicts 1&2. This configuration is similar to that of the nearby Dhauli Edicts of Ashoka (250 km to the northeast). Hence, pair 3 is incorrectly matched.
  • Kalsi is a town in Dehradun District, Uttarakhand. It is known for the Rock edicts of Khalsi, a group of major inscriptions by emperor Ashoka. The Khalsi rock contains the Major Rock Edicts 1 to 14. Hence, pair 4 is incorrectly matched.

Source)

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/asi-to-develop-ashoka-rock-site-as-tourist-spot/article4766897.ece

https://odishatourism.gov.in/content/tourism/en/blog-details.html?url=jaugada-Ashokan-major-rock-edict-in-odisha


Q.92) Consider the following pairs:

King – Dynasty

1. Nannuka – Chandela

2. Jayashakti – Paramara

3. Nagabhata II – Gurjara-Pratihara

4. Bhoja – Rashtrakuta

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs

Ans- (b)

Exp:

  • Only two pairs are correctly matched. Hence, the correct answer is B.
  • King Nannuka was the founder of the Chandela dynasty. Hence, pair 1 is correctly matched.
  • King Jayashakti belonged to the Chandela dynasty. Hence, pair 2 is incorrectly matched.
  • Nagabhata II (reign 795–833) was an Indian Emperor from Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. Hence, pair 3 is correctly matched.
  • Bhoja popularly known as Raja Bhoj Parmar was an Indian King from the Paramara dynasty.  Hence, pair 4 is incorrectly matched.


Q.93) Which one of the following statements about Sangam literature in ancient South India is correct?

(a) Sangam poems are devoid of any reference to material culture.

(b) The social classification of Varna was known to Sangam poets.

(c) Sangam poems have no reference, to warrior ethic.

(d) Sangam literature refers to magical forces as irrational.

Ans- (b)

Exp:

  • The Sangam literature is our major source for the study of south Indian society, economy and polity during BC300–AD300.
  • Some of the earliest works in Tamil, known as Sangam literature, were composed around 2300 years ago. These texts were called Sangam because they were supposed to have been composed and compiled in assemblies (known as sangams) of poets that were held in the city of Madurai.
  • The Sangam literature mentions various aspects of material culture such as agriculture, trade (salt merchants), roads and carts etc.  The descriptions given in the Sangam literatures are confirmed by archaeological finds and accounts of foreign travellers. Hence, statement A is incorrect.
  • Sati, caste, idol worship were common during the sangam period. Widows were treated badly. Hence, option B is correct.
  • The sangam literature consists of short and long poems in praise of various heroes, written probably to be recited in the courts.
  • Pathinenkilkanakku contains eighteen works about ethics and morals. The most important among these works is Tirukkural authored by Thiruvalluvar, the tamil great poet and philosopher.
  • The Hero Stone or Nadu Kal worship was significant in the Sangam period and was erected in memory of the bravery shown by the warriors in the battle. Hence, option C is incorrect.
  • Option D is incorrect.

Source: History Test A03, Q.10


Q.94) “Yogavnistha” was translated into Persian by Nizamuddin Panipati during the reign of :

(a) Akbar

(b) Humayun

(c) Shahjahan

(d) Aurangzeb

Ans- (a)

Exp:

  • Yoga Vashishta is a Hindu mystical text in the form of a dialogue between Vashishta, a Hindu sage and his student which is infused with Vedantic and Buddhist thought.  It was translated during the reign of Akbar.

Q.95) The world’s second tallest statue in sitting pose of Ramanuja was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India at Hyderabad recently. Which one of the following statements correctly represents the teachings of Ramanuja?

(a) The best means of salvation was devotion.

(b) Vedas are eternal, self-existent and wholly authoritative.

(c) Logical arguments were essential means for the highest bliss.

(d) Salvation was to be obtained through meditation.

Ans- (a)

Exp:

  • Ramanuja was a Bhakti saint. He was born in Tamil Nadu in the 11th century. He was deeply influenced by the Alvars.
  • The main points of his preachings are :
  • Ramanuja taught people that the best means of attaining salvation was through intense devotion to Vishnu. Vishnu in His grace helps the devotee to attain the bliss of union with Him. He propounded the doctrine of Vishishtadvaita or qualified oneness in that the soul even when united with the Supreme God remained distinct. Hence, option A is correct.

Source: February 2022 CA Test, Q.95


Q.96) The Prime Minister recently inaugurated the new Circuit House near Somnath Temple at Veraval. Which of the following statements are correct regarding Somnath Temple?

1. Somnath Temple is one of the Jyotirlinga shrines.

2. A description of Somnath Temple was given by Al-Biruni.

3. Pran Pratishtha of Somnath Temple (installation of the present day temple) was done by President S. Radhakrishnan.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans- (a)

Exp:

  • Somnath, literally translated as the Lord of Moon (Soma) houses the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas or the symbolic representation of Lord Shiva. Hence, statement 1 is correct.
  • This highly famed pilgrim destination is located at the Viraval Port or PrabhasPattan in Saurashtra, Gujrat.
  • The temple’s positioning is quite unique. The temple is positioned in such a way that not a single piece of land is visible from the Somnath seashore until Antarctica.
  • Statement 2 is correct. A description of the temple by Al-Biruni, an 11th century Arab traveller, was so glowing that it prompted a visit in 1024 by Mahmud of Ghazni, from Afghanistan.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect. Somnath temple’s pran pratishtha took place on this day in 1951. The President of India- Rajendra Prasad attended Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Somnath temple.

Source)


Q.97) Which one of the following statements best describes the role of B cells and T cells in the human body?

(a) They protect the body from environmental allergens.

(b) They alleviate the body’s pain and inflammation.

(c) They act as immunosuppressants in the body.

(d) They protect the body from the diseases caused by pathogens.

Ans: (d)

Exp:

  • T cell, also called T lymphocyte, type of leukocyte (white blood cell) that is an essential part of the immune system. T cells are one of two primary types of lymphocytes—B cells being the second type—that determine the specificity of immune response to antigens (foreign substances) in the body. Hence, the correct answer is D.

Q.98) Consider the following statements:

1. Other than those made by humans, nanoparticles do not exist in nature.

2. Nanoparticles of some metallic oxides are used in the manufacture of some cosmetics.

3.Nanoparticles of some commercial products which enter the environment are unsafe for humans.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 2 only

(d) 2 and 3 only

Ans: (d)

Exp:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect. In fact, many kinds of physical and chemical processes (both human activities and natural processes) produce nanoparticles. Naturally occurring nanoparticles can be found in volcanic ash, ocean spray, fine sand and dust, and even biological matter (e.g. viruses).
  • Statement 2 is correct. Nanomaterials/ nanoparticles have been used to try and improve the performance of a wide range of products, from moisturiser and anti-ageing creams to hair care.
  • Statement 3 is correct.

Q.99) Consider the following statements: DNA Barcoding can be a tool to:

1. assess the age of a plant or animal.

2. distinguish among species that look alike.

3. identify undesirable animal or plant materials in processed foods.

Which of the correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1 and 2 only

(d) 2 and 3 only

Ans: (c)

Exp:

  • DNA barcoding is a system for species identification focused on the use of a short, standardized genetic region acting as a “barcode” in a similar way that Universal Product Codes (UPCs) are used by supermarket scanners to distinguish commercial products.
  • The greatest advantage of DNA metabarcoding is its ability to identify each single species within complex multi‐ingredient and processed mixtures simultaneously, where the application of DNA barcoding and conventional analytical methods is limited considerably. Statements 1 and 2 are correct.
  • DNA barcoding cannot be used in identify undesirable animal or plant materials in processed foods. Hence, statement 3 is incorrect.

Q.100) Consider the following:

1. Carbon monoxide

2. Nitrogen oxide

3. Ozone

4. Sulphur dioxide

Excess of which of the above in the environment is/are cause(s) of acid rain?

(a) 1, 2 and 3

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 4 only

(d) 1, 3 and 4

Ans- (b)

Exp:

  • Options 1 and 3 are incorrect.  Acid rain occurs when Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) are emitted into the atmosphere, undergo chemical transformations and are absorbed by water droplets in clouds. This causes the formation of sulphuric and nitric acids in rain clouds. Hence, options 2 and 4 is correct.
  • The droplets then fall to earth as rain, snow or mist. If rain falls through polluted air it picks up more of these gases and increases its acidity. This is called acid rain. This can increase the acidity of the soil, and affect the chemical balance of lakes and streams. Thus, acid rain is defined as any type of precipitation with a pH that is unusually low. A pH of less than about 5 is used as a definition of acid rain. Acid rain is a serious environmental problem that affects large parts of the world.

Source:

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Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] India’s Afghan Outreach and Taliban

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Context

  • For the first time since the Taliban takeover on 15 August 2021, India has sent an official delegation to Afghanistan.
  • India discussed a host of issues that included resumption of stalled infrastructure projects, activation of diplomatic ties, and restarting the issue of visas for Afghan students and patients.

Points of Discussion

  1. Has India officially recognized the Talibans?
  2. Tashkent held recently meet excluded Pakistan. Is Pakistan out of the Afghan security scenario?

Highlights of the discussion

  • With this, it appears that the Indian is now less divided about the need to engage formally with the Taliban and prevent Afghan people getting marginalised.
  • Afghanistan is vital to India’s strategic interests in the region where the people’s (and even Taliban’s) affection for India is legendary.

Expected outcomes of the meet

  • Recognition of the Taliban government is not on the cards yet.
  • The visit may have paved the way for the reopening of the Indian embassy, albeit a downgraded one.

India and Taliban: A quick timeline of engagement

  • Initial reluctance: From 1996 to now, India’s journey from first opposition, then diffidence to engaging with the Taliban is in no small measure a story of India’s problematic relationship with Pakistan.
  • Beginning of Kashmir Insurgency: In 1996, when the Taliban fought their way through warring mujahideen factions into Kabul for the first time, in India, fearing a spillover on Kashmir insurgency (there was indeed some).
  • 1999 hijacking: During the hijacking of IC814, when the Pakistani hijackers took the plane to Kandahar, the then ruling Taliban acted as a support arm of the hijackers.

Since then, any engagement was a standstill.

When did India reach out to the Talibans?

  • 9-11 terror attacks: After 9/11, under the US umbrella, India invested money and energy into the rebuilding of Afghanistan.
  • But by 2010, with increasing doubts about the US continuance, India was again considering reaching out to the Taliban.
  • New Delhi did not want to be left out or marginalised in the Afghanistan of the future.
  • After the execution of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, the Obama Administration was getting ready to declare an end to the war.

Since then, the way was paved for the talks.

How did its neighbors capitalize on the Afghan Crisis?

  • Pakistan had delivered the Taliban to the Trump Administration for talks.
  • Russia was backing the Taliban fully as the future ruler of Afghanistan, seeing in this sweet revenge for its own defeat in Afghanistan by US-financed, Pakistan-trained mujahideen.
  • Iran was also glad at America’s defeat at the hands of the Taliban.
  • China leveraged its relationship with Pakistan to get a foot into Kabul.

India’s considerations: Counter-intuitive timing

  • Radicalism: India’s cautious opening to the Taliban has come at a time when the group has made it clear it has not changed from its previous satanical radicalism.
  • Restrictions on women: This has increased, from not being allowed to attend school to curbs on free movement in public spaces and at work.
  • Patronage to terror outfits: Taliban continues to remain close to Al-Qaeda, with a significant presence of its multinational fighting force in Afghanistan.
  • Threats in Kashmir: They also flag the JeM and LeT training camps in Nangarhar and Kumar, close to the Pakistan border.

Why is India engaging with the Taliban now?

https://thedailyguardian.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/22wheat-af.jpg
  • Reducing Pakistan’s footprint: It is time to de-hyphenate Pakistan from the Taliban, especially as the Pakistan security establishment is finding the going tough with the Kabul regime.
  • Inducing political insight: Another reason advanced for India’s change in policy is that the Taliban in power are more divided than they were as a fighting force.
  • Averting another crisis: This situation may provide room for a layered political and diplomatic engagement with different actors.
  • Eliminating terrorism: It has also helped that the Taliban have made no hostile statements on Kashmir since taking over in Kabul.
  • Afghanistan impacts India’s security: It has, in the past, provided space to al Qaeda with which the Taliban had a special relationship. Afghanistan has an ISIS presence too.
  • Humanitarian assistance: India aims at facilitating humanitarian assistance through international organizations, and paving the way for access to consular services.
  • Protecting its investment: India built vital roads, dams, electricity transmission lines and substations, schools and hospitals, etc. Total assistance is now estimated to be worth well over $3 billion.

Way forward

  • An engagement with the Taliban would at least give an opportunity to convey Indian concerns directly.
  • The visit has encouraged those elements within the group who wish to open up its diplomatic choices.
  • All in all, the sooner India establishes a permanent presence in Kabul the better for the pursuit of national interests in the external sphere.
  • This is not an exercise in evangelism but the cold and undeterred pursuit of interests, which often requires supping with the devil — of course, with a long spoon.

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Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Perspective: Uniform Civil Code

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Context

  • Recently, a mega congregation organized by a community at Deoband in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, passed a resolution against the proposed Uniform Civil Code.
  • It went on to say that it would be in contravention of not only the Constitution of India but also Shariayat, which is the religious law regulating the particular society in the country.

What is the news?

  • The resolution claimed that their religious laws on issues like marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. have not been created by some society, community, group or person… but they are heavenly orders.
  • They are part of their religious directive, and any changes to them or attempts to stop someone from following them is a clear interference with the religion.
  • This would go against the guarantee of freedom to practice and propagate religion given in section 25 of the Constitution.

The question is: The subject has been a matter of debate for years, but whether it is feasible in India or not? Given the diversity India is known for, how doable is the idea of bringing about uniformity? What are the challenges in doing so?

What is a Uniform Civil Code?

  • A Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is one that would provide for one personal civil law for the entire country.
  • This would be applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.

Basis for UCC

  • Article 44, one of the Directive Principles of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a UCC for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
  • These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.

Personal Laws And Uniform Civil Code: Timeline

# British period
During the British Raj, Personal laws were first framed mainly for Hindu and Muslims citizens.

# Start of 20th Century
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the demand for a uniform civil code was first put forward by the women activists. The objective behind this demand was the women’s rights, equality and secularism.

# 1940 – The Idea of Uniform Civil Code is born
The idea of Uniform Civil Code was tabled by the National Planning Commission (NPC) appointed by the Congress. There was a subcommittee who was to examine women’s status and recommends reforms of personal law for gender equality.

# 1947 – Question of UCC as a Fundamental Right
UCC was sought to be enshrined in the Constitution of India as a fundamental right by Minoo Masani, Hansa Mehta, Amrit Kaur and Dr. B.R Ambedkar.

# 1948 – Constitution Assembly debated UCC
Article 44 of the Indian Constitution i.e. Directive Principles of State Policy sets implementation of uniform civil laws which is the duty of the state under Part IV.

# 1950 – Reformist Bill passed
Reformist bills were passed which gave the Hindu women the right to divorce and inherit property. Bigamy and child marriages are outlawed. Such reforms were resisted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad.

# 1951 – Dr. Ambedkar Resigns
Dr. Ambedkar resigned from the cabinet in 1951 when his draft of the Hindu Code Bill was stalled by the Parliament.

# 1985 – Shah Bano Case
In this case, a divorced Muslim woman was brought within the ambit of Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 by the Supreme Court in which it was declared by the Apex court that she was entitled for maintenance even after the completion ofiddatperiod.

# 1995- Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India
In this case, Justice Kuldip Singh reiterated the need for the Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code, which would help the cause of national integration by removing contradictions based on ideologies. Therefore, the responsibility entrusted on the State under Article 44 of the Constitution whereby a Uniform Civil Code must be secured has been urged by the Supreme Court repeatedly as a matter of urgency.

# 2000 – Supreme Court advocates UCC
The case of Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2000),where the Supreme Court said it could not direct the centre to introduce a UCC.

# 2015 – The Debate lives through
The apex court refused to direct the government to take a decision on having a UCC.

# 2016 – Triple Talaq Debate
When PM asked the Law Commission to examine the issue.

# 2017 – Ruling of the Triple Talaq case
Triple Talaq (Talaq -e- biddat) was declared unconstitutional on August 22, 2017.

UCC vs. Right to Freedom of Religion

  1. Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion
  2. Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”
  3. Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture

Reasonable restrictions on the Freedom of Religion

  • An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to FRs, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other FRs.
  • In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting UCC in the fundamental rights chapter. The matter was settled by a vote.
  • By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of FRs and therefore the UCC was made less important.

Minority Opinion in the Constituent Assembly

  • Some members sought to immunize Muslim Personal Law from state regulation.
  • Mohammed Ismail, who thrice tried unsuccessfully to get Muslim Personal Law exempted from Article 44, said a secular state should not interfere with the personal law of people.
  • B Pocker Saheb said he had received representations against a common civil code from various organisations, including Hindu organisations.
  • Hussain Imam questioned whether there could ever be uniformity of personal laws in a diverse country like India.
  • B R Ambedkar said “no government can use its provisions in a way that would force the Muslims to revolt”.
  • Alladi Krishnaswami, who was in favour of a UCC, conceded that it would be unwise to enact UCC ignoring strong opposition from any community.
  • Gender justice was never discussed in these debates.

Enacting and Enforcing UCC

  • Fundamental rights are enforceable in a court of law.
  • While Article 44 uses the words “state shall endeavour”, other Articles in the ‘Directive Principles’ chapter use words such as “in particular strive”; “shall in particular direct its policy”; “shall be obligation of the state” etc.
  • Article 43 mentions “state shall endeavour by suitable legislation” while the phrase “by suitable legislation” is absent in Article 44.
  • All this implies that the duty of the state is greater in other directive principles than in Article 44.

What are more important — fundamental rights or directive principles?

  • There is no doubt that fundamental rights are more important.
  • The Supreme Court held in Minerva Mills (1980): Indian Constitution is founded on the bed-rock of the balance between Parts III (Fundamental Rights) and IV (Directive Principles).
  • To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the harmony of the Constitution.
  • Article 31C inserted by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, however, lays down that if a law is made to implement any directive principle, it cannot be challenged on the ground of being violative of the FRs under Articles 14 and 19.

What about Personal Laws?

  • Citizens belonging to different religions and denominations follow different property and matrimonial laws which are an affront to the nation’s unity.
  • If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a UCC, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List.
  • “Personal Laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List.

Various customary laws

  • All Hindus of the country are not governed by one law, nor are all Muslims or all Christians.
  • Muslims of Kashmir were governed by a customary law, which in many ways was at variance with Muslim Personal Law in the rest of the country and was, in fact, closer to Hindu law.
  • Even on registration of marriage among Muslims, laws differ from place to place.
  • In the Northeast, there are more than 200 tribes with their own varied customary laws.
  • The Constitution itself protects local customs in Nagaland. Similar protections are enjoyed by Meghalaya and Mizoram.
  • Even reformed Hindu law, in spite of codification, protects customary practices.

 Why need UCC?

  • UCC would provide equal status to all citizens
  • It would promote gender parity in Indian society.
  • UCC would accommodate the aspirations of the young population who imbibe liberal ideology.
  • Its implementation would thus support the national integration.

Hurdles to UCC implementation

  • There are practical difficulties due to religious and cultural diversity in India.
  • The UCC is often perceived by the minorities as an encroachment of religious freedom.
  • It is often regarded as interference of the state in personal matters of the minorities.
  • Experts often argue that the time is not ripe for Indian society to embrace such UCC.

These questions need to be addressed which are being completely ignored in the present din around UCC.

  1. Firstly, how can uniformity in personal laws are brought without disturbing the distinct essence of each and every component of the society.
  2. Secondly, what makes us believe that practices of one community are backward and unjust?
  3. Thirdly, has other uniformities been able to eradicate inequalities which diminish the status of our society as a whole?

Way forward

  • It should be the duty of the religious intelligentia to educate the community about its rights and obligations based on modern liberal interpretations.
  • A good environment for the UCC must be prepared by the government by explaining the contents and significance of Article 44 taking all into confidence.
  • Social reforms are not overnight but gradual phenomenon. They are often vulnerable to media evils such as fake news and disinformation.
  • Social harmony and cultural fabric of our nation must be the priority.

Conclusion

  • The purpose behind UCC is to strengthen the object of “Secular Democratic Republic” as enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution.
  • This provision is provided to effect the integration of India by bringing communities on a common platform on matters which are at present governed by diverse personal laws.
  • Hence UCC should be enforced taking into confidence all the sections of Indian society.

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Categories
Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Perspective: Record FDI Inflow

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Context

  • India rapidly emerges as a preferred investment destination with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows increasing 20-fold in the last 20 years.
  • Highest ever annual FDI inflow of 83.57 billion US Dollars were recorded in the Financial Year 2021-22.
  • This figure stood at 45.15 billion US Dollars.

Major feats achieved this year

  • In terms of investor countries of FDI Equity inflow, Singapore is at the top with 27%, followed by the US with 18% and Mauritius with 16% for the FY 2021-22.
  • Computer Software & Hardware’ has emerged as the top recipient sector of FDI Equity inflow during this period with around 25% share followed by Services Sector and Automobile Industry with 12% each.
  • With 53 % Karnataka has received the majority share of FDI equity in the `Computer Software & Hardware’ sector.

Significance of rising FDI

  • This is a testament of India’s status among global investors.
  • It also signifies political, economic and social stability

What is Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)?

  • An FDI is an investment in the form of a controlling ownership in a business in one country by an entity based in another country.
  • It is thus distinguished from a foreign portfolio investment by a notion of direct control.
  • FDI may be made either “inorganically” by buying a company in the target country or “organically” by expanding the operations of an existing business in that country.
  • Broadly, FDI includes “mergers and acquisitions, building new facilities, reinvesting profits earned from overseas operations, and intra company loans”.
  • In a narrow sense, it refers just to building a new facility, and lasting management interest.

Features of FDI

  • Any investment from an individual or firm that is located in a foreign country into a country is FDI.
  • Generally, FDI is when a foreign entity acquires ownership or controlling stake in the shares of a company in one country, or establishes businesses there.
  • It is different from foreign portfolio investment where the foreign entity merely buys equity shares of a company.
  • In FDI, the foreign entity has a say in the day-to-day operations of the company.
  • FDI is not just the inflow of money, but also the inflow of technology, knowledge, skills and expertise.
  • It is a major source of non-debt financial resources for the economic development of a country.

FDI in India

  • Foreign investment was introduced in 1991 under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), driven by then FM Manmohan Singh.
  • Economic liberalisation started in India in the wake of the 1991 crisis and since then, FDI has steadily increased in the country.
  • India, today is a part of top 100-club on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and globally ranks number 1 in the Greenfield FDI ranking.

There are two routes by which India gets FDI.

1) Automatic route: By this route, FDI is allowed without prior approval by Government or RBI.

2) Government route: Prior approval by the government is needed via this route. The application needs to be made through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal, which will facilitate the single-window clearance of FDI application under Approval Route.

  • India imposes a cap on equity holding by foreign investors in various sectors, current FDI in aviation and insurance sectors is limited to a maximum of 49%.
  • In 2015 India overtook China and the US as the top destination for the Foreign Direct Investment.

Sectors that come under the ‘ 100% Automatic Route’ category are

  • Agriculture & Animal Husbandry, Air-Transport Services (non-scheduled and other services under civil aviation sector)
  • Airports (Greenfield + Brownfield),
  • Asset Reconstruction Companies,
  • Auto-components, Automobiles,
  • Biotechnology (Greenfield),
  • Broadcast Content Services (Up-linking & down-linking of TV channels, Broadcasting Carriage Services,
  • Capital Goods, Cash & Carry Wholesale Trading (including sourcing from MSEs), Chemicals, Coal & Lignite, Construction Development,
  • Construction of Hospitals,
  • E-commerce Activities, Electronic Systems,
  • Food Processing, Gems & Jewellery, Healthcare, Industrial Parks, IT & BPM, Leather, Manufacturing, Mining & Exploration of metals & non-metal ores, Other Financial Services,
  • Pharmaceuticals, Plantation sector
  • Ports & Shipping, Railway Infrastructure, Renewable Energy, Roads & Highways,
  • Single Brand Retail Trading, Textiles & Garments,
  • Thermal Power,
  • Tourism & Hospitality and
  • White Label ATM Operations.

Sectors that come under up to 100% Automatic Route’ category are

  • Infrastructure Company in the Securities Market: 49%
  • Insurance: up to 49%
  • Medical Devices:up to 100%
  • Pension: 49%
  • Petroleum Refining (By PSUs): 49%
  • Power Exchanges: 49%

Sectors that come under the ‘up to 100% Government Route’ category are– 

  • Banking & Public sector: 20%
  • Broadcasting Content Services: 49%
  • Core Investment Company: 100%
  • Food Products Retail Trading: 100%
  • Mining & Minerals separations of titanium bearing minerals and ores: 100%
  • Multi-Brand Retail Trading: 51%
  • Print Media (publications/ printing of scientific and technical magazines/ specialty journals/ periodicals and facsimile edition of foreign newspapers): 100%
  • Print Media (publishing of newspaper, periodicals and Indian editions of foreign magazines dealing with news & current affairs): 26%
  • Satellite (Establishment and operations): 100%

FDI prohibition

There are a few industries where FDI is strictly prohibited under any route. These industries are

  • Atomic Energy Generation
  • Any Gambling or Betting businesses
  • Lotteries (online, private, government, etc.)
  • Investment in Chit Funds
  • Nidhi Company
  • Agricultural or Plantation Activities (although there are many exceptions like horticulture, fisheries, tea plantations, Pisciculture, animal husbandry, etc.)
  • Housing and Real Estate (except townships, commercial projects, etc.)
  • Trading in TDR’s
  • Cigars, Cigarettes, or any related tobacco industry

Benefits offered by FDI

  • Employment generation: FDI boosts the manufacturing and services sector which results in the creation of jobs and helps to reduce unemployment rates in the country.
  • Economic growth: Increased employment translates to higher incomes and equips the population with more buying powers, boosting the overall economy of a country.
  • Human capital development: Skills that employees gain through training and experience can boost the education and human capital of a specific country. Through a ripple effect, it can train human resources in other sectors and companies.
  • Technology boost: The introduction of newer and enhanced technologies results in company’s distribution into the local economy, resulting in enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of the industry.
  • Increase in exports: Many goods produced by FDI have global markets, not solely domestic consumption. The creation of 100% export oriented units help to assist FDI investors in boosting exports from other countries.
  • Exchange rate stability: The flow of FDI into a country translates into a continuous flow of foreign exchange, helping a country’s Central Bank maintain a prosperous reserve of foreign exchange which results in stable exchange rates.
  • Improved Capital Flow: Inflow of capital is particularly beneficial for countries with limited domestic resources, as well as for nations with restricted opportunities to raise funds in global capital markets.
  • Creation of a Competitive Market: By facilitating the entry of foreign organizations into the domestic marketplace, FDI helps create a competitive environment, as well as break domestic monopolies.  
  • Climate mitigation: The United Nations has also promoted the use of FDI around the globe to help combat climate change

Limitations created by FDI

  • Hindrance of domestic investment: Sometimes FDI can hinder domestic investment. Because of FDI, countries’ local companies start losing interest to invest in their domestic products.
  • Risk from political changes: Other countries’ political movements can be changed constantly which could hamper the investors.
  • Negative exchange rates: FDI can sometimes affect exchange rates to the advantage of one country and the detriment of another.
  • Higher costs: When investors invest in foreign counties, they might notice that it is more expensive than when goods are exported. Oftentimes, more money is invested into machinery and intellectual property than in wages for local employees.
  • Economic non-viability: Considering that FDI may be capital-intensive from the point of view of the investor, it can sometimes be very risky or economically non-viable.
  • Expropriation: Constant political changes can lead to expropriation. In this case, those countries’ governments will have control over investors’ property and assets.
  • Modern-day economic colonialism: Many third-world countries, or at least those with a history of colonialism, worry that foreign direct investment would result in some kind of modern-day economic colonialism, which exposes host countries and leave them vulnerable to foreign companies’ exploitation.
  • Poor performance: Multinationals have been criticized for poor working conditions in foreign factories.

Recent amendments in 2020

  • The govt. has amended para 3.1.1 of extant FDI policy as contained in Consolidated FDI Policy, 2017.
  • In the event of the transfer of ownership of any existing or future FDI in an entity in India, directly or indirectly, resulting in the beneficial ownership, such subsequent change in beneficial ownership will also require Government approval.

The present position and revised position in the matters will be as under:

Present Position

  • A non-resident entity can invest in India, subject to the FDI Policy except in those sectors/activities which are prohibited.
  • However, a citizen of Bangladesh or an entity incorporated in Bangladesh can invest only under the Government route.
  • Further, a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan can invest, only under the Government route, in sectors/activities other than defence, space, atomic energy and sectors/activities prohibited for foreign investment.

Revised Position

  • A non-resident entity can invest in India, subject to the FDI Policy except in those sectors/activities which are prohibited.

[spot the difference]

  • However, an entity of a country, which shares a land border with India or where the beneficial owner of investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the Government route.
  • Further, a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan can invest, only under the Government route, in sectors/activities other than defence, space, atomic energy and sectors/activities prohibited for foreign investment.

Various policy initiatives

The government has taken plenty of initiatives to attract FDI in India:

  • The government has amended rules of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), allowing up to 20% FDI in the insurance company LIC through the automatic route.
  • The Government of India is considering easing scrutiny on certain FDI from countries that share a border with India.
  • The implementation of measures like PM Gati Shakti, single window clearance and GIS-mapped land bank are expected to push FDI inflows in 2022.
  • The government is likely to introduce at least three policies as part of the Space Activity Bill in 2022. This Bill is expected to clearly define the scope of foreign FDI in the Indian space sector.
  • In September 2021, the Union Cabinet announced that to boost the telecom sector, they’ll allow 100% FDI via the automatic route in, up from the previous 49%.
  • In August 2021, the government amended the Foreign Exchange Management (non-debt instruments) Rules, 2019, to allow the 74% increase in FDI limit in the insurance sector.
Categories
Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Sex Work as a Profession

Context

  • In a significant order recognising sex work as a “profession”, the Supreme Court has directed that police should neither interfere nor take criminal action against adult and consenting sex workers.
  • A recent Bollywood movie is also nowadays perceived as an ode to sex workers honouring their struggle and spirit.

Sex Work in India

  • It is said that sex work is the oldest profession in the world.
  • In India, their presence can be dated back to ancient times with scriptures mentioning their presence.
  • In later times, such women were considered the wives of a temple deity or a Devdasi, who saw their god in all their lovers.

So, where does India stand?

  • Prostitution is not illegal in our country, but soliciting and public prostitution are.
  • Owning a brothel is also illegal, but because places like GB Road are already in place, these laws are rarely enforced.

Legality check

  • According to the Indian Penal Code (IPC), prostitution in its broader sense is not really illegal per se.
  • But there are certain activities which constitute a major part of prostitution that are punishable under certain provisions of the act, which are:
  1. Soliciting prostitution services in public places
  2. Carrying out prostitution activities in hotels
  3. Indulging in prostitution by arranging for a sex worker
  4. Arrangement of a sexual act with a customer

Sex Work, not Prostitution: Making the difference

  • Sex workers are adults who receive money or goods in exchange for consensual sexual services or erotic performances, either regularly or occasionally.
  • The term “sex worker” recognizes that sex work is work.
  • Prostitution, on the other hand, has connotations of criminality and immorality.
  • Many people who sell sexual services prefer the term “sex worker” and find “prostitute” demeaning and stigmatizing, which contributes to their exclusion from health, legal, and social services.

How did the term ‘Prostitution’ materialized in India?

  • In the 1800s, it is reported that the British military established and maintained brothels for its troops to use across India.
  • A report by the BBC states that the girls, many in their early teens from poor, rural Indian families, were recruited and paid directly by the military, which also set their prices.
  • The British have long gone, but the earned infame continues in the country at prime locations of major cities such as GB Road (New Delhi), Budhwar Peth (Pune), Kamathipura (Mumbai) etc.
  • While some estimate that there are around 8,00,000 sex workers in India, the actual number could be as high as 20 lakh across the country.

Perspectives on Sex Work

Perspectives on sex workers’ rights generally fall into two categories.

(1) Feminist perspective

  • It assumes that all people involved in sex work have been coerced, bribed, blackmailed or forced into the trade.
  • No woman could “choose” to be in sex work, and making money from sex thus becomes synonymous with sexual exploitation.
  • Following this perspective, the only approach to giving sex workers their rights is to “free” them from the flesh trade.

(2) Legal-rational (Modern) perspective

  • It perceives sex work as legitimate business and expects to be treated as such.
  • Viewing sex as business provides a basis for organizing to solve many of the problems associated with commercial sex work.
  • They constitute an integral part of India’s informal sector economy.

Various issues faced by Sex Workers

(1) Various violence faced

  • Physical violence: They are often subjected to physical force such as- being slapped, pushed, shoved, hit, being kicked, dragged, beaten up and mutilation of genitals.
  • Sexual violence: Rape, gang rape, sexual harassment, being physically forced or psychologically intimidated to engage in sex or subjected to sex acts against one’s will or that one finds degrading or humiliating.
  • Psychological violence: Being insulted by labelling derogatory names; being humiliated or belittled in front of other people; being confined or isolated from family or friends; being threatened with harm to oneself or someone one cares about; verbal abuse etc.

(2) Lifetime issues

  • Stigma and Marginalization: Sex work is not treated as work, but as a dirty and immoral lifestyle threatening to taint the “innocent” public.
  • Lack of access to justice: Their uncertain status in law result in judgments that often mark sex-workers as criminals and repeat offenders.
  • Social and civil exclusion: For sex workers, the State is an instrument of violence; feared, rather than seen as protectors of rights.  
  • Identity crisis: Most sex workers hide their identity and origin. They are often raided from their premises and are unable to return to their residences.
  • Denial of basic amenities: Due to this discrimination, women in sex work have been denied safety, proper healthcare, education and, most importantly, the right to practice the business of making money from sex.
  • Risks of violence: People in sex work are not only at a higher risk for violence, but they are also less likely to get protection from the police—often the very perpetrators of this violence.
  • Marginalization: Illiteracy, ignorance and fear of the medical establishment make it difficult for women to access healthcare.

(3) Human-rights abuses

Human-rights violations that should be considered in conjunction with violence against sex workers are:

  1. Money extortion by Police and Goons
  2. Denied or refused food or other basic necessities
  3. Refused or cheated of salary, payment or money that is due to the person
  4. Forced to consume drugs or alcohol
  5. Arbitrarily stopped, subjected to invasive body searches or detained by police
  6. Arbitrarily detained or incarcerated in police stations, detention centres and rehabilitation centres without due process
  7. Refused or denied health-care services
  8. Subjected to coercive health procedures such as forced STI and HIV testing, sterilization, abortions
  9. Deprived of sleep by force

Why is it a vicious trap?

  • The stigma against a woman in sex work is not limited to the woman herself; it carries down to her children, regardless of their own professions or lifestyles.
  • Children of sex workers repeatedly report discrimination, ostracization and isolation felt on account of their mothers’ work.
  • Many are embarrassed by their home lives.
  • This has had significant effects on their education, as the drop-out rate in this community is particularly high.
  • Children abandon school for myriad reasons, ranging from exam performance to harassment by teachers and classmates.
  • Undoubtedly this harassment leads to lower self-esteem and a lack of motivation in school.

Debunking myths about Sex Work

Popular media fuels the image of women as either overly sexual outcastes who threaten the very structure of Indian family life. Indian laws and policies regarding sex work are crafted from a moralistic standpoint and people involved in sex work are defined by—and treated as— their “immoral” profession.

In fact, women in sex work cannot be put into a box.

  • While there are certainly victims of trafficking in sex work today, the majority of women in sex work consent to doing it.
  • They have decided that making money from sex is a lucrative option for them and their families.
  • But traditionalists cannot divorce sex from its sacred and religious implications. Tawaif and Devdasi system is a testimony to this.

Why sex work is not recognized/promoted in India?

  • A victimless crime: Prostitution creates a setting whereby crimes against men, women, and children become a commercial enterprise. It is an assault when he/she forces a prostitute to engage in sex scenes.
  • Evils of institutionalizing: Even with the decriminalization of prostitution, women and even children can still suffer from violence and physical abuse. People who are into this profession are prone to rape.  
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: Even if a worker is being tested every week for HIV, she will test negative for at least the first 4-6 weeks and possibly the first 12 weeks after being infected. This means that she can be a silent vector of the deadly virus.
  • Encourage human trafficking: Human trafficking, especially of girl children, is rampant in our country. With poverty driving some parents to sell their kids to sexual predators is alarming and if prostitution will be legal, more children will be coerced to be sex workers.

Various policy moves

(1) Ujjwala Scheme

  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development implements the Ujjawala Scheme.
  • It is a comprehensive scheme for prevention of trafficking and rescue, rehabilitation and re-integration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.
  • The protective and rehabilitative homes provide basic amenities such as food, clothing, medical care, legal aid, education for rescued children and vocational training to provide them alternate livelihood options.

(2) Protection against forceful sex work

  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986 is an amendment of the original act.
  • As per this act, prostitutes are to be arrested if they are found soliciting their services or seducing others.
  • Furthermore, call girls are prohibited from making their phone numbers public.
  • They can be punished for up to 6 months along with penalties if found doing so.

(3) Constitutional safeguard

Article 23 of the Indian Constitution, amended in 2014, includes the following provisions:

  1. Prohibition of human trafficking and forced labour.
  2. Traffic in human beings and bears and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with the law.
  3. Nothing in this article precludes the State from imposing compulsory service for public purposes, and the State shall not discriminate solely on the basis of religion, race, caste, or class, or any combination thereof, in imposing such service.

Why they are still excluded in India?

  • No documentation of socio-economic status: Stigma related to their work and identity and the migratory nature of work prevents sex workers from accessing identification documents, essential to accessing entitlements. They are yet to have Aadhaar Cards.
  • Denial of formal education: Residence proof, father’s name and caste, and the ration card are some documents required for getting their children registered in schools.
  • Food insecurity: The Public Distribution System (PDS), meant for people below the poverty line to access food items cheaply, needs supporting proof of sex workers being below poverty line.
  • Denial of safe environment and labour protection: Sex work happens in informal settings and is an occasional form of income or a long term occupation. This includes access to benefits, legal redress for workplace grievances, adequate health and safety regulations.

Recent Supreme Court Directive: Key Takeaways

(1) Recognition to profession and personal dignity

  • Sex Work is a profession whose practitioners are entitled to dignity and equal protection under law.
  • Criminal law must apply equally in all cases, on the basis of ‘age’ and ‘consent’.
  • It need not be gainsaid that notwithstanding the profession, every individual in this country has a right to a dignified life under Article 21 of the Constitution, the court observed.
  • The order was passed after invoking special powers under Article 142 of Constitution.

(2) Cautions to Police

  • It is clear that the sex worker is an adult and is participating with consent, the police must refrain from interfering or taking any criminal action.
  • The Bench ordered that sex workers should not be “arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised” whenever there is a raid on any brothel.
  • Since voluntary sex work is not illegal and only running the brothel is unlawful.
  • Basic protection of human decency and dignity extends to sex workers and their children, the court noted.
  • A child of a sex worker should not be separated from the mother merely on the ground that she is in the sex trade, the court held.
  • Further, if a minor is found living in a brothel or with sex workers, it should not be presumed that the child was trafficked.

(3) Taking cognisance of sexual crimes against sex workers

  • The court ordered the police to not discriminate against sex workers who lodge a criminal complaint of offence committed against them is of a sexual nature.
  • Sex workers can also be victims of sexual assault should be provided every facility including immediate medico-legal care.
  • The court said media should take “utmost care not to reveal the identities of sex workers, during arrest, raid and rescue operations.

What will change if the Policymakers endorse the Court’s direction?

  • Sex workers will be accorded equal legal protection.
  • If a sex worker reports a criminal/sexual or other type of offence, the police will take it seriously and act in accordance with the law.
  • If a brothel is raided, the sex workers involved will not be arrested, penalised, harassed, or victimised.
  • Any sex worker who is a victim of sexual assault will be given all of the same services as a survivor of sexual assault, including immediate medical attention.
  • Provisions similar to those of Transgenders will be extended to sex workers.

Sex work in other countries

Some countries choose to outright ban the practice, while others have attempted to regulate prostitution and provide health and social benefits to sex workers.

Here are a few examples of countries where prostitution is legal:

  • New Zealand: Prostitution has been legal since 2003. There are even licenced brothels operating under public health and employment laws, and they get all the social benefits.
  • France: Prostitution is legal in France, though soliciting in public is still not allowed.
  • Germany: Prostitution is legalised and there are proper state-run brothels. The workers are provided with health insurance, have to pay taxes, and they even receive social benefits like pensions.
  • Greece: The sex workers get equal rights and have to go for health checkups as well.
  • Canada: Prostitution in Canada is legal with strict regulations.

Way forward

  • Decriminalization: It is a prerequisite to ensure the physical and emotional inviolability of sex workers, their right to life, right to freedom of labour, health and reproductive and sexual rights.
  • Trafficking and should not be conflated with sex work:  Trafficking of Adult Persons and Trafficking of Children should be dealt with under two separate laws to ensure that consenting adults are not infantilised and children are given justice.
  • Rehabilitation with consent: Shut down compulsory detention or rehabilitation centres for people involved in sex work. Instead, provide sex workers with evidence-based, voluntary, community empowerment services.
  • Participation in policy making: Ensure participation of sex work organisations in drafting/ amending laws, policies and programs relevant to them and in its eventual implementation process as the govt did for Transgenders.
  • Policing reforms: Sensitivity to issues faced by sex workers should be made a part of training for police personnel, public prosecutors and the judiciary in partnership with community organisations of sex workers.
  • Human rights protection: Strengthen National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and increase their accountability to respond to complaints or initiate suo moto action reports of violence against sex workers.
  • Access to justice: Ensure Free Legal Services are available in rural areas for sex workers and offered by lawyers who have been trained in issues faced by sex workers.

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Categories
Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Mudda Aapka: Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

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Context

  • India agreed to be a part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a US-led economic grouping comprising 12 countries.
  • The recent Quad meet in Tokyo initiated the path for negotiations among the ‘founding members.’

What is IPEF?

  • It is a US-led framework for participating countries to solidify their relationships and engage in crucial economic and trade matters that concern the region, such as building resilient supply chains battered by the pandemic.
  • It is not a free trade agreement. No market access or tariff reductions have been outlined, although experts say it can pave the way to trade deals. 

Members of IPEF

  • The member nations include Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • It includes seven out of 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), all four Quad countries, and New Zealand.
  • Together, these countries account for 40 per cent of the global GDP. 

Four pillars of IPEF

  1. Trade that will include digital economy and emerging technology, labor commitments, the environment, trade facilitation, transparency and good regulatory practices, and corporate accountability, standards on cross-border data flow and data localisations;
  2. Supply chain resilience to develop “a first-of-its-kind supply chain agreement” that would anticipate and prevent disruptions;
  3. Clean energy and decarbonization that will include agreements on “high-ambition commitments” such as renewable energy targets, carbon removal purchasing commitments, energy efficiency standards, and new measures to combat methane emissions; and
  4. Tax and anti-corruption, with commitments to enact and enforce “effective tax, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery schemes in line with [American] values”.

How do members participate?  

  • Countries are free to join (or not join) initiatives under any of the stipulated pillars but are expected to adhere to all commitments once they enrol.
  • Negotiations are meant to determine and list the provisions under each pillar and open the floor for countries to choose their ‘commitments’.
  • The framework would be open to other countries willing to join in the future provided they are willing to adhere to the stipulated goals and other necessary obligations.

Reasons for the creation of IPEF

  • US regaining lost credibility: IPEF is also seen as a means by which the US is trying to regain credibility in the region after Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership TPP).
  • Rising Chinese influence: Since then, there has been concern over the absence of a credible US economic and trade strategy to counter China’s economic influence in the region.
  • Competing RCEP: It is also in the 14-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, of which the US is not a member (India withdrew from RCEP).
  • “Pivot to Asia” strategy: US has intensified its engagement with the wider Asia-Pacific region to advance its economic and geopolitical interests.

India’s perception of IPEF

  • PM Modi described the grouping as born from a collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region an engine of global economic growth.
  • India has called for common and creative solutions to tackle economic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

What does it have to do with China?  

  • The US strategists believe the US lacks an economic and trade strategy to counter China’s increasing economic influence in the region since 2017.
  • US companies are looking to move away from manufacturing in China.
  • IPEF would therefore offer an advantage to participating countries, allowing them to bring those businesses into their territory.
  • However, it officially excluded Taiwan despite its willingness and economic merit to join.
  • This exhibits Washington’s geopolitical caution.

Reactions from the opponents

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized the initiative as an attempt to further economic decoupling from China.
  • He argued that the initiative, and the US Indo-Pacific strategy as a whole, created divisions and incited confrontation. It is destined to be ultimately be a failure.
  • Taiwan was excluded in order to appease key “fence-sitter” countries such as Indonesia whose governments feared angering China.

Issues with IPEF framework

  • IPEF would neither constitute a ‘free trade agreement,’ nor a forum to discuss tariff reductions or increasing market access.
  • Unlike a traditional trade agreement, the US administration will not need congressional approval to act under the IPEF. Hence its legal status is questionable.
  • This also raises doubts among potential participants about their reluctance to offer significant concessions under the agreement.
  • The volatility of US domestic politics has raised concerns about IPEF’s durability.
  • Unlike traditional FTAs, the IPEF does not subscribe to the single undertaking principle, where all items on the agenda are negotiated simultaneously.

Given the divisive nature of American politics, it is unclear whether the IPEF will survive past the Biden administration.

Way forward

  • The IPEF’s launch in Tokyo was symbolic in nature; bringing the IPEF to fruition will involve significant domestic and international challenges.
  • Without ratification by Congress, the IPEF’s fortunes will remain in limbo.
  • Going forward, the US and the founding partners need to develop the process and criteria by which other countries from the region will be invited to join the negotiations on the IPEF.

Conclusion

  • The Quad’s plan would take several years to ultimately fructify but it is moving in the right direction.
  • There is no doubt these plans will extend to the new economic alliance as many of its members are powerhouses in the technology sector.

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Categories
Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Power Crisis in India

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Context

  • India is facing one of the worst power crises in its History and the scariest point is that this power crisis is not something that rarely has been haunting almost every year for 10 years now!!
  • As a result, businesses all across the country are facing lakhs and even crores of losses due to power shortage!! and at the macro level, the economy of India itself is taking a hit!!

A layman’s analysis

  • When we say power crisis you might think maybe India does not have enough energy source!!
  • But the fun fact is that India has the 5th largest coal reserve globally with 9.5% of the entire world’s coal reserve right here in our country itself!!
  • We have so much coal that with the existing energy demands, these reserves can power India for 111 years!!
  • Also the completion of universal household electrification has been a huge achievement.

So the question is:

  1. Inspite being one of the largest coal reserve why is India facing a power crisis?
  2. What are the factors that cause this to happen every single year?

Power value chain in India

  • The first thing we need to understand is the power value chain in India and how energy actually comes from the coal mines to your laptop.
  • This value chain includes four major steps:
  • Producers who mine and refine fuels
  • Power generation
  • Electricity transmission
  • Electricity distribution (Discoms)
  • The value chain starts with the energy producers who mine and refine fuels that are used in electricity production this includes all types of energy sources like coal gas oil or even nuclear based fuels.
  • The fuels are then delivered to the generation facilities where the electricity generator uses the fuel to drive a generator to produce electricity and then to dispatch it to a transmission and distribution system or Discoms.
  • This system distributes the electricity to consumer locations through a transmission and distribution grid.

India’s dependency on Coal

  • As of September 2021, thermal power comprised 60% of India’s installed capacity in power generation.
  • Coal-based power generation, with a capacity of around 210 gigawatts (GW) of the total 396 GW, accounts for about 53% of India’s total power capacity as on March 2022.
  • India imports about 20% of its thermal coal requirements.

Why is there a Power Shortage?

  • India was recently hit by a power crisis when the daily peak power shortage rose to 10,778 MW and the energy deficit reached 5% at the national level.
  • Some states experienced steep deficits of up to 15%.
  • Consequently, discoms resorted to load-shedding, resulting in long hours of outage for many households and rationed supply for economic activities.
  • Depleting coal supplies at thermal power plants has resulted in this crisis.

(1) Largest share in energy basket

  • Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It accounts for 55% of the country’s energy needs.
  • Coal demand is driven by the rising population, expanding economy and a quest for improved quality of life.
  • Currently, India doesn’t have a feasible replacement of Coal Based Thermal Energy in near future.

(2) Demand for power has soared

  • For instance, New Delhi’s peak power demand touched 5,460 megawatts (MW) recently, the highest ever in April’s first fortnight.
  • This was due to severe heatwaves all across the nation.
  • Several states, including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, and Maharashtra, are facing power outages.

(3) Lack of coal availability in stock

  • The coal stock with power generation companies (gencos) is not adequate to meet the rising demand.
  • Normally, a power plant must maintain 26 days of coal stock.
  • However, at present, several power plants are reporting critical levels of coal stock.
  • Data from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) shows that 97 power plants out of the 173 have critical levels of coal inventory.
  • These have an average of 28% of the stock compared to the normal scenario.

Stress on Power plants

  • There has been a moderation in coal supply towards certain gencos because of the overdues or delays in the payments.
  • As a result, discoms/state governments will either have to absorb the cost burden with increased imported coal-based generation.
  • This however has to be passed on the same through tariff hikes which never happened in India.
  • Inspite, DISCOMS constrained to offtake power, resulting in load shedding, which has been visible in a few states recently.

Major reason: Underperformance of Coal Sector

  • The state power distribution companies (discoms) have also not been able to clear their dues to power generation companies.
  • According to the government’s PRAAPTI portal, distribution companies faced financial liability of nearly Rs 1 lakh crore.
  • The challenges facing the finances of the distribution companies have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crises.
  • The impact of the nation-wide lockdown in 2020, which shuttered commercial and industrial enterprises was severe for their finances.
  • Revenues from historically subsidizing consumers decreased, even as supply to subsided consumers, agricultural and residential consumers, either increased or remained the same.
  • Indian railways owing to no reception of payment from DISCOMS stopped or reduced coal supplies.

Factors attributing to the deteriorating finances

[1] Lack of Cost-reflective Tariffs

  • The costs of supplying high-voltage consumers is significantly less than that of supplying to lower voltage consumers
  • The complexity of tariff determination is accentuated by the existence of multiplicity of categories in the tariff structures, with numerous subcategories and slabs.
  • There is significant variation in this between states.

[2] Distorted Cross-subsidies

  • Households and agricultural consumers paying less than the average cost of supply and to make up for this, tariffs for commercial and industrial consumers are higher.
  • In developed countries, high voltage industrial consumers have the lowest tariff reflecting lower costs.
  • This increases industrial competitiveness by lowering energy costs.
  • DISCOMs in states with poor industrialization tend to correspondingly have larger losses.
  • Increased domestic consumption due to expanded electrification and rise in per capita incomes and increased agricultural consumption due to increased demand for irrigation have not been matched by a similar growth in subsidizing consumers.
  • Consistent losses have meant that distribution companies do not have the financial capacity to invest in necessary capital expenditure, resulting in paying consumers needing to invest on their own in independent sources of power.

[3] Misaligned Political Incentives and Mismanagement

  • The govt could have declared the extent to which tariffs would become lower as AT&C losses were brought down.
  • Consumers would pay more than necessary to the extent AT&C (Aggregate Technical & Commercial) losses were higher.
  • De-metering of agricultural consumption has been another example.
  • It is considered to have encouraged ‘a culture of unaccountability in the sector, leading to theft and line losses being hidden within the agricultural category’.
  • There are also electricity bills waivers as populist election freebies.

[4] Lack of Regular Tariff Increase

  • Another major cause of the high financial losses has been that tariffs do not increase commensurate to increase in costs in many states.
  • Since the 1990s, revenue recovered by DISCOMs had been, on average, 30% lower than the cost incurred.
  • This resulted in approximately Rs 1.15 lakh crores of costs, which were not recovered through tariffs.
  • Due to a variety of reasons, including state government interventions or a lack of preparedness, DISCOMs do not file petitions in a timely manner.

[5] Delays/non-payment of Subsidy Amounts and Dues by States

  • The rapid rise in subsidized consumers and increased populist announcements of greater subsidies have meant an increase in the requirement of subsidies from the state governments.
  • Delays in release of subsidies, as well as underpayment of committed subsidies impact the ability of DISCOMs in managing operating costs.
  • Moreover, since the fraction of the cost structure meant to be covered by subsidy payments has risen.
  • Also, government departments often also do not release payments for outstanding dues in a timely manner.

Various policy measures

[1] 2001 Scheme for Repayment of SEB Due

  • The first bailout package was intended as a one-time settlement of outstanding dues till September 2001.
  • Based on the recommendations of the Committee constituted under Montek Singh Ahluwalia, in May 2002, the government circulated a tripartite agreement between the RBI, Central and State Governments.
  • States were to implement reforms such as setting up SERC, metering distribution feeders, and improving revenue realization, in exchange for which 60% of interest/surcharge on delayed payments was waived for participating states

[2] 2012 Financial Restructuring Plan (FRP)

  • The states were unable to turn around the fortunes of their electricity boards as required by the financial restructuring plan (FRP) finalized in September 2012.
  • This was because of reasons such as low tariff increases, slow progress in reducing losses, higher electricity purchase costs and crippling debt.
  • The scheme has been availed by Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Jharkhand, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • This is the second such bailout for the Indian distribution sector.
  • Some states including Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have also not converted outstanding state government loans into equity—another requisite.

[3] 2015 Ujwal DISCOMs Assurance Yojana (UDAY)

  • The UDAY scheme was introduced with the objective to improve the operational and financial efficiency of state DISCOMs.
  • The scheme allowed state governments to take over 75% of outstanding DISCOM debt over two years.
  • Incentives offered to participating states included access to additional/priority funding through Central Government schemes such as DDUGJY, IPDS, Power Sector Development Fund (PSDF).
  • This however could not alter the situation on the ground.

[4] Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan Package

  • This was a part of the package announced to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
  • It infused liquidity support of Rs 90,000 crore in the form of concessional loans from Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation.
  • It provided for rebates by Central Public Sector Gencos to DISCOMs; and relaxation of conditions of existing loans and relief from certain late payments and surcharges were announced.
  • The borrowing limits for states were also relaxed, with part of the increased borrowing linked to reforms on power distribution.

[5] Reforms-based Result-Linked Power Distribution Sector

  • Launched in July 2021, the RDSS is the latest of many central government grant-based programmes towards electricity distribution network investments.
  • It has an outlay of Rs 3 lakh crore for five years.
  • Half of the outlay is for better feeder and transformer metering and pre-paid smart consumer metering.
  • The remaining half, 60 percent of which will be funded by central government grants, will be spent on power loss reduction and strengthening networks.
  • RDSS stipulates universal pre-paid metering but post-paid options may be suitable in many contexts.

  What are the recent reforms in Coal Sector?

  • Commercial mining of coal is allowed, with 50 blocks to be offered to the private sector.
  • Entry norms will be liberalized as it has done away with the regulation requiring power plants to use “washed” coal.
  • Coal blocks to be offered to private companies on revenue sharing basis in place of fixed cost.
  • Coal gasification/liquefaction to be incentivized through rebate in revenue share.
  • Coal bed methane (CBM) extraction rights to be auctioned from Coal India’s coal mines.

Averting the power crisis: A way forward

(1) Ramp-up domestic coal production

  • The efforts are being taken to fill the shortage of coal from domestic mines and to do so the government is working closely with coal producing companies to ramp up domestic production of coal.

(2) Reduce demand-supply mismatches

  • Load shading is not new to India. Rationing of power supply in rural and semi-urban areas will be the immediate solution for the power distress in industrial areas.

(3) Rationalize the coal imports

  • India will need to amplify its imports despite the financial cost. The gap in the coal demand after domestic production has to be filled by the imports from Indonesia and Australia.

(4) Focus on Hydro-power generation and natural gal

  • India has the immense potential in the Hydro-power generation and is among the most important sector for generating electricity after thermal power plants. There could be a larger role for natural gas to play, even with global prices currently surging.

(5) Increasing the share of Renewable energy

  • Experts advocate a mix of coal and clean sources of energy as a possible long-term solution. It’s not completely possible to transition and it’s never a good strategy to transition 100% to renewables without a backup.
  • Long term investment in multiple power sources aside a crisis like the current one can be averted with better planning.

(6) Increased coordination

  • There is need for closer coordination between Coal India Limited – the largest supplier of coal in the country and other stakeholders.
  • For now, the government is working with state-run enterprises to ramp up production and mining to reduce the gap between supply and demand.

(7) Decentralized power generation

  • The main issue is that we are dependent on large, centralized power generation.
  • The only way our power sector can absorb shocks better is if large power plants are augmented by decentralized generation sources at village level.
  • This can be a template for better resilience to future power crises.

(8) Coal stocking norms

  • To avoid such a crisis situation in future, the Ministry of Power has worked out a strategy which includes tweaking the coal stocking norms. If the power plants do not follow them, then there will be a penal provision.
  • To overcome the storage issue in the generation of electricity from renewable sources, the government is working on a provision for creating more storage facilities in the grid.

Conclusion

  • India can learn a lesson from Europe’s power crisis. While Europe has gas power plants to stand in, India doesn’t have similar options.
  • As we move more towards greening our power sources, we need to provision for paying for standby thermal generation to avoid a mega-crisis.
  • Adequate liquidity for backup reserve capacity needs to be planned and provisioned for.
  • Probably, the present situation is a good opportunity to rethink and fine-tune the energy policy without further delay.
  • Bits and pieces reforms will not work anymore, as the chain has to been broken and a complete overhaul is required.

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Categories
Yojana/Sansad TV

[Sansad TV] Perspective: Cluttered Space

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Context

  • Four spherical metal balls fell from the sky in some villages of Gujarat over the past few days.
  • Some experts say they are most likely the debris of a Chinese rocket Chang Zheng 3B or fuel storage tanks of space launch vehicles.
  • With more & more space launches and events like space tourism kicking off, the space above Earth is overcrowded – calling for urgent attention from countries to declutter it.
https://spacenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/chinese-rocket-debris-in-Indian-village-2022-04-02.jpeg

What is Space Junk?

  • Space junk, or space debris, is any piece of machinery or debris left by humans in space.
  • It can refer to big objects such as dead satellites that have failed or been left in orbit at the end of their mission.
  • It can also refer to smaller things, like bits of debris or paint flecks that have fallen off a rocket.
  • Space debris encompasses both natural meteoroid and artificial (human-made) orbital debris.
  • Meteoroids are in orbit about the sun, while most artificial debris is in orbit about the Earth (hence the term “orbital” debris).

How are they generated?

  • All space junk is the result of us launching objects from Earth, and it remains in orbit until it re-enters the atmosphere.
  • Some objects in lower orbits of a few hundred kilometres can return quickly.
  • They often re-enter the atmosphere after a few years and, for the most part, they’ll burn up – so they don’t reach the ground.
  • But debris or satellites left at higher altitudes of 36,000 kilometres – where communications and weather satellites are often placed in geostationary orbits – can continue to circle Earth for hundreds or even thousands of years.
  • Some space junk results from collisions or anti-satellite tests in orbit.

How much space junk is there?

  • While there are about 2,000 active satellites orbiting Earth at the moment, there are also 3,000 dead ones littering space.
  • What’s more, there are around 34,000 pieces of space junk bigger than 10 centimetres in size and millions of smaller pieces that could nonetheless prove disastrous if they hit something else.

What risks does space junk pose to space exploration?

Fortunately, at the moment, space junk doesn’t pose a huge risk to our exploration efforts.

  • Collisions:  Collisions could cause significant damage to the space properties of the countries. Upon collision, the debris disables the satellites’ onboard electronics and may disrupt the services provided by the space assets.
  • Collateral damage: The biggest danger it poses is to other satellites in orbit. These satellites have to move out of the way of all this incoming space junk to make sure they don’t get hit and potentially damaged or destroyed.
  • High momentum strikes: As these debris travel at high speeds in the low earth orbit, they risk colliding with functional satellites or even the space station. Given that these particles travel at speeds of 8 metres per second, even a 100g object could create an impact comparable to a 30-kg stone travelling at 100kmph.
  • Usability of space: This debris orbit the earth several times a day. As the mass of space junk continues to grow, parts of the space may become unusable.  
  • Kessler Syndrome: It refers to a theoretical scenario in which the amount of space debris becomes so high that a single collision or destruction event could lead to a snowballing cascade of space debris- like a domino effect.

India and Space Debris

  • India had 103 spacecraft, including active and defunct satellites, and 114 space debris objects, including spent rocket bodies orbiting the earth.
  • So, the country has a total of 217 space objects orbiting the earth.
  • Presently, the ISRO has taken up research activities to study the feasibility and technologies required to undertake active debris removal (ADR).
  • ADR was one of the active methods suggested by the Space Debris Research Community to contain the growth of space debris objects.

Mechanism against damage

Space is beyond national jurisdiction and falls under the ambit of international law:

  • Under the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, countries can claim compensation from other countries for damages incurred from space debris.
  • The Outer Space Treaty, 1967 and the like outline the guidelines for the countries’ activities in space.
  • All space objects, including the defunct space debris, are under the jurisdiction of the ‘State of Registry’.
  • If something goes wrong during such manoeuvres, a liability regime under the applicable international law applies to not only the launching country but also other countries involved in the launch.
  • The UN Committee on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS) is tasked with space governance and there are already accepted guidelines for space debris mitigation and sustainability of space activities.

Efforts for space debris removal

There are four techniques that can move debris from heavily trafficked orbits:

  1. Deorbiting (the deliberate, forced re-entry of a space object into the Earth’s atmosphere by application of a retarding force, usually via a propulsion system)
  2. Orbital lifetime reduction (accelerating the natural decay of spacecraft and other space objects to reduce the time that they remain in orbit)
  3. Disposal orbits– Moving objects into less populated “disposal” orbits at the end of their functional lifetime
  4. Active removal of debris from orbit

Global efforts

  • NASA undertakes DAMs or Debris Avoidance Manoeuvres, which are navigation manoeuvres that take the space station away from its normal trajectory to avoid collisions, are undertaken based on the probability of collision.
  • NORAD, or the North American Aerospace Defence Command, is an initiative of the U.S. and Canada that shares selective debris data with many countries.
  • Clearspace-1 (of European Space Agency), which is scheduled to launch in 2025, will be the first space mission to eliminate debris from orbit.

India’s efforts: Project NETRA

  • NETRA stands for Network for Space Objects Tracking and Analysis (NETRA) project.
  • Project NETRA is an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites.
  • In this pursuit, space debris tracking radar with a range of 1,500 km and an optical telescope will be inducted as part of establishing an effective surveillance and tracking network under NETRA.

Way forward

  • Space junk is no one country’s responsibility, but the responsibility of every spacefaring country.
  • Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations.
  • High-accuracy assessment and prediction tools are essential for reducing risk to current systems and future launches.
  • Space traffic management is a crucial area that requires attention since the satellites in orbit can come in the way of each other.

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Categories
Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Abortion Debate

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Context

  • Around 36 million women across the US are on the verge of losing their right to legal abortion.
  • A draft document, leaked a couple of weeks ago, suggests that the Supreme Court has decided to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion across the country.

What will be the implications if Roe v Wade is struck down? How will the decision reverberate around the world? Let us analyse.

The Roe vs. Wade case: Upholding the Right to Abortion

  • Roe, short for Jane Roe, is the pseudonym for a Texas woman who in 1970 sought to have an abortion when she was five months pregnant.
  • Texas then had ban on abortions except to save a mother’s life. The case then went to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS).
  • The 7-2 majority opinion of the SCOTUS written in 1973, paved the way for the recognition of abortion as a constitutional right in the US considering foetal viability.

[Foetal viability is the point at which a foetus can survive outside the womb, at the time considered to be around 28 weeks, but today is closer to 23 or 24 weeks owing to advances in medicine and technology.]

Right to Abortion Judgment: Key takeaways

Based on the Roe vs Wade case, the framework of regulations that applied towards the right to abortion:

  1. Almost no limitations could be placed on that right;
  2. Only limitations to abortion rights that were aimed at protecting a woman’s health were permitted; and in the third trimester,
  3. State governments had greater leeway to limit the right to abortion except for cases in which the life and health of the mother were endangered.

What is the debate?

The abortion debate is the ongoing controversy surrounding the moral, legal, and religious status of induced abortion.

The sides involved in the debate are the self-described “pro-choice” and “pro-life” movements.

  1. Pro-choice emphasizes the woman’s choice whether to terminate a pregnancy.
  2. Pro-life position stresses the humanity of both the mother and foetus, arguing that a fetus is a human person deserving of legal protection.

Ethical questions raised

(1) The primary questions

The moral debate about abortion deals with two separate questions:

  1. Is abortion morally wrong?
  2. Should abortion be legal or illegal?

(2) The secondary questions

But those two questions don’t end the debate.

  1. If we conclude that abortion is not morally wrong, that doesn’t mean that it’s right to have an abortion;
  2. We need to ask whether having an abortion is the best thing (or least bad thing) to do in each particular case.
  3. If we conclude that abortion is morally wrong, that doesn’t mean that it’s always impermissible to have an abortion; we need to ask whether having an abortion is less wrong than the alternatives.

Why is there a possibility of the judgment being overturned?

  • Foetuses feel the pain: If the foetus is beyond 20 weeks of gestation, gynaecs assume that there will be pain caused to the foetus.
  • Biblical gospel: The Bible does not draw a distinction between foetuses and babies. By the time a baby is conceived, he or she is recognized by God.
  • Abortions cause psychological damage: Young adult women who undergo abortion may be at increased risk for subsequent depression.
  • Abortions reduce the number of adoptable babies: Instead of having the option to abort, women should give their unwanted babies to people who cannot conceive. Single parenthood is also gaining popularity in the US.
  • Cases of selective abortion: Such cases based on physical and genetic abnormalities (eugenic termination) is overt discrimination.
  • Abortion as a form of contraception: It is immoral to kill an unborn child for convenience. Many women are using abortion as a contraceptive method.
  • Morality put to question: If women become pregnant, they should accept the responsibility that comes with producing a child. People need to take responsibility for their actions and accept the consequences.
  • Abortion promotes throwaway culture: The legalization of abortion sends a message that human life has little value and promotes the throwaway culture.
  • Racial afflictions: Abortion disproportionately affects African American babies. In the US, black women are 3.3 times as likely as white women to have an abortion.

Arguments in favour for Abortion Rights

  • Upholding individual conscience and decision-making:  The US Supreme Court has declared abortion to be a fundamental right guaranteed by the US Constitution.
  • Reproductive choice empowers women: The choice over when and whether to have children is central to a woman’s independence and ability to determine her future.
  • Foetal viability occurs post-birth:  Personhood begins after a foetus becomes “viable” (able to survive outside the womb) or after birth, not at conception. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, not a baby.
  • No proof of foetal pain: Most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception. The cortex does not become functional until at least the 26th week of a foetus’ development.
  • Preventing illegal abortions: Access to legal, professionally-performed abortions reduces maternal injury and death caused by unsafe, illegal abortions.
  • Mother’s health: Modern abortion procedures are safe and do not cause lasting health issues such as cancer and infertility.
  • Child’s health: Abortion gives pregnant women the option to choose not to bring fetuses with profound abnormalities to full term.
  • Prevents women’s exclusion: Women who are denied abortions are more likely to become unemployed, to be on public welfare, to be below the poverty line, and to become victims of domestic violence.
  • Reproductive choice protects women from financial disadvantage: Many women who choose abortion don’t have the financial resources to support a child.
  • Justified means of population control: Many defends abortion as a way to curb overpopulation. Malnutrition, starvation, poverty, lack of medical and educational services, pollution, underdevelopment, and conflict over resources are all consequences of overpopulation.

Indian Case: Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act

  • Abortion in India has been a legal right under various circumstances for the last 50 years with the introduction of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act in 1971.
  • The Act was amended in 2003 to enable women’s accessibility to safe and legal abortion services.
  • Abortion is covered 100% by the government’s public national health insurance funds, Ayushman Bharat and Employees’ State Insurance with the package rate for surgical abortion.

The idea of terminating your pregnancy cannot originate by choice and is purely circumstantial. There are four situations under which a legal abortion is performed:

  1. If continuation of the pregnancy poses any risks to the life of the mother or mental health
  2. If the foetus has any severe abnormalities
  3. If pregnancy occurred as a result of failure of contraception (but this is only applicable to married women)
  4. If pregnancy is a result of sexual assault or rape

These are the key changes that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, has brought in:

  1. The gestation limit for abortions has been raised from the earlier ceiling of 20 weeks to 24 weeks, but only for special categories of pregnant women such as rape or incest survivors. But this termination would need the approval of two registered doctors.
  2. All pregnancies up to 20 weeks require one doctor’s approval. The earlier law, the MTP Act 1971, required one doctor’s approval for pregnancies upto 12 weeks and two doctors’ for pregnancies between 12 and 20 weeks.
  3. Women can now terminate unwanted pregnancies caused by contraceptive failure, regardless of their marital status. Earlier the law specified that only a “married woman and her husband” could do this.
  4. There is also no upper gestation limit for abortion in case of foetal disability if so decided by a medical board of specialist doctors, which state governments and union territories’ administrations would set up.

Way forward

  • A search for the middle path perhaps the right of a woman to choose what to do with the foetus has to be balanced with the right of the foetus to survive.
  • It is only that a foetus does not have the ability to exercise an option while the person who carries it does.
  • There could be no two opinions that a victim of rape shall be allowed the choice to abort.
  • Rather than banning abortion, lawmakers must focus on counselling, employment security, social welfare, and financial support to persuade pregnant women to give birth to their children.
  • We must achieve some degree of protection for the unborn by obtaining voluntary recognition of personal responsibility and respect for the personhood of the unborn.

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Categories
Burning Issues

[Burning Issue] Energy Transition & Challenges

Context

  • India has set ambitious targets towards the achievement of the dual goals of climate action and sustainable development through its nationally determined contributions and energy access commitments.
  • As India starts a new decade of energy transition, it is an opportune time to assess where India stands in achieving its targets as well as to identify the key challenges being faced during this transition.

What is Energy Transition?

  • Energy transition refers to the global energy sector’s shift from fossil-based systems of energy production and consumption — including oil, natural gas and coal — to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, as well as lithium-ion batteries.
  • The increasing penetration of renewable energy into the energy supply mix, the onset of electrification and improvements in energy storage are all key drivers of the energy transition.
  • Regulation and commitment to decarbonization has been mixed, but the energy transition will continue to increase in importance as investors prioritize environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

Ongoing Energy Trends

  • Global oil production has been basically static: Some areas are in an irreversible productive decline (e.g., the North Sea) while others, mainly the continental US, are experiencing a true renaissance in the production of petroleum liquids owing to the exploitation of oil shales.
  • Worldwide mineral production is generally static: The mining industry is facing the problem of diminishing ore grades for most minerals and the consequence is the need of more energy to maintain the same levels of production.
  • Agriculture is facing an energy problem: Agriculture is heavily dependent on fossil fuels for powering agricultural machinery, for the supply of fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation. The increasing prices of fossil fuels are being reflected in higher prices for all agricultural products.
  • Nuclear energy faces considerable difficulties: The past decade had seen a minor renaissance in the start of the construction of new plants, although still in numbers insufficient to replace the old plants being retired.  
  • Renewable energy is seeing an explosive growth worldwide:  The energy produced by the new renewables is still a minor fraction of the total of the world primary energy production, but it has been growing at exponential rates that, so far, show no sign of abating.
  • Focus on energy efficiency: We see an evident trend towards higher efficiency in both production and end uses of energy. It is a trend particularly evident in the residential sector, with buildings that reduce energy consumption by means of better insulation, high efficiency lighting, and more.  
  • Crunches for Fossil Fuels: We are facing more and more difficult times in maintaining the current system based on fossil fuels. The combined effects of depletion and of climate change are pushing humankind in undue energy anxiety.

India’s Energy Transition: Context- Setting

(1) Ambitious Target

  • India’s energy transition is characterized by its ambitious targets.  By the year 2022,
  • India seeks to provide all households in the country 24×7 power.
  • By 2022, India also seeks to install 175 GW of new renewable energy (RE) in the country.

(2) NDC Commitments

  • India in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) committed to three targets, which are to be achieved by the year 2030.
  • First, by 2030, 40% of India’s cumulative electric power installed capacity will come from non-fossil fuel-based energy sources.
  • Second, India will reduce the emission intensity of its gross domestic product (GDP) by 33–35% (vis-à-vis 2005 levels).
  • Third, India will create an additional carbon sink of 2.5–3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (through additional forest and tree cover).

(3) Current RE Capacity

  • India is world’s 3rd largest consumer of electricity and world’s 3rd largest renewable energy producer with 38% of energy capacity installed in the year 2020 (136 GW of 373 GW) coming from renewable sources.
  • Many states are still at early stages of developing their renewable energy capacity.
  • This is important to consider as India seeks to add more RE capacity in the coming months and years.

() Leadership

  • India is also showing global clean energy leadership through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, which has more than 70 member countries.
  • This is yet to materialize in its full capacity.

Various challenges

(1) Slowdown in the RE Tendering Process

  • India’s RE growth was at the slowest pace in the past 4 years.
  • There were several reasons for this, including the trends seen during the process of auctioning RE capacity.

 (2) Renewable Purchase Obligations as a Ceiling

  • One of the mechanisms for promoting the installation of RE capacity in India has been the stipulation of targets for a mandatory minimum purchase of a certain percentage of RE by utilities.
  • This is known as a Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO).
  • Many states has been asked by its regulator to curtail further procurement of solar energy from large-scale projects.

(3) Financial crunches  

  • When DISCOMs face cash flow issues, this results in RE producers also facing a liquidity crisis. Public sector banks are hesitant to grant loans to RE projects.
  • Not many private sector banks are forthcoming with loans.
  • Additionally, the interest rate of existing loans to RE companies has also witnessed a rise in recent months.

(4) Policy Uncertainty

  • Experts emphasize the importance of policy certainty for the enforcement of contracts and for the rule of law.
  • The value of the certainty of contracts and the importance of consistency and stability in rules and policy cannot be overstated in the energy sector in India.
  • Similar concerns have been raised by RE companies over the uncertainty over import duties, particularly for solar cells.

(5) Burden of demands

  • Much like China, India is finding itself in a precarious position.
  • To meet its high electricity demands, India has had to increase its reliance on fossil fuels while still developing its national grid to cope with expected surges in power demand.

(6) Others

  • High initial cost: While the coal-based power plants require an initial investment of about Rs. 4 crores per MW, the investments for solar and wind energy is far higher.  
  • Weather-dependency: Renewable energy sources like solar, wind, tide, etc., are dependent on weather conditions. If the favourable weather conditions are not available, it becomes inefficient and unfeasible.
  • Topographic barriers: Most renewable energy plants occupy large areas of space. This brings in the issue of the cost of the vast land area and other issues related to land acquisition.  
  • Threats to ecosystem: The turbines have caused noise pollution and are also killing birds while functioning. Ex. Decline in bustard population in Rajasthan.

Various govt. initiatives

  • Separate ministry: India is the first country in the world to have an exclusive ministry that is involved in the promotion and development of renewables – the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  • Nation Green Corridor Programme: This project aims at synchronizing energy that is produced from renewable energy sources with conventional stations.
  • National Clean Energy Fund: It is the fund created using the carbon tax for backing research and development of innovative eco-friendly technologies.
  • Draft National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy: Through this policy, the government seeks to promote new renewable energy projects and hybridization of the existing ones.  
  • National Offshore Wind Energy Policy: This involves the utilization of India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for the development of offshore wind farms up to 200 Nautical Miles from the baseline.
  • Grid Connected Solar Rooftop programme: It involves the installation of solar panel at the rooftops of the residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.
  • Small Hydropower Programme:  The potential of this programme is about 20,000 MW and it is mostly in the Himalayan States where the rivers are abundant and in States which have sufficient irrigation canals.
  • National Solar Mission: It is a part of the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It is an initiative to promote solar power in India.  .
  • Pradhan Mantri- Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan: PM- KUSUM aims at providing financial and water security to farmers by means of utilizing solar energy capacities of 25,750 MW by 2022.

Way forward

  • Ensure equity: It must be ensured that the opportunities of India’s transition are shared fairly throughout society — and workers and communities are not left to face the challenges alone.
  • Make it people-centric: To achieve the trifecta of jobs, growth and sustainability, India must strive to put people at the centre of its energy transformation.
  • Provisions for coal-dependent regions: New jobs would need to be found over time for the coal miners affected by the changes, as well as for people who work in the fossil fuel power plants that will close down.
  • Transition funds: Policymakers must earmark special“transition funds” to help coal-dependent regions, some of which are among India’s poorest.
  • Increase investment by rationalizing energy subsidies: Energy subsidies must be rationalized and directed towards those who need them most.
  • Finance mobilization: Fiscal resources freed up through subsidy reform should then be invested in clean energy solutions, especially in underdeveloped regions and marginalised communities.
  • Community participation: While India’s energy transition will create many new jobs, the limited participation of women in the growing green workforce must be addressed.
  • Engage youth: Engaging the youth is critical to ensure that the energy transition is sustainable, inclusive and enduring.

Conclusion

  • There is no doubt that ambitious RE and climate targets have pushed India well on its way to a clean energy future.
  • However, more needs to be done to help India achieve its potential.

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