Mains Monthly Magazine: January 2022

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SHORT NOTES ON ANALYSIS

  • Crisp and to the point notes based on posts from Samajho Analysis for the month.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Relevance: Mains- GS II- Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Criminal Justice System:

  • The Criminal Justice System (CJS) refers to the agencies of government charged with enforcing the law, adjudicating crime, and correcting criminal conduct.
  • This includes components like police, courts, prison, etc.
  • Objectives:

  • Components:
    • Legislative actions:
      • The process of our criminal justice system starts with legislative actions.
    • Law enforcement: 
      • Police or law enforcement sub-systems are the next part of the criminal justice system. 
      • The police are given these duties to preserve peace, law, and order, deter crime and arrest the violator of the law. 
    • Adjudication: 
      • It is a judicial process further divided into two i.e:
    • Prosecution: 
      • The prosecutor decides how the judicial sub-system should prosecute a suspected violator. 
    • Court: 
      • The role of the courts is more critical and essential than that of the police in the system of criminal justice. 
      • The primary mission of the Court is to provide justice that should be” fair, equal, quick, and unbiased.  
      • ‘Rule of law’ in a democratic society is the working instrument of justice. 
    • Correctional agency: 
      • Correctional institutions are the last critical part of the criminal justice system. 
      • The correctional subsystem tries to rehabilitate the offender to keep him or her from violating the law again.
  • Need for reforms:
    • Colonial Flavour: Law has not changed much since the colonial era.
    • Huge Pendency: There were about 4.4 crore pending cases in the Supreme Court, High Courts and district courts.
    • Disconnected process: The process is disconnected from the people it was built for and nurtured over time.
    • Complexities: Cumbersome procedures are listed to initiate a case and till its disposal. 
    • Inefficient Coordination: Lack of coordination and system approach poses a big hurdle as there is no proper SOP defined and followed, making problems bigger only for citizens.

DATA'S FOR QUICK REFERENCE

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau:
    • More than 80% of reported crimes went unpunished due to several reasons and the loopholes in the present criminal justice system.
    • More than 66% of India’s prisoners are undertrials, which is over twice the global average of 32%.
    • Of these 2,54,857 undertrials, more than 2,000 have been in prison for over five years.
    • Overburdened by the flood of arrestees prisons have experienced an increase in the number of undertrials and overcrowding. Indian jails operate at a national average of 119% occupancy.
    • India has one of the lowest police-population ratios, with 195 officers per 1,00,000 population (against the UN norms of 222).
  • Suggested reforms:
    • Recommendation of the Malimath Committee:

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted a national committee for reform in criminal law- Ranbir Singh Committee.
    • The committee would be gathering opinions online by consulting with experts and collating material for their report to the government.
  • Suggestions by NHRC Core Committee meeting:
    • Digitisation of documents would help in speeding up investigations and trials.
  • Increasing the number of police personnel and stations in proportion to the number of complaints in an area.
  • Including social workers and psychologists in the criminal justice system.
  • Way Ahead
    • A reformative criminal justice system must locate all factors, internal and external to the offender, that lead to the commission of a crime.
    • India is also a signatory to the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners.
    • It is enshrined in law, so there is a need to ensure that the condition for prisoners is decent, which does not happen in an overcrowded jail.
  • Conclusion:
    • The whole objective of the criminal justice system is to rehabilitate and facilitate social re-entry of those who are processed by the system. 
    • The reforms should not only make the Indian CJS more efficient but also be sensitive to both the innocent and the needs of the law enforcing officers.

Read more:

HATE SPEECH

Context: Recently, an FIR was filed against a leader in Uttarakhand for promoting enmity amongst different sections of society. 

Relevance: 

  • Mains: GS -II  Government Policies & Interventions, About Hate Speech, Reasons of increasing hate speech in the Indian Society and steps that can be taken to tackle these kinds of issues.

Hate Speech

  • Black’s Law Dictionary has defined it as “speech that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, such as a particular race, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence.”
  • Hate speech is neither defined in the Indian legal framework nor can it be easily reduced to a standard definition due to the myriad forms it can take.
  • The Supreme Court, in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan v. Union of India (2014), described hate speech as “an effort to marginalise individuals based on their membership in a group” and one that “seeks to delegitimise group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their social standing and acceptance within society.”
  • Free Speech vs Hate Speech:
    • The Constitution of India provides the right of freedom, given in article 19 with the view of guaranteeing individual rights that were considered vital by the framers of the constitution.
    • The right to freedom in Article 19 guarantees the freedom of speech and expression, as one of its six freedoms.
    • However, under Article 19(2), the constitution also provides for the reasonable restrictions against free speech in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
  • Recent Instances of Hate Speech in India:
    • In December 2021, the Haridwar Dharam Sansad took place, where the scale of hate speech got further intensified.
      • The actors were unabashedly calling for violence against Muslims. Some of those comments bordered on genocidal calls.
      • In fact, certain statements called for the replication of the violence unleashed against Rohingyas in Myanmar.
    • The controversial Yati Narsinghanand, facing several FIRs in UP, called for a “war against Muslims” and urged “Hindus to take up weapons” to ensure a “Muslim didn’t become the Prime Minister in 2029.”
  • Major Reasons for Hate Speech:
    • Illiteracy: Lack of education prevents the overall development of an individual. Still, about 23% of the population in India is illiterate.
      • This prevents the development of tolerance and understanding of individuality in them.
    • Prejudice and bias: Bias toward a particular group can be a reason for hate crimes. E.g 704 cases of crimes against Northeast people in Delhi in 3 years. It can incite hate crimes against them without making any difference between culprit and innocent.
    • Lack of strong laws: lack of strong and clear laws, poor implementation results in low conviction rate. So, culprits are left to roam freely.
    • Vote bank politics: Often vote bank politics, use various communal or emotional tools to garner the vote of a few groups by inciting hatred in them.
      • They use false stories, news, etc to incite such incidents.
    • Superiority Feeling :
      • Individuals believe in stereotypes that are ingrained in their minds and these stereotypes lead them to believe that a class or group of persons are inferior to them and as such cannot have the same rights as them.
    • Doggedness to Particular Ideology:
      • The stubbornness to stick to a particular ideology without caring for the right to co-exist peacefully adds further fuel to the fire of hate speech.
  • Challenges in regulating hate speech:
    • Freedom to speech: Any regulations for social media content should follow globally accepted norms of freedom of speech and impartiality which is hard to apply with the restrictions on the content.
    • Independent Regulator: An independent regulator can be misused in geographies where the idea of impartiality is used to the wish of the ruling regimes.
    • Privacy Regulation: The introduction of privacy regulations such as the European Union’s General data protection regulation (GDPR) signalled the fact that the self-regulation of the platforms didn’t work in the desired way.
    • Lack of social consensus against hate speech: No matter how precise and how definite we try to make our concept of hate speech, it will inevitably reflect individual judgment.
  • Way forward:
    • The need of the hour is specialized legislation that will govern hate speech propagated via the Internet and, especially, social media.
    • Reference can be drawn to the Australian federal law called the Criminal Code Amendment Act, 2019, which imposes liability upon Internet service providers if such persons are aware that any abhorrent violent material, which is defined to include material that a reasonable man would regard as offensive,  is accessible through the service provided by them.
    • The Law Commission of India recommended that new provisions in IPC are required to be incorporated to address the issue of hate speech.
    • Code of conduct: the European Union has also established a code of conduct to ensure the non-proliferation of hate speech under the framework of a ‘digital single market.’
  • Conclusion:
    • Action commonly taken against modern­day hate speeches have a whack­a­mole effect wherein the underlying objective of inciting communal disharmony or hatred, despite the detention of the offender, survives through digital or social media platforms for eternity.
    • Thus, taking a cue from best international standards, it is important that specific and durable legislative provisions that combat hate speech, especially that which is propagated online and through social media, are enacted by amending the IPC and the Information Technology Act.

Read more:

SRI LANKAN ECONOMIC CRISIS

Context: 

  • Earlier this year, Sri Lanka declared an economic emergency amid rising food prices, a depreciating currency, and rapidly depleting forex reserves.
  • According to officials at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), the island nation's continuous electricity supply could be assured until January 22. Previously, it was said the supplies could be ensured until January 18.

Relevance:

  • Mains: GS-II India and its neighbourhood relations; Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interest, Indian diaspora

Sri Lankan Economic Crisis:

  • On 31 August 2021, Sri Lanka declared a state of economic emergency, as it is running out of foreign exchange reserves for essential imports like food. 
  • The emergency move followed sharp price rises for sugar, rice, onions and potatoes, while long queues have formed outside stores because of shortages of milk powder, kerosene oil and cooking gas.
  • Factors that led to the crisis:
    • Pandemic: 
      • The COVID-19 pandemic impacted Sri Lanka’s foreign currency inflow, largely dependent on remittances, tourism and specific exports like garments and tea. 
      • The tourism industry, which represents over 10% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and brings in foreign exchange, has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. 
      • As a result, forex reserves have dropped from over $7.5 billion in 2019 to around $2.8 billion in July 2021. 
    • Debt Financing:
      • While COVID-19 exacerbated the balance of payments crisis, debt financing was a pre-COVID-19 predicament.
      • Consequently, Sri Lanka must cough up around US$7 billion in 2022 to various creditors to service its debts, which between now and 2026 will amount to around US$26 billion. 
    • Chinese Debt trap:
      • Sri Lanka owes at least $8 billion to China alone.
      • Unable to service its debt, in 2017, Sri Lanka lost the unviable Hambantota port to China for a 99-year lease.
      • Nevertheless, Sri Lanka has increasingly relied on Chinese credit to address its foreign debt burden.
    • Scam allegations on Government:
      • The regime was also linked to various scams related to propane and butane ratio in cooking gas cylinders, on contaminated fertiliser from China, which worsened conditions. 
  • Governments response:
    • The army has been tasked with the duty of seizing food supplies from traders and supplying them to consumers at fair prices. 
      • It has also been given the powers to ensure that forex reserves are used only for the purchase of essential goods. 
    • The government has refused to end its aggressive push for complete organic farming claiming that the short-term pain of going organic will be compensated by its long-term benefits. 
    • Further, Sri Lanka’s central bank earlier this year prohibited traders from exchanging more than 200 Sri Lankan rupees for an American dollar and stopped traders from entering into forward currency contracts.
  • India's response:
    • Recently, India announced a USD 500 million credit line to help Sri Lanka purchase petroleum products as the island nation struggles with a massive fuel and energy crisis.
    • Early this week, the Indian government announced a billion-dollar assistance package in addition to other balance of payment support to Sri Lanka.
    • The billion-dollar loan credit facility is to be used to avert a food crisis while allowing for the import of items and medicines.
    • India’s assistance to Sri Lanka during the pandemic has been varied and need-based.
      • India has sent about 150 tonnes more oxygen to Sri Lanka to help the island nation combat the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • India and Sri Lanka agreed to a four-pronged approach to discuss initiatives on food and energy security to help mitigate Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.
      • The decisions included a four-pillar initiative, comprising
        • lines of credit for food,
        • medicines and fuel purchases granted by India,
        • a currency swap agreement to deal with Sri Lanka's balance of payment issues,
        • an “early” modernisation project of the Trinco oil farms that India has been pursuing for several years, and a Sri Lankan commitment to facilitate Indian investments in various sectors.

Read more :

RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT

Context:

  • NATO sends ships and jets to eastern Europe in the Ukraine crisis.

Relevance:

  • Mains: GS-I History of the World; GS-II International Relations; Effects of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interest.

Russia-Ukraine Crisis:

  • The conflict playing out between Russia and Ukraine is one marked by land borders and shaped by strategic influence. 
  • The US intelligence reports said the tension on the Russia-Ukraine border represents a major security crisis for the region, with the potential to snowball into a broader conflict.
  • Ukraine says that Russia has amassed around 1,00,000 troops at the border
  • Causes of the conflict:
    • Balance of Power:
      • Ever since Ukraine split from the Soviet Union, both Russia and the West have vied for greater influence in the country in order to keep the balance of power in the region in their favour.
    • Buffer Zone for Western Countries:
      • For the US and the European Union, Ukraine is a crucial buffer between Russia and the West.
    • Russian Interest in the Black Sea:
      • The unique geography of the Black Sea region confers several geopolitical advantages to Russia.
      • Access to the Black Sea is vital for all littoral and neighbouring states, and greatly enhances the projection of power into several adjacent regions.
      • Secondly, the region is an important transit corridor for goods and energy.
    • Protests in Ukraine:
      • Euromaidan Movement: Euromaidan (European Square) was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began in November 2013 with public protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”) in Kyiv, Ukraine.
      • Separatist Movement:The Donbas region (the Donetsk and Luhansk regions) of eastern Ukraine has been facing a pro-Russian separatist movement since 2014.
    • Invasion of Crimea:
      • Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in what was the first time a European country annexed territory from another country since World War-2.
      • The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine followed a Russian military intervention in Crimea that took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and was part of wider unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine.
      • The invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea have given Russia a maritime upper hand in the region.
    • Ukraine's NATO Membership:
      • Ukraine has urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to speed up the country’s membership in the alliance.
      • The Black Sea is bordered by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. All these countries except Russia & Ukraine are NATO countries.
  • Concerns:
    • Russia does not want Ukraine in NATO – and has said as much in its list of security demands which were sent to the US last December.
      • The demands included a halt to any NATO drills near Russia’s border.
    • Putting sanctions on Russia may not be enough to deter her.
    • A major blockage has been Russia’s insistence that it is not a party to the conflict and therefore is not bound by its terms mentioned in the Minsk 2 Agreement.
    • Any kind of military action by the US or EU against Russia would precipitate a major crisis for the whole world and has so far not been mooted by any of the parties involved.
  • Impact on India:
    • India is a traditional defender of national sovereignty, even against doctrines such as the global community’s ‘Responsibility to Protect’ persecuted minorities within national borders. 
    • In 2014, the Russian annexation of Crimea created problems for India.
    • And if Moscow again takes military action against Ukraine, it will significantly complicate India’s objectives vis-à-vis Russia, China, the US, Europe, and even Ukraine.
    • Deepen Russia-China relations:
      • The Ukraine crisis would hinder Delhi’s interest in preventing a further deepening of Russia’s ties with China.
    • Strains India-Russia relationship:
      • Russian military action against Ukraine would complicate India’s efforts to maintain a delicate balance between its partnerships with the US, Europe, and Russia.
    • Strains India-Ukraine relations:
      • The rift between Russia and Ukraine, which burst out into armed combat when Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, has created a potential dilemma for India.
    • Concerns over India-Europe engagements:
      • A Russia-Ukraine crisis could also create headwinds for India’s move to deepen security and economic ties with European partners.
      • A crisis nearer home could reduce Europe’s increased attention to Asia, especially India.
  • Way Ahead: 
    • Striking a Balance: Russia is important to India- So is Ukraine.
      • India did not join the Western powers’ condemnation of Russia’s intervention in Crimea and kept a low profile on the issue.
      • In November 2020, India voted against a Ukraine-sponsored resolution in the United Nations (UN) that condemned alleged human rights violations in Crimea thereby backing old ally Russia on the issue.
      • During a UNSC meeting in May 2021, India signalled its backing for traditional partner Russia on the Ukraine issue.
      • India has advocated political and diplomatic solutions that protect the legitimate interests of all countries in the region and ensure long term peace and stability in Europe and beyond.
    • India should encourage both Russia and the US to try to reach a compromise with a mutually acceptable agreement in the forthcoming meeting in Geneva next month.
    • The path forward can only be through peaceful dialogue for a lasting solution acceptable to all concerned.

Read more:

CONFRONTATION BETWEEN GOVERNORS AND STATE GOVERNMENT

Context: 

  • The office of the Governor has frequently been under attack, usually for functioning at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre. 

Relevance:

  • Mains: GS II- Indian Polity
    • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues, and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
    • Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Tussle within state executive:

  • Recent incidents:
    • In Maharashtra, the Governor refused to accept the date of election of the Speaker recommended by the State government.
    • In Kerala, the State Governor has reappointed the Vice-Chancellor of Kannur University in accordance with the law, made an allegation that he was under pressure from the Government to reappoint the Vice-Chancellor.
    • The Tamil Nadu assembly’s unanimous anti-NEET Bill seeking to nullify the national-level test for MBBS admissions is still lying with the governor’s office, more than three months after it was sent to the Raj Bhavan. The governor is yet to forward it to the President for assent.
  • Issues in the working of the Governor:
    • Appointment of Governor:
      • The process of appointment has generally been a cause of various issues associated with the office of Governor.
      • The post has been reduced to becoming a retirement package for politicians for being politically faithful to the government of the day.
    • Misuse of powers:
      • Governor’s discretionary powers to invite the leader of the largest party/alliance, post-election, to form the government has often been misused to favour a particular political party.
      • The imposition of the President’s rule (Article 356) in case of breakdown of constitutional machinery in a State has been frequently misused by the central government.
      • Reservation of Bills for Consideration of President: However, the central government, through the office of the governor, has used this provision to serve partisan interests.
    • Abuse of Power by the Centre:
      • There are numerous examples of the Governor’s position being abused, usually at the behest of the ruling party at the Centre.
    • Puppet Rulers:
      • Recently, the Governor of Rajasthan has been charged with the violation of the model code of conduct.
      • His support of the central ruling party is against the spirit of non-partisanship that is expected from the person sitting on constitutional posts.
    • Removal of the Governor:
      • The governor has no security of tenure and no fixed term of office.
        • E.g.: The mass changing of the governors of state whenever a new government comes to power at the Centre.
  • Recommendations to tackle these concerns:
    • S.R. Bommai Judgment:
      • Supreme Court issued the historic order, which in a way put an end to the arbitrary dismissal of State governments under Article 356 by spelling out restrictions.
      • The verdict concluded that the power of the President to dismiss a State government is not absolute.
      • The verdict ruled that the floor of the Assembly is the only forum that should test the majority of the government of the day and not the subjective opinion of the Governor.
      • It also started the concept of the floor test.
    • Sarkaria Commission(1998):
      • Recommended that Article 356 should be used in very rare cases when it becomes unavoidable to restore the breakdown of constitutional machinery in the State.
      • The commission recommended that before taking action under Article 356, a warning should be issued to the state government that it is not functioning according to the constitution.
    • Punchhi Commission (2007):
      • A Commission headed by former Chief Justice of India M M Punchhi was set up in April 2007 to take a fresh look at the roles and responsibilities of governments at various levels, and the relations between them.
      • The Commission recommended that there should be clear guidelines for the appointment of Chief Ministers so that there was some sort of regulation on the discretionary power of the Governor.
  • Way Ahead:
    • Governor’s office should be apolitical:
      • There should be a panel involving the opposition, ruling party, civil society and the judiciary in the selection process of Governor.
      • Governor should be appointed only after consultation with the CM of the state where he/she will work
    • Judicious  and impartial:
      • For the smooth functioning of a democratic government, it is equally important that the governor must act judiciously, impartially and efficiently while exercising his discretion and personal judgment.
    • Upholding federalism:
      • To check misuse of the office of governor, there is a need to strengthen the federal setup in India.
      • In this regard, the Inter-State council and the role of Rajya Sabha as the chamber of federalism must be strengthened.
    • Reforming the appointment procedure:
      • The 'procedure for appointment of governors should be clearly laid down and conditions of appointment must also be laid down and must assure a fixed tenure for the governor so that the governor is not under the constant threat of removal by the central government.
  • Conclusion:
    • The Governor is a high constitutional authority. He needs to function within the four walls of the Constitution and be a friend, philosopher and guide to his government.

Read more:

  • Governor and associated issues

CASE STUDIES

  • Contains some important case studies that can be quoted/used in UPSC CSE Mains answers/essays.

GS-I

ART AND CULTURE

BACTERIA TO RESTORE CLASSICAL ART

  • Art restorers usually use chemical agents, laser techniques to remove dirt, oil, glue, or pollutants from monuments, stoneworks, and paintings.
  • Now even micro-organisms have been recognised in protecting the artistic heritage.
  • Bio-restoration:
    • Living bacterial cells are suspended in a gel are applied to paintings and left for the bacteria to act, to restore the painting.
    • This cleaning biotechnology removes the stain without side effects on the mural paintings pigments.
    • Bio-restoration techniques are safe, low-cost, non-invasive, time-saving, and risk-free.
    • Silver nanoparticles were used to sterilization the mural paintings after the final step in the bio-restoration process to insure the death of bacterial cells.
    • Bacteria used for this purpose are referred to as grime-eating bacteria. 
  • The Archaeological Survey of India is looking for options to employ these bacteria to restore the Taj Mahal.
    • The Taj Mahal suffers from discolouration due to pollution. Scientists believe that calcifying bacteria can be used on Taj.

Case study can be used :

  • as a method to restore art and heritage monuments. (GS-I)
  • as an example of bio-restoration or as benefits from microorganisms. (GS-III)

STONE EROSION AND WEATHERING DAMAGING THE SUN TEMPLE

  • Konark Sun Temple:
    • Konark Sun Temple, located in the East Odisha near the sacred city of Puri.
    • Built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1238-1264).
      • Its scale, refinement and conception represent the strength and stability of the Eastern Ganga Empire as well as the value systems of the historic milieu.
      • The Eastern Ganga dynasty also known as Rudhi Gangas or Prachya Gangas.
      • It was the large Indian royal dynasty in the medieval era that reigned from Kalinga from as early as the 5th century to the early 15th century.
      • The beginnings of what became the Eastern Ganga dynasty came about when Indravarma I defeated the Vishnukundin king.
    • The temple is designed in the shape of a colossal chariot.
      • It is dedicated to the sun god.
      • There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the Konark sun temple. Some say the wheels represent the 24 hours in a day and others say the 12 months.
      • The seven horses are said to symbolise the seven days of the week.
      • Sailors once called this Sun Temple of Konark, the Black Pagoda because it was supposed to draw ships into the shore and cause shipwrecks.
    • It marks the highest point of achievement of Kalinga architecture depicting the grace, the joy and the rhythm of life in all its wondrous variety.
    • It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984.
  • The temple is getting damaged by a number of factors:
    • Sand particles carried by the wind eroding the stones; blunted the fineness of the carved figurines 
    • Foundation collapsed due to settlement or natural catastrophes like cyclones, lightning, earthquake.
  • Conservation of the temple:
    • The British administration in 1903 had filled the hall with sand and sealed it in order to maintain the durability of the thirteenth-century world heritage site.
      • They had made a hole on the top portion of the Jaga Mohan and poured the sand through that.
      • The need to remove the sand was felt after a study warned of possible damage caused by the sand settling down — resulting in a gap of 17 feet between the sand layer and the structure.
    • To carry out the sand-removing process, ASI is going to be assisted by the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) at Roorkee, which had done a scientific study on the temple’s structural stability between 2013 and 2018.
    • To arrest the erosion by shifting sands:
      • Large-scale plantation of casuarina and poonang trees was taken up in the direction of the sea in order to check the movement of sand-laden winds and thereby minimise their abrasive action.
        • These tall trees were all destroyed in the super cyclone of 1999.
      • The authorities then planted cashew nut trees, which do not grow high and offer little protection from the sand particles carried by the wind.
        • This has accelerated the erosion.
      • Furthermore, the entire compound was paved with stone blocks, which stopped the natural sand percolation of rainwater, resulting in waterlogging of the temple every year.

Kalinga Architecture

  • In Kalinga Architecture, basically, a temple is made in two parts, a tower and a hall.
    • The tower is called deula and the hall is called jagmohan.
  • The walls of both the deula and the jagmohan are lavishly sculpted with architectural motifs and a profusion of figures.
  • The most repeated form is the horseshoe shape, which has come from the earliest times, starting with the large windows of the chaitya-grihas.
  • It is the deula that makes three distinct types of temples in Kalinga Architecture:
    • Rekha Deula.
    • Pidha Deula.
    • Khakhara Deula.
  • The former two are associated with Vishnu, Surya and Shiva temples while the third is mainly with Chamunda and Durga temples.
  • The Rekha Deula and Khakhara Deula houses the sanctum sanctorum while the Pidha Deula constitutes outer dancing and offering halls.

 

Case study can be used :

  • as an example of the impact of natural calamities on architecture; the influence of eroding agents on monuments (GS-I)
  • as an important example for Kalinga architecture (GS-I)
  • as examples for environmental remediation against erosion and calamities(GS-III)

SOCIETY

KINDNESS WALL AT GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS

  • 300 government schools have been selected under a pilot project to encourage ‘Good Samaritan’ behaviour by setting up ‘Kindness Walls’.
  • The initiative, to “promote the spirit of anonymous giving” and “set up a model in this regard” for students, is to support people who wish to make donations in kind and need help reaching those who might need it.
  • The ‘Kindness Wall’ is to be a portion of the outer face of the boundary wall of the selected government school, marked with a large red poster saying that it is a ‘Neki Ki Deewar’.
  • Multiple hooks are to be attached to the wall, where people willing to donate any item – clothes, food, shoes – can hang it up.
    • Those in need may pick them up from the wall at any time.
  • Schools have been told that this should be “promoted as an anonymous giving and receiving initiative where the dignity of the receiver is upheld all the time”.
  • According to an education department official, the central position of public schools in community life as well as in relief work during the pandemic made them ideal for this initiative.
    • It is basically to encourage good samaritans to donate anything that they have in excess to those who might need it.
    • School walls were chosen as a school is usually the most prominent building in the neighbourhood and is accessible to everyone.
    • Schools have also served many functions – as food distribution centres, vaccination centres, shelter homes – which is also why we think they are the ideal place.

Case study can be used :

  • as an example of measures to encourage commonness, brotherhood and develop social capital in the society (GS-I)
  • as ways to cultivate empathy, compassion in society, especially among students (GS-IV)

DEMOGRAPHIC CRISIS IN CHINA

  • China’s population growth rate has fallen to its lowest level in six decades, barely outnumbering deaths in 2021 despite major government efforts to increase population growth and stave off a demographic crisis.
  • Across China, 10.62 million babies were born in 2021, a rate of 7.52 per thousand people.
  • In the same period 10.14 million deaths were recorded, a mortality rate of 7.18 per thousand, producing a population growth rate of just 0.34 per thousand head of population.
  • The rate of growth is the lowest since 1960 and adds to the findings of last May’s once-a-decade census, which found an average annual raise of 0.53%, down from 0.57% reported from 2000 to 2010.
  • China, like much of East Asia, is in the grip of a population crisis, with a lowering birthrates, and predictions of imminent negative population growth and an ageing population.
  • Beijing has announced major reforms to address the decline, including raising the retirement age.
  • A three-child policy has replaced the two-child policy that was introduced in 2016 and had sparked a slight increase in births before falling again.
  • The high cost of living, delayed marriages and lack of social mobility are frequently cited as contributing factors to young Chinese people’s reluctance to have children. I
  • n response, Beijing has banned expensive private tutoring and pledged better access to childcare and maternity leave.
  • China also faces potential instability on the economic front, with GDP data published alongside the population findings revealing a dramatic slowdown in the final months of 2021.
  • China, the world’s second-largest economy, reported a higher-than-expected GDP rise of 8.1% year-on-year, beyond the government’s predictions of 6%, but with the growth concentrated in the first half of the year. 

Case study can be used:

  • while analysing the demographic situation of India and comparing it with China; Population and associated issues (GS-I)
  • Government policies and interventions for the development in various sectors and issues arising put of their design and implementation (GS-II)

WOMEN

ISSUES WOMEN FACES

  • Cinema industry:
    • The incident, where a prominent woman actor was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car and another actor, was arrested associated with the issue.
    • The incident threw the spotlight on the safety of women in the state, and the issues faced by women in the film industry, which is largely seen as a male-dominated space operating without a legal framework.
    • In July 2017, the government formed the three-member commission headed by retired justice K Hema with retired bureaucrat KB Valsalakumari and veteran actor Sharada as members.
      • It was the first time a commission of this kind had been formed anywhere in India to scrutinise the inner workings of a film industry.
    • While the report was not made public, the commission reportedly highlighted the existence of a 'casting couch' within the industry where actors were asked to perform sexual favours in exchange for opportunities.
      • The commission also found that alcohol and drug abuse was widespread on film sets.
      • It recommended that the government form a tribunal to investigate all such lapses.
  • Cyberspace threats:
    • Taking cognisance of multiple complaints that photographs of Muslim women had been posted on one “Bulli Bai” mobile app for fake auctions, the police in Delhi and Mumbai have registered separate cases.
    • This is the second such case reported since July 2021, when a similar application named “Sulli Deals” -in which images of Muslim women were uploaded in the same manner -was detected.

Legal Provisions invoked associated with these incidents

  • The police have invoked Sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 354D, 500 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act.
    • Section 153A pertains to the offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony;
    • Section 153B relates to imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration.
    • Section 295A provides punishment for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings.
    • Section 354D provides that any man who monitors the use by a woman of the internet. email or any other form of electronic communication with malintent commits the offence of stalking.
      • Under this provision, the punishment may extend to five years of imprisonment with a fine, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction.
    • Section 500 defines the punishment for defamation.
    • Section 509 of the IPC addresses the offence of word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.
    • Section 67 of the IT Act lays down the punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form.
      • The first conviction attracts imprisonment up to three years and a fine up to 75 lakh and the second or subsequent conviction may lead to imprisonment up to five years and a fine that may extend to 10 lakh.

Other provisions related to cybercrimes:

  • Section 66E of the IT Act prescribes punishment for violation of privacy.
  • Sections 354A: sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment)
  • 354C (voyeurism) of the IPC, which were introduced along with sections 354B and 354D in 2013, may also be applied in conjunction with the relevant IT Act provisions, based on the nature of the offence.

Responsibilities of intermediaries like Social media platforms:

  • Although the intermediaries are not liable for any third-party data or communication link hosted or stored by them, they are required to retain the requisite data for a duration as prescribed by the Government and supply the same to the authorities concerned, as and when sought.
  • Any contravention attracts punishment as prescribed under the IT Act.
  •  Other measures to counter these threats:
    • On February 25, 2021, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules. 2021.
      • Its provision -“Due diligence by intermediaries and grievance redressal mechanism” -requires them to inform their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share any illegal information.
      • They include contents that are defamatory, obscene, pornographic, pedophilic, invasive of another's privacy, insulting or harassing on the basis of gender, libellous, racially or ethnically objectionable, etc.
      • The intermediaries, on the direction of the court or appropriate government agency, are prohibited from hosting, storing or publishing any information declared unlawful.
      • Within 24 hours from the receipt of a complaint from, or on behalf of. an individual about any offensive content, they are required to take all reasonable and practicable measures to remove or disable access to it.

Read more about:

Case study can be used:

  • as examples/incidents highlighting issues faced by women and measures to counter them  (GS-I)
  • mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections (GS-II)
  • Ethical concerns and applied ethics (GS-IV)

GENDER EQUALITY

  • In Kerala school, no sir or madam, only “teacher”.
    • The government-aided Senior Basic School at Olassery village has become the first school in the state to bring in gender neutrality in addressing a teacher.
  • The words ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ are against gender justice. Teachers should be addressed by their designation, not by their gender.
  • The new way of addressing the teachers would help students to create awareness about gender justice. The address of ‘sir’ is a relic of the colonial era, which should be done away with.

Gender Inequality

  • Unpaid Labor:
    • On average, women spend 2.4 more hours per day than men on unpaid care and domestic work.
    • Among people who participate in the paid economy, women spend an average of four hours more per day than men on paid and unpaid work combined.
  • Discriminative Policies:
    • Beyond complex gendered norms, some of the economic vulnerability imposed on women also comes from policy and political decisions that have persistently deprived them of compensation in the form of equal pay, paid maternity leave, universal health, unemployment and care benefits.
  • Effect of Covid:
    • Women have been hit harder than men by the pandemic, losing income and leaving the labour market at a greater rate. This vulnerability is due to gender inequality.
    • Women are 25% more likely than men to live in extreme poverty.
    • Only one in ten countries and territories, however, have policies addressing women’s economic security needs, according to the Covid-19 Global Gender Response Tracker.
  • Recently, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its latest report named “Protecting Women's Livelihoods in Times of Pandemic: Temporary Basic Income and the Road to Gender Equality” has proposed a Temporary Basic Income (TBI) for poor women in developing countries.

 

Case study can be used:

  • while suggesting measures to address gender inequality and to bring behavioural changes (GS-I and GS-II)

 

GS-II

POLITY & CONSTITUTION

DEFINING EWS

  • The government has accepted the report by a committee under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, which examined the income criteria for determining who are to be included among the EWS.
  • EWS Quota:
    • Background
      • On July 29 last year, the Centre had issued a notification for implementing a 10% reservation for EWS along with 27% for OBC within these courses.
      • Following the petitions, the Supreme Court has stayed counselling for admission until the matter is decided.
      • The NEET notification followed the same criteria for determining EWS as mentioned in a notification from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
      • EWS reservation was granted based on the recommendations of a commission headed by Major General (retd) S R Sinho.
      • The Commission for Economically Backward Classes was constituted by the then government in 2005 and submitted its report in July 2010.
      • Based on this, the Cabinet in January 2019 decided to amend the Constitution (103rd Amendment) to provide reservation to EWS.
    • Criteria:
      •  Income criteria: The criteria include an Rs 8 lakh income ceiling for inclusion in EWS — which is the same as the criterion for deciding the “creamy layer” among the OBCs (those who are not in government).
        • The notification said income shall include income from all sources i.e. salary, agriculture, business, profession, etc for the financial year prior to the year of application.
      • Another criterion is that a person whose family owns or possesses 5 acres of agricultural land or more will be excluded from EWS.
    • New Committee:
      • The committee aimed to revisit the criteria for determining the economically weaker sections in terms of the provisions of the explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution.
      • It followed the Supreme Court’s observation that the income criterion for determining EWS was “arbitrary”.
      • The Supreme Court is presently hearing a number of petitions, including a special leave petition filed by the Centre against a Madras HC order on EWS and OBC reservation in the all-India quota for NEET.
      • Key Recommendations:
        • The report says that the “threshold of Rs 8 lakh of annual family income, in the current situation, seems reasonable for determining EWS”.
        • The committee has recommended that EWS may, however, exclude, irrespective of income, a person whose family has 5 acres of agricultural land and above.
        • The committee has removed the criteria that excluded some categories from EWS:
          • Owners of residential properties of 1,000 sq ft and above
          • Residential plots of 100 sq yards and above in notified municipalities
          • Residential plots of 200 sq yards and above in areas other than the notified municipalities
      • Recommendations and questions raised by Supreme Court:
        • The Supreme Court has earlier questioned the basis of Rs 8 lakh criteria and termed it arbitrary without any substantiation.
        • It asserted that this criterion is similar to that of Creamy Layer in OBCs.
        • The committee’s report now states the two sets of criteria are significantly different despite both using the Rs 8 lakh cut-off and the criteria for the EWS.
          • EWS criteria are much more stringent than those for the OBC creamy layer.
        • The report justifies this income limit, stating that Rs 8 lakh cut off also has a link with the income tax exemption limit.
        • It would, therefore, be logical to use the income tax exemption limit to determine the threshold for EWS.

Case study can be used as:

  • Need and hurdles associated with the EWS quota and constitutional provisions associated (GS-II)
  • Government policies and interventions for the development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. (GS-II)
  • Mechanism, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections. (GS-II)

UCC IS FOR LEGISLATORS TO DECIDE, NOT COURT

  • Seeking dismissal of a petition which prays for the drafting of the Uniform Civil Code, the Centre has told Delhi High Court that it is a matter of policy for elected representatives of the people to decide, and no direction in this regard can be issued by the court.
  • The matter is currently pending with the Law Commission of India.
    • The 21st Law Commission, after receiving several representations from various stakeholders, undertook detailed research on the matter and had uploaded a consultation paper titled ‘Reform of Family Law’ on its website on August 31, 2018, for wider discussions.
  • Uniform Civil Code (UCC):
    • A UCC is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc.
    • 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.
      • The provision is provided to effect the integration of India by bringing various communities on the common platform on matters that are presently governed by diverse personal laws.
      • This article is based on the concept that in matters of inheritance, right to property, maintenance and succession, there will be a common law.
      • Article 44 divests religion from social relations and personal law.
      • Citizens belonging to different religions and denominations follow different property and matrimonial laws which is an affront to the nation’s unity.
    • These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.
    • Shah Bano reference
      • In the Shah Bano case, the apex court had said that a common civil code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to laws having conflicting ideologies.
      • It also observed that the State was charged with the duty of securing UCC for the citizens of the country.
    • The Supreme Court hailed the State of Goa as a “shining example” where a “uniform civil code” is applicable to all, regardless of religion except while protecting certain limited rights.
    • Need of 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.
    • Issues associated with UCC:
      • There are practical difficulties due to religious and cultural diversity in India.
      • The UCC is often perceived by the minorities as an encroachment on 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.

Read more about:

Case study can be used:

  • need for UCC; constitutional provisions associated with the promotion of unity, brotherhood (GS-II)
  • as a way ahead to address issues associated with communalism, regionalism, threats to secularism (GS-I)

JUDICIAL REFORMS

  • Recently, Supreme Court judge Justice D Y Chandrachud underlined the importance of a change in mental attitudes as the judiciary aligns more with technology and aims to go paperless.
  • Issues associated with the judiciary:
    • Delay in Justice
      • As of July 30, 2021, nearly 4 crore cases — over 1 crore civil and nearly 3 crore criminal — are pending in lower and subordinate courts across India. 
      • Low Performance of India on ease of doing business because of lag in `enforcement of contract'
    • Persisting Vacancies:
      • Across India, there are vacancies against even the sanctioned strengths of courts and in the worst performing states those vacancies exceed 30 per cent.
      • Due to this, the average waiting period for trial in lower courts is around 10 years and 2-5 years in HCs.
    • Poor State of Subordinate Judiciary:
      • District courts across the country also suffer from inadequate infrastructure and poor working conditions, which need drastic improvement, particularly if they are to meet the digital expectations raised by the higher judiciary.
      • Also, there is a yawning digital divide between courts, practitioners and clients in metropolitan cities and those outside. Overcoming the hurdles of decrepit infrastructure and digital illiteracy will take years.
    • Government, the Biggest Litigant:
      • Poorly drafted orders have resulted in contested tax revenues equal to 4.7 per cent of the GDP and it is rising.
    • Complex procedure:
      • Judicial procedure is very complex and costly putting the poor at a distance from justice.
  • Measures taken to address these concerns:
    • Prepared a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for digitisation of cases across India.
      • The idea is to have a uniform process of digitisation.
      • Pending cases can be digitised daily, which will ensure immediate relief.
    • Benefits of e-filing of cases:
      • It reduces burden of travel faced by litigants and members of the Bar, providing comfort of filing them from homes or offices.
      • e-filing also makes it accessible to those with visual disabilities, as they may now be able to access them through screen reading software.
      • Help in operation of smooth hearings in courts.
    • Increasing Strength of Judicial Service:
      • Substantially increase the strength of the judicial services by appointing more judges at the subordinate level — improvements must start from the bottom of the pyramid.
      • Institutionalising All-India Judicial Service can be a step in the right direction.
    • Adequate Budgeting:
      • The appointments and improvements will require significant but absolutely necessary expenditure.
      • The recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission and the India Justice Report 2020 have raised the issue and suggested ways to earmark and deploy funds.
    • Hibernating Unnecessary PILs:
      • The Supreme Court should mandate summary disposal of all ‘hibernating’ PILs – those pending for more than 10 years before HCs – if they do not concern a question of significant public policy or law.
    • Promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution: 
      • Mechanisms such as ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution), Lok Adalats, Gram Nyayalayas should be effectively utilised.

Case study can be used:

  • judicial reforms; prospects of digitalisation of judiciary (GS-II)

HIKE IN POLL EXPENSES

  • Ahead of Assembly polls in five States, the expenditure limit for candidates for Lok Sabha constituencies was increased to 775 lakh from 754 lakh and 95 lakh from 370 lakh depending on the State, while the spending limit for Assembly constituencies was hiked from F20 lakh to 28 lakh and 28 lakh to 240 lakh.
  • Election Expenditure Limit:
    • It is the amount an election candidate can legally spend for their election campaign and has to account for, which includes expenses on public meetings, rallies, advertisements, posters, banners, vehicles and advertisements.
    • Under Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, every candidate shall keep a separate and correct account of all expenditure incurred between the date on which they have been nominated and the date of declaration of the result.
    • All candidates are required to submit their expenditure statement to the ECI within 30 days of the completion of the elections.
    • An incorrect account or expenditure beyond the cap can lead to disqualification of the candidate by the ECI for up to three years, under Section 10A of RPA, 1951.
    • The limit prescribed by the ECI is meant for legitimate expenditure because a lot of money in elections is spent for illegitimate purposes.
    • It has often been argued that these limits are unrealistic as the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate is much higher.
      • In December 2019, a private member’s bill was introduced in the Parliament which intended to do away with the cap on election spending by candidates.
    • The move was taken on the grounds that the ceiling on election expenses ends up being counterproductive by encouraging candidates to under-report their expenditure.
    • There is no cap on a political party’s expenditure, which is often exploited by candidates of the party.
    • However, all registered political parties have to submit a statement of their election expenditure to the ECI within 90 days of the completion of the elections.
  • Apart from a 10% increase in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last major revision in spending limits for candidates was carried out in 2014.
  • The EC had formed a committee in 2020 to study the spending limit.
    • The committee invited suggestions from political parties, chief electoral officers and election observers.
    • The committee found that there has been increase in number of electors and Cost Inflation Index since 2014 substantially.
    • It also factored in the changing modes of campaigning, which is gradually shifting to virtual campaign.
    • The committee recommended enhancing the limit after taking into account the demand from political parties and the increase in electors from 834 million in 2014 to 936 million in 2021 as well as the increase in the Cost Inflation Index by 32.08% from 2014 to 2021-22. 
  • A report by the Association for Democratic Reforms in July 2021, analysing expenditure statements of 538 of 543 MP selected in 2019, showed that they had spent an average amount of Rs50,84 lakh,or 73% of the expense limit.

State funding election

  • In this system, the states bear the election expenditure of political parties contesting the Election.
  • This can bring transparency in the funding process as public finance can limit the influence of interested donors’ money and thereby help curb corruption.
  • Recommendations on State Funding
    • Indrajit Gupta Committee (1998): It suggested that state funding would ensure a level playing field for poorer political parties and argued that such a move would be in the public interest.
      • It also recommended that state funds should only be given to recognised national and State parties and funding should be given in the form of free facilities provided to these parties and their candidates.
    • Law Commission Report (1999): It stated that state funding of elections is ‘desirable’ provided that political parties are prohibited from taking funds from other sources.
    • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2000): It did not support the idea but mentioned that an appropriate framework for the regulation of political parties needs to be implemented before state funding is considered.

 

Case study can be used:

  • Bringing election reforms; transparency and accountability (GS-II)

SUSPENSIONS OF MLAs

  • 12 BJP MLAs from Maharashtra have gone to Supreme Court against their year-long suspension from the Assembly.
  • The SC has flagged the statutory requirement to not keep a seat vacant for more than 6 months.
    • The Supreme Court has said that suspension from the Legislative Assembly for a year is “worse” than expulsion, as it affects the Right of a constituency to remain represented in the House.
  • The MLAs were suspended for misbehaviour in the Assembly pertaining to the disclosure of data regarding OBCs.
  • Suspending MLAs:
    • Each state has their individual rules for the conduct of assembly. These rules provide for the suspension of MLAs.
    • Under Rule 53 of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Rules, 1960, only the Speaker has the power to suspend MLAs indulging in unruly behaviour.
    • Therefore, the motion to suspend cannot be put to vote as this would allow the Government to suspend as many Members of the Opposition as it sees fit.
    • Constitutional ground:
      • The Court referred to Article 190 (4) of the Constitution which says that if for a period of 60 days, a member of a House, without its permission, is absent; the House may declare his or her seat vacant.
      • Suspension of MLAs beyond this period would lead to their disqualification.
    • Arguments by Maharashtra Assembly:
      • Article 212: The House had acted within its legislative competence, under Article 212, and courts do not have jurisdiction to inquire into the proceedings of the legislature.
        • Article 212 (1) states that “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislature of a State shall not be called in question on the ground of any alleged irregularity of procedure”.
      • Vacancy of Seats: The state had also said that a seat does not automatically become vacant if the member does not attend the House for 60 days but it becomes vacant only if declared so by the House.
        • It was submitted that the House is not obligated to declare such a seat vacant.
      • Article 194: The state has also referred to Article 194 on the powers and privileges of the House, and argued that any member who transgresses these privileges can be suspended through the inherent powers of the House.
        • It has denied that the power to suspend a member can be exercised only through Rule 53 of the Assembly.
    • Arguments by the Supreme Court:
      • Irrational Suspension: Suspension of a member must be preferred as a short term or a temporary, disciplinary measure for restoring order in the Assembly.
        • Anything in excess of that would be irrational suspension.
      • Manipulating Opposition: It said that a thin majority coalition government could use such suspensions to manipulate the number of Opposition party members.
      • Violation of Basic Structure of the Constitution: The basic structure of the Constitution would be hit if the constituencies of the suspended MLAs remained unrepresented in the Assembly for a full year.
      • Constitutional Requirement: The bench referred to Article 190 (4) of the Constitution, which says, “If for a period of sixty days a member of a House of the Legislature of a State is without permission of the House absent from all meetings thereof, the House may declare his seat vacant.”
      • Statutory Requirement: Under Section 151 (A) of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, “a bye-election for filling any vacancy shall be held within a period of six months from the date of the occurrence of the vacancy”.
      • Punishing Whole Constituency: The Supreme Court said that the one-year suspension was prima facie unconstitutional as it went beyond the six-month limit, and amounted to “not punishing the member but punishing the constituency as a whole”.

Case study can be used:

  • while talking about issues associated with the State legislature, ensuring transparency and accountability; effective governance (GS-II)

INTERSTATE ISSUES

  • Border dispute:
    • The states of the Northeast were largely carved out of Assam, which has border disputes with several states. 
    • Assam-Meghalaya to end border dispute:
      • Ahead of Meghalaya’s 50th Statehood Day celebration on 21st January, the Home Minister is expected to seal the final agreement to end the dispute in six areas of the Assam-Meghalaya boundary.
      • Assam and Meghalaya share an 885-km-long border. As of now, there are 12 points of dispute along their borders.
      • Meghalaya was carved out of Assam under the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, a law that it challenged, leading to disputes.
      • A major point of contention between Assam and Meghalaya is the district of Langpih in West Garo Hills bordering the Kamrup district of Assam.
        • Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but post-Independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya.
        • Assam considers it to be part of the Mikir Hills in Assam.
        • Meghalaya has questioned Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills -now Karbi Anglong region – being part of Assam. Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.
      • Assam-Arunachal border dispute:
        • Arunachal Pradesh, which was earlier a part of Assam, shares a boundary of roughly 800 km with the state—with frequent flare-ups reported along the border since the 1990s.
        • The dispute dates back to colonial times, when the British in 1873 announced the “inner line” regulation, demarcating an imaginary boundary between plains and the frontier hills, which were later designated as the North-East Frontier Tracts in 1915.
          • The latter corresponds to the area that makes up present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
        • After Independence, the Assam government assumed administrative jurisdiction over the North East Frontier Tracts, which later became the North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) in 1954, and finally, the Union Territory (UT) of Arunachal Pradesh in 1972. It gained statehood in 1987.
        • Based on the Bordoloi committee report, around 3,648 sq km of the “plain” area of Balipara and Sadiya foothills was transferred from Arunachal Pradesh (then NEFA) to Assam’s then Darrang and Lakhimpur districts.
          • Arunachal Pradesh has long held that the transfer was done without the consultation of its people. 
          • Assam, on the other hand, feels that this demarcation as per 1951 notification is constitutional and legal.
        • The recent flashpoint is the ongoing Likabali-Durpai PMGSY road project in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lower Siang district—Assam claims that some parts of the road, under construction since 2019, falls under its Dhemaji district.
          • The road, about 65 km to 70 km, is meant to connect at least 24 villages between Arunachal Pradesh’s Durpai and Likabali and has been granted after years of petitioning by local residents.
          • Likabali is one of the oldest towns in the foothills and has long been a site of dispute.

  • Mekedatu reservoir issue:
    • March for Mekedatu reservoir halted:
      • The ‘Mekedatu march’ had been launched for the implementation of a project to build a reservoir on the Cauvery at Mekedatu near the Tamil Nadu border.
      • The proposed reservoir, which aims to supply drinking water to Bengaluru and surrounding regions, has been challenged in the Supreme Court by Tamil Nadu on the ground that it would eat into the state’s share of Cauvery water as adjudicated by the court in 2018.
    • Mekedatu project:
      • Proposed by Karnataka, the project envisages a reservoir near Ontigondlu, about 1.5 km from Mekedatu (which literally means goat’s leap) in the Ramanagara district of south Karnataka at the confluence of the Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers.
      • It is 4 km from the Tamil Nadu border and 100 km from Bengaluru.
      • The project will need multiple clearances from the Centre and courts as it involves the Cauvery water sharing dispute.
    • Way Out:
      • The Centre has said the project required the approval of the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s (CWMA).
        • The Detail Project Report (DPR) sent by Karnataka was tabled in the CWMA several times for approval, but the discussion on this issue could not take place due to a lack of consensus among party states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
      • Also, as per the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal‘s final award, which was modified by the Supreme Court, acceptance of CWMA would be a prerequisite for consideration of the DPR by the Jal Shakti Ministry.
      • Since the project was proposed across an inter-state river, it required approval of lower riparian state(s) as per the interstate water dispute act.

Case studies can be used:

  • as examples for interstate disputes and suggesting a way ahead (GS-II)

GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS

DESH KE MENTOR

  • It was launched in October 2021, aiming at connecting students in classes IX to XII with voluntary mentors.
  • People between the ages of 18 and 35 can sign up to be mentors through an app created by a team at the Delhi Technological University and will be connected with students based on mutual interests.
  • The mentorship entails regular phone calls for a minimum of two months, which can optionally be carried on for another four months.
  • The idea is for the young mentors to guide students through higher education and career options, preparation for higher education entrance exams, and dealing with the pressure of it all.
  • So far, 44,000 people have signed up as mentors and have been working with 1.76 lakh children.
  • Recently, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) suggested that the Delhi government suspend its flagship ‘Desh ke Mentor’ Programme till “the time when all the loopholes pertaining to the safety of the children are overhauled”.
  • Concerns Raised by NCPCR:
    • Assigning children to a mentor of the same gender as them does not necessarily assure their safety from abuse.
    • Lack of police verification of the mentors.
    • A psychometric test is not a fool-proof assessment of a person in terms of potential threat to any child.
    • Limiting interactions to phone calls also does not ensure the safety of children since “child-related crime can be initiated through phone calls as well.”
    • The responsibility and accountability of preventing children from such situations lie with the Department.
      • The consent of parents cannot be used as a cushion in case of any untoward incident.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

  • The NCPCR is an Indian statutory body established by an Act of Parliament, the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
  • It works under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and began operational on 5 March 2007.
  • It works to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • As defined by the commission, a child includes a person up to the age of 18 years.
  • It inquires into complaints relating to a child's right to free and compulsory education under the Right to Education Act, 2009.
  • It monitors the implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

 

Case study can be used:

  • as an example for government policies and Initiatives for the betterment of vulnerable sections; issues associated with such measures (GS-II)
  • as an example of social empowerment measures and their impact (GS-I)

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

INDIA-SOUTH KOREA RELATIONSHIP

  • India and South Korea are set to accelerate discussions on upgrading their bilateral trade agreement signed in 2009.
  • Key takeaways:
    • CEPA Up-gradation:
      • Both countries agreed to impart fresh momentum to the discussions on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) up-gradation negotiations and also promote extensive B2B (business-to-business) interactions on trade and investment between the Industry leaders of the two countries.
    • Bilateral Trade Target:
      • India and South Korea set a bilateral trade target of USD50 billion before 2030, which was agreed at the summit meeting in 2018.
      • These regular negotiations shall be a forum to discuss the difficulties of the business community from both countries and emerging trade-related issues including supply chain resilience.

India-South Korea

  • Political:
    • During the Korean War (1950- 53), India played a major role in a cease-fire agreement signed between both the warring sides (North Korea and South Korea) and the ceasefire was declared on 27th July 1953.
    • In May 2015, the bilateral relationship was upgraded to ‘special strategic partnership’.
    • India has a major role to play in South Korea’s Southern Policy under which Korea is looking at expanding relations beyond its immediate region.
    • Similarly, South Korea is a major player in India’s Act East Policy under which India aims to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationships with countries in the Asia-Pacific.
  • Trade Relations:
    • The trade and economic relations between India and South Korea have gathered momentum in recent years with annual bilateral trade reaching USD21.5 billion in 2018, crossing the USD20 billion mark for the first time.
    • Bilateral trade in January-December 2020 was recorded at USD16.9 billion.
    • The bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CEPA), set in place since 2010, has spurred trade and investments both ways.
    • To facilitate investment from Korea, India has launched a “Korea Plus” facilitation cell under ‘Invest India’ to guide, assist and handhold investors.
    • South Korea’s total foreign direct investment to India up to September 2020 was about USD6.94 billion and is one of the key investors in India.
  • Defence:
    • In 2005, the two sides signed an agreement to cooperate in defence and logistics and another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the two Coast Guards in 2006 .
    • So far, the Indian and South Korean Coast Guards have conducted five exercises with an aim to enhance interoperability.
    • The most recent of these exercises was held off the coast of Chennai, named Sahyog-Hyeoblyeog 2018 .
    • Sahyog – Hyeoblyeog is part of a proposed establishment of a MoU between the two Coast Guards to improve maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
    • In May 2021, the Indian Defence Minister and his South Korean counterpart inaugurated the India-Korea Friendship Park in a ceremony at the Delhi Cantonment.
    • The park was built to commemorate the contribution of the Indian peacekeeping force during the Korean war of 1950-53.
  • Cultural:
    • Korean Buddhist Monk Hyecho or Hong Jiao visited India from 723 to 729 AD and wrote the travelogue “Pilgrimage to the five kingdoms of India” which gives a vivid account of Indian culture, politics & society.
    • To further enhance cultural exchanges between India and Korea, Indian Cultural Centres (ICC) were established in Seoul in April 2011 and in Busan in December 2013.
    • Earlier, on the banks of the Sarayu in Ayodhya, the Ram Katha Park has been renovated which will be renamed as Queen Heo Hwang-ok memorial park.
      • The Korean queen is believed to have had Indian roots.
  • Multilateral Platforms:
    • ASEAN Plus
    • East Asia Summit (EAS)
    • G-20
    • World Trade Organisation

 

Case study can be used:

  • ways in which India diversify its engagement; Look East to Act EastEffect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India's Interests (GS-II)

AT WTO, CHINA A DEVELOPING COUNTRY

  • China’s status as a ‘developing country’ at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has become a contentious issue with a number of countries raising concerns over the upper-middle-income nation deriving benefits reserved for developing countries under WTO norms.
  • Developing Country status:
    • The WTO has not defined ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries and therefore member countries are free to announce whether they are ‘developed’ or ‘developing’.
    • However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries.
    • The WTO lacks a proper definition of a developing nation although two-thirds of its 164 members classify themselves as developing.
    • As WTO members can declare themselves developing nations, this provides an advantage to nations like China to expand their dominance in global trade even while classifying themselves as developing and thereby obtaining Special and Differentiated Treatment (S&DT).
    • Benefits:
      • Special and differential treatment: Certain WTO agreements give developing countries special rights through ‘special and differential treatment’ (S&DT) provisions.
      • Preferential treatment: The classification also allows other countries to offer preferential treatment.
      • Longer timeframe for pacts: WTO can grant developing countries longer timeframes to implement the agreements and even commitments to raise trading opportunities for such countries.
    • China's case:
      • Given the rise in China’s per capita income to become an upper-middle-income country according to the World Bank and the country’s alleged use of unfair trade practices, a number of nations have called on China to either refrain from seeking benefits available to developing countries or forgo its classification as a developing country altogether.
      • Some of China’s unfair trade practices include preferential treatment for state enterprises, data restrictions and inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights.
      • Prima facie, it does appear anomalous that the world’s second-largest economy—which accounted for a quarter of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2021—considers itself as the largest developing country.

Case study can be used:

  • to analyse and argue for the interaction of international organisations; dichotomy in developmental status (GS-II)

 

GS-III

ECONOMY

INDIA CHALLENGING WTO VERDICT ON SUGAR

  • India has appealed against a ruling of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) trade dispute settlement panel on domestic sugar subsidies, stating that the panel had committed “certain errors of law” in its report.
  • Issue on sugar subsidy:
    • India’s Minimum Selling Price system for Sugarcane was brought to notice to the WTO by Brazil, Australia and Guatemala.
    • Australia, Brazil, and Guatemala said India’s domestic support and export subsidy measures appeared to be inconsistent with various articles against WTO’s:
      • Agreement on Agriculture
      • Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM)
      • Article XVI (which concerns subsidies) of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT)
      • Domestic Support: All three countries complained that India provides domestic support to sugarcane producers that exceed the de minimis level of 10% of the total value of sugarcane production.
      • Various subsidies: They also raised the issue of India’s alleged export subsidies, subsidies under the production assistance and buffer stock schemes, and the marketing and transportation scheme.
      • Notifying support: Australia accused India of “failing” to notify its annual domestic support for sugarcane and sugar subsequent to 1995-96, and its export subsidies since 2009-10.
    • India’s reply to WTO panel:
      • India rejected the panel’s findings as “erroneous”, “unreasoned”, and “not supported by the WTO rules”.
      • It argued that the requirements of Article 3 of the SCM Agreement are not yet applicable to India.
      • It has a phase-out period of 8 years to eliminate export subsidies under the agreement.
      • India also argued that its mandatory minimum prices are not paid by the governments but by sugar mills, and hence do not constitute market price support.
    • Panels Findings:
      • The dispute settlement panel has found India's domestic support and export subsidy measures in the sugar sector to be in violation of international trade rules.
      • It found that for five consecutive sugar seasons from 2014-15 to 2018-19, India provided non-exempt product-specific domestic support to sugarcane producers in excess of the permitted level of 10% of the total value of sugarcane production.
      • India argued that its “mandatory minimum prices are not paid by the central or state governments but by sugar mills, and hence do not constitute market price support”, the panel rejected this argument — saying “market price support does not require governments to purchase or procure the relevant agricultural product”.
    • Panels Recommendation:
      • India brings its WTO-inconsistent measures into conformity with its obligations under the Agreement on Agriculture and the SCM Agreement.
      • India should withdraw its alleged prohibited subsidies under the Production Assistance, Buffer Stock, and Marketing and Transportation Schemes within 120 days.
    • India’s Appeal:
      • The appeal was filed by India in the WTO's Appellate Body, which is the final authority on such trade disputes.
      • India has appealed and requested the body to “reverse, modify, or declare moot and of no legal effect, the findings, conclusions, rulings and recommendations of the Panel”, with respect to certain “errors of law or legal interpretation contained in the panel report.
      • India has sought a review of the panel's finding that the scheme for providing assistance to sugar mills for expenses on marketing costs, including handling, upgrading and other processing costs and costs of international and internal transport and freight charges on the export of sugar for the 2019-20 sugar season (Maximum Admissible Export Quantity (MAEQ) Scheme), is within its terms of reference.

SUGAR PRICING IN INDIA

  • Sugarcane prices are determined by the Centre as well as States.
    • The Centre announces Fair and Remunerative Prices which are determined on the recommendation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and are announced by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which is chaired by Prime Minister.
    • The State Advised Prices (SAP) are announced by key sugarcane producing states which are generally higher than FRP.
  • Minimum Selling Price (MSP) for Sugar:
    • The price of sugar is market-driven & depends on the demand & supply of sugar.
    • However, with a view to protecting the interests of farmers, the concept of MSP of sugar has been introduced since 2018.
    • MSP of sugar has been fixed taking into account the components of Fair & Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane and the minimum conversion cost of the most efficient mills.
  • Price determination:
    • With the amendment of the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966, the concept of Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) of sugarcane was replaced with the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP)’ of sugarcane in 2009-10.
    • The cane price announced by the Central Government is decided on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
    • This is done in consultation with the State Governments and after taking feedback from associations of the sugar industry.
  • FRP:
    • FRP is fixed under a sugarcane control order, 1966.
    • It is the minimum price that sugar mills are supposed to pay to the farmers.
    • However, states determine their own State Agreed Price (SAP) which is generally higher than the FRP.

 

Case study can be used:

  • while talking about India's sugar subsidy policy, concerns and way ahead (GS-III)
  • while discussing India and its international engagements, interaction with international organisations like WTO (GS-II)

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

THIRD EYE IN THE SKY

  • In a nationwide programme to take the third eye to the sky, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has called for more effective utilisation of drone applications and urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance, situational analysis, crime control, VVIP security, disaster management, etc.
  • Drones:
    • It is a layman terminology for Unmanned Aircraft (UA).
    • Originally developed for the military and aerospace industries, drones have found their way into the mainstream because of the enhanced levels of safety and efficiency they bring.
    • A drone’s autonomy level can range from remotely piloted (a human controls its movements) to advanced autonomy, which means that it relies on a system of sensors and LIDAR detectors to calculate its movement.
    • Section 2(h) of the new Draft Rules, 2021 defines drones as aircraft without a pilot on board that can operate autonomously or can be operated remotely.
  • Uses of drones:

  • Threats posed by drones:
    • The potential use of drones in a terrorist incident or attack against critical infrastructure and soft targets is a growing concern for law enforcement agencies worldwide.
    • Espionage: Drones can be stealthily used for spying purposes.
    • Terror sponsoring: Procurement of combat drones by non-state actors poses serious threats.
    • Stealth in warfare: Drones can easily escape security checks due to its compact size.
    • Easy available weapons: Given the easy availability of advanced technology to the common man at a reduced cost and the proliferation of information via the Internet, this threat will invariably grow.
    • Cost effective: Drones are relatively cheaper in comparison to conventional weapons. Many open resources on DIY (do it yourselves) drones are available and thus can be easily assembled.
    • Destruction of security apparatus: They can be put to destructive use, to slam into critical targets, destroy infrastructure and so on.
    • Smuggling of arms: Incidents of arms being dropped by drones are also there such as the recent Jammu drone attacks.
    • Recent incidents:
      • Drones have also been increasingly used in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, by the US to carry out targeted assassinations.
      • Recently, many including two Indians were killed in Abu Dhabi in a drone attack claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
      • In 2020, Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, the most powerful figure in Iran after its supreme leader, was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq.
      • India has also witnessed increased rogue drone activity along its Western border with Pakistan in recent years with drones dropping weapons, ammunition and drugs.
  • Way ahead:
    • As technology advances, security architects and countries have taken cognizance of this fact and are working on the technological as well as policy fronts to counter it.
    • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a detect-and-destroy technology for drones, but it is not yet into mass production.

Case study can be used:

  • while discussing drones and their effective usage (GS-III)
  • talking about scientific advancements; boon or bane (Essay)

ENVIRONMENT

CHEETAH REINTRODUCTION PROJECT

  • Recently, the Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched the ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India’ under which 50 of these big cats will be introduced in the next five years.
  • The action plan was launched at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • Last year (2021), the Supreme Court lifted its seven-year-long stay on a proposal to introduce African Cheetahs from Namibia into the Indian habitat.
  • Reintroduction Action Plan:
    • With help from the Wildlife Institute of India and the Wildlife Trust of India, the ministry will be translocating around 8-12 cheetahs from South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.
    • These countries have the world’s largest populations of animal.
    • The big cats will live at Kuno Palpur National Park (Madhya Pradesh) owing to its suitable habitat and adequate prey base.
    • Reintroduction:
      • ‘Reintroduction’ of a species means releasing it in an area where it is capable of surviving.
      • Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognised as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.
  • Cheetah:
    • The cheetah is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era.
    • The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal that lives in Africa and Asia.
    • Conservation status:
      •   Asian African
        IUCN Critically Endangered Vulnerable
        CITES Appendix-I of the List. Appendix-I of the List.
    • The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been eliminated, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.
    • The conservation of the cheetah will revive grasslands and their biomes and habitat, much like Project Tiger has done for forests and all the species that have seen their numbers go up.
    • Reasons for the Extinction:
      • Hunting, diminishing habitat and non-availability of enough prey – blackbuck, gazelle and hare – led to the extinction of the cat in India (1952).
      • The advent of climate change and growing human populations have only made these problems worse.

Case study can be used:

  • while talking about the importance of preserving ecological balance; keystone species; impacts of anthropogenic actions, climate change (GS-III)

 

DATA ANALYSIS

  • Contains key takeaways and analysis from relevant Data Points and charts from newspapers.

Bad Loans Decline

Key takeaways:

  • Non-Performing Asset's(NPAs) of both Public Sector Banks(PSBs) and Private Sector Banks(PVBs) declined in FY21
    • NPA's of PSBs > PVBs
    • NPA's of PSBs > National Average
  • Major reasons for the decline:
    • Reduction in fresh accretion of NPAs in FY21
    • Banks might have withheld classifying loans as NPAs even if they defaulted 
    • Increased write-offs: 33% reduction in NPAs in PVBs and 20% in PSBs
      • Write-offs by PVBs > PSBs
    • Also, NPA recoveries through the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code(IBC) declined a lot in FY21
      • Still, recoveries through IBC is largest compared to other modes- SARFAESI Act, DRTs and Lok Adalats

Key Terms

  • NPA: A non-performing asset (NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days.
    • Classification:
      • Substandard assets: Assets which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months.
      • Doubtful assets: An asset would be classified as doubtful if it has remained in the substandard category for a period of 12 months.
      • Loss assets: As per RBI, “Loss asset is considered uncollectible and of such little value that its continuance as a bankable asset is not warranted, although there may be some salvage or recovery value.”
  • SMA: Special Mention Accounts are those assets/accounts that show symptoms of bad asset quality in the first 90 days itself or before it is identified as NPA.
    • 4 types of Special Mention Accounts:- SMA-NF, SMA 0, SMA1, and SMA 2.
  • Remember that NPA has a duration of 90 days. On the other hand, the worst type of special mention account (SMA – 2) has less than 90 days’ duration. 
  • Write-offs: A write-off is technically different from a loan waiver in which the borrower is exempted from repayment.

State of India's Formal Employment

Key Takeaways:

  • Both the number of firms and the employee count in the formal economy fell sharply in April 2020- after the national lockdown was announced.
  • During the period Jan 2019 to Sept 2021: 
    • The number of employees who got their EPF contribution reduced from 46.3 million to 44.8 million.
    • The number of firms that could contribute to EPF fell from 5.7lakh to 4.8 lakh.
    • The number of formal employees decreased by 3%, but the number of firms that offered formal jobs decreased by 14%.
      • Indicates that many firms closed during the pandemic and could not recover.

Private Sector Lead Investments

Key Takeaways:

  • India registered healthy growth in capital expenditure during the first 3 quarters of FY22- Survey by Project Today.
    • The private sector undertook much of the capital expenditure- spent on creating and acquiring new assets.
      • Indian private players > Foreign private players
    • The public sector registered a contraction in fresh investment plans.
  • A bulk of the spending is limited to the manufacturing sector.
    • Manufacturing registered the highest growth, followed by electricity. 
    • Fresh investments in infrastructure and irrigation dipped in FY22 compared to FY20 primarily due to a contraction in spending by the Central and State governments.
  • Gujarat received the highest investment- cornering 18% of total investments.
  • Tamil Nadu recorded the highest increase in investment.
    • However, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and West Bengal recorded a decline in capital investments from FY20

World is Heating Up

Key Takeaways:

  • Annual findings of EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Services:
    • Globally 2021 was among the 7 warmest on record.
      • The temperature for the last 30 years (1991-2020) was close to 0.9°C above the pre-industrial level. 
    • The last 7 years globally were the 7 warmest on record.
      • Within these 7 years, 2021 ranks among the cooler years, alongside 2015 and 2018.
    • The global concentration of COand very substantially methane continued to increase.

 

Pandemic Impact on Consumer Sentiment 

Key Takeaways:

  • Consumer confidence about the Indian economy worsened with each wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Consumers turned pessimistic even before the pandemic.
    • Influence of Indicators:
      • Before the pandemic, employment scenarios and price levels influenced consumers' perception of the general economic situation.
      • During the pandemic, perception about household income too become a major factor
    • The least fall in confidence was observed among retirees and pensioners.
      • On the other hand, the confidence levels of self-employed and unemployed persons eroded severely.
      • Also, the pandemic impacted the perception of homemakers significantly. 

 

MODEL QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Questions:

  1. What are the threats cyberspace poses to women? Discuss the measures to control cyber crimes against women. (10 marks | 150 words)
  2. Russian-Ukraine crisis poses a serious threat to Eurasian security. Discuss the impact of this conflict on India and suggest a way forward for India. (10 marks | 150 words)
  3. What are the reasons for the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka? Discuss the role India should play in the economic revival of Sri Lanka amidst the concerns in the India-Sri Lanka relationship. (15 marks | 250 words)
  4. “The governor’s role and use of power have been creating concerns in governance.” Critically analyse. (10 marks | 150 words)

Model Answers:



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