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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 18th April 2019

  • IASbaba
  • April 18, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 18th April 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Chenchus

  • The Chenchus are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group, living in dense jungles spread across Andhra and Telangana.
  • The Chenchus are considered to be the most primitive and one of the two tribes in south India that still largely depend for its survival on food gathering and hunting which are their traditional occupations.
  • The Chenchus speak the Chenchu language, a member of the Dravidian language family.
  • Since time immemorial they have inhabited the forest-clad hills on either sides of the Krishna River, and even today the forests are their true habitat. There is no community in India poorer in material possessions than the Chenchus.
  • They are inveterate forest dwellers, who have, over centuries, steadfastly refused to move out of their woods regardless of the perils of such life. If patriotism be defined as love for the land, Chenchus are patriots in true spirit.

Mars base simulator unveiled in Gobi desert

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space Missions

In news:

  • Mars base simulator was unveiled in the middle of China’s Gobi desert.
  • “Mars Base 1” was opened with the aim of exposing teens — and soon tourists — to what life could be like on the planet.
  • The facility’s unveiling comes as China is making progress in its efforts to catch up to the United States and become a space power, with ambitions of sending humans to the moon someday.
  • The company behind the project, C-Space, plans to open the base — currently an educational facility — to tourists in the next year, complete with a themed hotel and restaurant to attract space geeks.

Do you know?

  • As budding astronauts explore “Mars” on Earth, China is planning to send a probe to the real red planet next year. Beijing is pouring billions into its military-run space programme, with hopes of having a crewed space station by 2022.
  • Earlier this year, it made the first ever soft landing on the far side of the moon, deploying a rover on the surface.

(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY

TOPIC: General studies 1 and 2

  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India
  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

The legacy of Ambedkar

Intoduction:

  • B R Ambedkar is regarded as the principal architect of our Constitution.
  • He believed that freedom and democratic values of the people can be protected only when the moral values of a constitution are upheld.
  • Ambedkar also attached great importance to constitutional morality in the working of the Constitution.

Below are some of his views on different areas:

1. On the question of whether the President was bound by ministerial advice (whether he could act independently of it or contrary to it) –

  • Ambedkar was of the firm view that “the President could not act and will not act except on the advice of the Ministers. He will never be able to act independently of the Ministers”.
  • Shamsher Singh case – In this case, SC accepted Ambedkar’s above view.

2. On Fundamental Rights and Article 32

  • Ambedkar was passionate about the guarantees of fundamental rights being appropriately incorporated in the Constitution.
  • He said – guarantees of fundamental rights remain ornamental promises unless they can be judicially enforced.
  • With that objective in mind, the draft Constitution provided that a person can move the Supreme Court directly for the enforcement of his or her fundamental rights without going through the high court.
  • Article 32 – the right to Constitutional remedies to enforce fundamental rights.

Commenting about Article 32, Dr. B R Ambedkar said –

  • “If I was asked to name any particular article of the Constitution as the most important—an article without which this Constitution would be a nullity—I would not refer to any other article except this one. It is the very soul of the Constitution and the very heart of it.”

3. On functioning of democracy

  • Ambedkar expressed that if democracy should be maintained, first thing to do is to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving our social and economic objectives.
  • It means people should abandon the bloody methods of revolution. It means that people should abandon the method of civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha.
  • Ambedkar felt – where constitutional methods are open, there can be no justification for unconstitutional methods.

4. On religion and politics –

  • Ambedkar warned that Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.

5. On social justice –

  • Social justice was Ambedkar’s mission. He believed that mere equality on paper was not sufficient.
  • He said if equality in our social and economic life is denied then political democracy will be in peril. Therefore, it is important remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of democracy which the Constituent Assembly has so laboriously built up.

Conclusion:

  • If Dr. Ambedkar was not there in the formation of constitution, then perhaps the kind of emphasis that social justice got would not have been possible. This explains the importance of Dr. Ambedkar.
  • As was his ideas of nation building so strong, so were his concerns about what was following to be there. He had cautioned fellow legislators against the use of non-constitutional methods of protest and was worried about limitless powers provided to the person whom the people worshipped. He also underlined the importance of creating not just a political democracy, but also a social and economic one. He supported the minority rights and opined that there should be solution wherein existence of the minorities are recognized as well as enable majorities and minorities to merge somebody into one. Being a social thinker, political reformer, philosophical writer with progressive ideas, he has been able to bring forward the basic human survival principles.
  • Unfortunately, many of Ambedkar’s hope and ideas have not fructified. Social justice, the signature tune of our Constitution, still eludes us.
  • The struggle for social justice must continue with determination and its achievement would be the best tribute we can pay to one of the greatest sons of India.

Connecting the dots:

  • Examine in detail the ideas and ideals of Dr. Ambedkar to make India a modern nation.
  • What is the meaning and significance of a ‘Modern Nation’? Describe the role of father of constitution to make India into one such nation.

NATIONAL

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Sealed disclosure: SC order on electoral bonds

Introduction:

Electoral Bonds are instruments for the funding of political parties. It was introduced with following objectives:

  • to ensure that the funds being collected by the political parties is accounted money or clean money
  • it will also boost digital transactions

However these bonds raises the question about the anonymity-based funding scheme on the grounds that

  • it promotes opacity,
  • opens up the possibility of black money being donated to parties through shell companies and
  • empowers the ruling party, which alone is in a position to identify the donors and, therefore, well placed to discourage donations to other parties.

Recent Supreme Court Verdict:

  • The Supreme Court’s interim order asks political parties to disclose to the Election Commission in sealed covers, details of the donations they have received through anonymous electoral bonds.
  • The court notes in its order that the case gives rise to “weighty issues which have a tremendous bearing on the sanctity of the electoral process in the country”.
  • However experts claim that it is an inadequate and belated response to the serious concerns raised about the opaque scheme.

Analysis of the interim order:

  • It was considered that the time available was too limited for an in-depth hearing. Hence to address the concern about the dangers of anonymous political funding, it directed political parties to have the names, subscriber of Electoral bonds scheme to the EC, albeit in sealed envelopes, until the court decides if they can be made public.
  • However, the order, unfortunately, preserves the status quo, and any effect that the possible asymmetry in political funding would have on the election process will stay as it is.
  • There is some concern that a disproportionately large segment of the bonds purchased by corporate donors has gone to the party in power because the government can know who donated what money and to whom.
  • This donor anonymity may end if the court decides that the EC should disclose the names at the end of the litigation, but the influence such donations would have had on the electoral outcome would remain undisturbed.
  • Given this premise, it could be asked whether the judicial intervention could not have come earlier.
  • However, all it has done now is to ensure that its interim arrangement does not ‘tilt the balance’ in favour of either side.

Conclusion:

  • For the last two decades, the Supreme Court has been proactive in empowering voters and in infusing transparency in the system.
  • It has developed a body of jurisprudence that says the electoral process involves the voter being given information about candidates, their qualifications, assets and crime records, if any.
  • Now that there is no stay on the operation of the scheme, the court must render an early verdict on the legality of the electoral bond scheme.
  • The glass is half filled and half empty. We have very precious things in the parliamentary democracy but we also have a very long way to go.

Connecting the dots:

  • How can electoral bonds help in redefining the process of initiating electoral reforms? Examine.
  • The need for transparency in electoral funding for a level playing field in elections is a fundamental requirement. Discuss. Also suggest measures needed to address the problem of unchecked money power visible during every election.
  • There has been an impetus on streamlining political funding in India. In this light, discuss the potential of electoral bonds.

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