Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th January 2020

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  • January 30, 2020
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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th January 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th January 2020



African Cheetah: Supreme Court allows Centre to introduce it in India

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environmental Conservation

In News

  • The apex Court’s decision followed a petition filed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) seeking permission for the introduction of the African cheetah from Namibia as rare Indian cheetah is almost extinct in the country.
  • In 2012, the plan to introduce African Cheetahs in Palpur Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh was stalled by the Court
  • Cheetah is the fastest land animal. It has been classified as endangered by the IUCN; and listed under Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
  • It inhabits a variety of mostly arid habitats like dry forests, scrub forests, and savannahs.

Ramsar Sites: 10 more wetland in India declared as Ramsar Sites

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Environment Conservation

In News

  • The Convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is inter-governmental accord for preserving the ecological character of wetlands
  • Aim of Convention: To develop a global network of wetlands for conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life.
  • Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines.
  • Maharashtra gets its first Ramsar site – Nandur Madhameshwar
  • Punjab added 3 more – Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve, Nangal
  • UP has added 6 more – Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar
  • With this, India totally has 37 Ramsar Sites.

SIS-DP PROJECT – Space based Information Support for Decentralised Planning

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Science & Technology

In News

  • ISRO had launched ‘SISDP’ project to assist gram panchayats at grassroots level with basic planning inputs derived from satellite data for preparing developmental plans, its implementation and monitoring of activities.
  • National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), located in Hyderabad, is the lead centre to execute the project. NSRC is one of the centres of ISRO.
  • SISDP Phase-I project was launched in 2011 and successfully concluded in 2017. The second phase has been started now.
  • The geodatabase, products and services prepared under this project are expected to be disseminated through Bhuvan geoportal, an easy to use Geo portal developed for database visualization, data analytics etc. for the benefit of Gram Panchayat members and others.


Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Space Science & Technology

In News

  • It is an infrared space telescope named after astronomer Lyman Spitzer, who had promoted the concept of space telescopes in the 1940s.
  • Launched by NASA in 2003 and is planned to be retired on 30 January 2020.
  • It is one of the elements of NASA’s Great Observatories that include the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray.
  • Using different infrared wavelengths, Spitzer was able to see and reveal features of the universe including objects that were too cold to emit visible light.

HCFC-141b – India has achieved its complete phase-out

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Environmental Conservation

In News

  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b is one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • HCFC-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.
  • HCFC-141b is not produced in the country and all the domestic requirements are met through imports. India stopped the iissuance of import license for HCFC-141b from 1st Jan 2020, through notification by Environment Ministry
  • The complete phase out of HCFC 141 b from the country in foam sector is among the first at this scale in Article 5 parties (developing countries) under the Montreal Protocol. 


Indian Polity – Judiciary

Topic: General Studies 2:

    • Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary

Indian Judiciary’s Evolution


Constitution of India came into force 70 years ago on 26th Jan 1950 which was an ambitious political experiment involving Universal Adult Franchise, Federalism and Social revolution in deeply unequal Indian Society

Thus, we need to see how Supreme Court has interpreted the text over these past seven decades:


Phase One- Textualist Approach

  • In early years, Supreme Court focused on the plain meaning of the words used in the Constitution.
  • Example: K.Gopalan case (1950) – where Preventive detention was challenged on the grounds that it violated Article 19,21 and 22. The Court held that each of these articles covered different subjects and were to be read separately rather than being read together.
  • The Court read the Constitution literally, concluding that there were no limitations on Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution, especially fundamental rights.


Phase two – Structuralist Approach

  • Appeals to the text of the Constitution were gradually overtaken by appeals to the Constitution’s overall structure and coherence
  • Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala(1973), the Court concluded that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution did not extend to altering its “basic structure”
  • In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India(1978), the court reject Gopalan approach and conceived the fundamental rights as a cohesive bill of rights rather than a miscellaneous grouping of constitutional guarantees
  • The right to life was incrementally interpreted to include a wide range of rights such as clean air, speedy trial, and free legal aid.

Commonality between First & Second Phase: Interpretation of the Constitution were entrusted to Constitution Benches (comprising five or more judges of court) and were carefully reasoned. There was limited scope for precedential confusion and any demand for reconsideration were referred to larger Constitution Benches.


Phase Three- Eclecticism

  • Supreme Court’s interpretive philosophy turned far more result-oriented than it had ever been often at the cost of thorough rights reasoning of the issues.
  • This led to doctrinal incoherence with different Benches adopting inconsistent interpretive approaches based on their conception of the Court’s role
  • Example: Cases that involve substantial questions of interpretation of the Constitution — such as the cases concerning the NRC and the electoral bonds scheme — are still being adjudicated upon by benches of two or three judges

This institutional decline was due to two reasons

  • Increased strength of Supreme Court from eight to 31 Judges (currently 34) which began to sit in panels of two or three judges, effectively transforming it into a “polyvocal” group of about a dozen sub-Supreme Courts
  • The Court began deciding cases based on a certain conception of its own role — whether as sentinel of democracy or protector of the market economy.


Phase four -Purpose

  • We are currently in the midst of transitioning from the third phase to the fourth.
  • In this phase, the Court has acknowledged that the purpose for which the Constitution has been enacted becomes critical to its interpretive exercise
  • The Court is now beginning to interpret the Constitution in accordance with its revolutionary and transformative potential which was originally intended by our founders.

Way Forward

  • With about a dozen significant Constitution Bench decisions from the Supreme Court since September 2018, there has been a renaissance in decision-making by Constitution Benches.
  • This includes the Court’s decisions striking down Section 377 and the criminal offence of adultery, and bringing the office of the Chief Justice of India within the scope of RTI
  • Supreme Court should keep the focus on the purpose for which Constitution was brought in while interpreting the laws/Constitution/executive decision etc.

Connecting the Dots

  • Regional Benches of Supreme Court – Will it alter the overall doctrinal approach with regard to interpretation of Constitution?


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.


Q.1) Consider the following statements about Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b

  1. It is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises and one of the most potent ozone depleting chemical
  2. India is one of the leading producer and exporter of this chemical

Which of the above statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Palpur Kuno sanctuary is located in which State/Union Territory of India?

  1. Maharashtra
  2. Madhya Pradesh
  3. Chandigarh
  4. Puducherry

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Ramsar Convention

  1. It is an inter-governmental accord for preserving the ecological character of wetlands
  2. India got its first Ramsar Site in 2019 through addition of Chilka Lake under the aeigis of the Convention.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) Consider the following statements about SIS-DP recently in news

  1. It is a project to assist gram panchayats at grassroots level with basic planning inputs derived from satellite data.
  2. It is being implemented by NITI Aayog in collaboration with ISRO & NASA.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.5) Consider the following statements about Spitzer Space Telescope

  1. It is a space telescope developed by Russia
  2. It could see through large amounts of gas using infrared wavelengths to find objects that may otherwise have been invisible to human beings. These included exoplanets, brown dwarfs and cold matter found in the space between stars

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


1 C
2 D
3 C
4 B
5 B


About China:

The Indian Express

About merging of Railways – its criticism:

The Hindu

About dissent and foreign policy – its criticism:

The Hindu

About examining the Slowdown:

The Hindu

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