DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th JULY 2020

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  • July 14, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th July 2020



Padmanabhaswamy temple issue

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and II – Culture; Fundamental Right; Secularism 

In News: 

  • In its recent judgment, the Supreme Court upheld the Shebait rights of the Travancore royal family in the administration of Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala. 
  • SC bench held that the erstwhile Travancore royal family will have rights to manage  properties belonging to Lord Vishnu, worshipped in ‘Anantha Shayana’ posture. 

Do you know? 

  • There was dispute whether the temple and its considerable assets should devolve to the Kerala government following the death of Travancore ruler Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in July 1991.  
  • Kerala High Court, in 2011, had directed the State to take over the temple and exhibit its treasures for public viewing in a museum. 
  • Article 25 and 26 deals with this issue. 

Article 25 – Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion 

Article 26 – Freedom to manage religious affairs Subject to public order, morality and health, every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right 

  1. to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;
  2. to manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
  3. to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and 
  4. to administer such property in accordance with law 

About Shebait 

  • Shebait is any person who serves and supports the deity and works as a manager of the debuttar property. 
  • The properties like the temple or any other land or property which is vested with the deity are managed by the ShebaitShebait is the only person who has the power to talk on behalf of the deity that is the god or goddess. He has the power to deal with all the affairs of the deity. 

Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and Iran bilateral ties; International Relations 

In News:  

  • Iranian government has decided to proceed with the construction of Chabahar rail project on its own.  
  • India and Iran had signed an agreement (before 4 years) to construct a rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan. However, Iran dropped India citing delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project. 

Do you know? 

  • India wanted the railway line to be built as part of a trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan as an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. 
  • Iran’s announcement came after China finalised a massive 25-year, $400 billion strategic partnership deal with Iran, which could cloud India’s plans. 

About Chabahar Port 

  • Located on the Makran coast 
  • South-eastern coast of Iran 
  • It is relatively underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone (compared to the sprawling port of Bandar Abbas further west) 
  • It is located in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast. 
  • It lies outside the Persian Gulf and is easily accessed from India’s western coast, bypassing Pakistan. 

Iran and China to finalize 25-year Strategic Partnership 

 Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Internation Affairs; Policies affecting India’s interests 

 In news: 

  • Iran and China are close to finalize a 25-year Strategic Partnership. 
  • The Comprehensive Plan for Cooperation between Iran and China will include Chinese involvement in Chabahar’s duty-free zone, an oil refinery nearby, and possibly a larger role in Chabahar port as well. 
  • Iran decided to go head on its own with the construction of a railway line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, dropping India, which had signed MoU in 2016. 

Do you know? 

  • Iran proposed a tie-up between the Chinese-run Pakistani port at Gwadar and Chabahar last year, and has offered interests to China in the Bandar-e-Jask port 350km away from Chabahar, as well as in the Chabahar duty-free zone. 
  • Iran-China deal impinges on India’s “strategic ties” with Iran and the use of Chabahar port. 

Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement  

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Internation Affairs; Policies affecting India’s interests 

 In news: 

  • Pakistan to allow Afghanistan to send goods to India via the Wagah border from July 15, as part of Pakistan’s commitment under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement. 
  • The decision is expected to boost Afghanistan’s exports to India. 

Do you know? 

  • Both Pakistan and India had suspended trade through the Wagah border in March to deal with the pandemic challenge. 
  • However, Pakistan is silent about allowing Indian exports to Afghanistan. 

Google to invest $10 billion in India

 Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Economy; Investment; Digital Infrastructure 

 In news: 

  • Technology giant Google to invest $10 billion (Rs. 75,000 crore) in India over the next five to seven years. 
  • The investment focuses on digitising the economy and building India-first products and services. 

Investments will focus on four areas key to digitisation —  

  1. enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language,  
  2. building products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs,  
  3. empowering businesses on their digital transformation journey, and  
  4. leveraging technology and AI for social good in areas such as health, education and agriculture. 

Karnataka-T.N. economic corridor

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Infrastructure; Environment issues 

In news: 

  • Expert Appraisal Committee of the Environment Ministry has recommended the grant of Environmental Clearance for the development of an economic corridor — the Satellite Town Ring Road (STRR) — between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. 
  • The greenfield highway is part of Bharatmala Pariyojna and will be implemented by the National Highways Authority of India. 
  • The new road would provide better, fast, safe and smooth connectivity for commuters between the two States as well as in the region. 
  • The NHAI said that 12,111 trees would be felled for the project and 206 persons would be affected with regard to property and other structures. 

Important value additions 

About Bharatmala Pariyojana  

  • It is a new umbrella program for the highways sector that focuses on optimizing efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country. 
  • It bridges critical infrastructure gaps through effective interventions like development of Economic Corridors, Inter Corridors and Feeder Routes, National Corridor Efficiency Improvement, Border and International connectivity roads, Coastal and Port connectivity roads and Green-field expressways. 
  • It is a centrally-sponsored and funded Road and Highways project of the Government of India. 
  • It is both enabler and beneficiary of other key Government of India schemes, such as Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors, Industrial corridors, UDAN-RCS, BharatNet, Digital India and Make in India. 

About Expert appraisal committee 

  • It exists at the Union as well as state levels (state expert appraisal committee or SEAC)  
  • It is formed to advise the government on environmental clearance of development projects. 
  • They are involved at all the stages, except for public hearing. 

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)  

  • It is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development. 
  • Both EPA and EIA are provided under Environment Protection Act 1980. 

Place/Region in news: Mont Blanc


  • Mont Blanc is the second-highest mountain in Europe after Mount Elbrus. 
  • It is the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe. 
  • The mountain stands in a range called the Graian Alps, between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France. 

Pic: Mont Blanc 



Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
  • Government policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Enabling people to govern themselves

Context: Governance systems at all levels, i.e. global, national, and local, have experienced stress as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic 

Challenges of Governance during COVID-19 time 

  • Simultaneous issues: Breakdowns in many subsystems had to be managed at the same time — in health care, logistics, business, finance, and administration. 
  • Contradictions: Solutions for one subsystem backfired on other subsystems.  
  • For example, lockdowns to make it easier to manage the health crisis have made it harder to manage economic distress simultaneously. 
  • Lost Focus on other health issues: Diversion of resources to focus on the threat to life posed by COVID-19 had increased vulnerabilities to death from other diseases, and even from malnutrition in many parts of India. 
  • Exposed Weakness of International Institutions: There is a mismatch in the design of governance institutions at the global level (and also in India) with the challenges they are required to manage. 

Weakness of present Governance Systems 

  • Lacks integrated approach: The global challenges listed in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of UN are systemic challenges interconnected with each other, which must be addressed urgently by UN 
  • Silo-ed approach: Environmental, economic, and social issues cannot be separated from each other and solved by experts in silos or by agencies focused only on their own problems.  
  • Neglects local conditions: Solutions for environmental sustainability along with sustainable livelihoods cannot be the same in Kerala and Ladakh and Tokyo 
  • Lacks Public Participation: For the local people to support the implementation of solutions, they must believe the solution is the right one for them, and not a solution thrust upon them by outside experts 

Way Ahead- A case for local systems 

1. Governance of the people must be not only for the people. It must be by the people too.Government must devolve power to citizens in villages and towns in India for them to govern their own affairs 

2. Changing the mindset and approach towards Governance 

  • The dominant theory in practice of good government has become ‘government of the people, by the government, for the political party in power’.  
  • Administrative officers see their role as ‘deliverers of good government’ rather than as ‘enablers of governance’. This has strengthened the image of a paternalist government taking care of its wards 
  • The administrator’s task has become complicated when the numbers of government schemes multiplied — some designed by the central government, and others by State government.  
  • This has resulted into redundancy and inefficiency of work 
  • The government has to support and enable people to govern themselves, to realise the vision of ‘government of the people, for the people, by the people’. 


Those States and countries in which local governance was stronger have done much better than others. This shows that there is need to relook at governance models, preferably the Gandhian way of decentralisation of power 

Connecting the dots

  • Critical Analysis of the working of 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts 


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) Chabahar Port, recently in news is located in the 

  1. Persian Gulf 
  2. Gulf of Oman 
  3. Gulf of Aden 
  4. Red Sea  

Q.2) Delaram-Zaranj highway connects 

  1. Afghanistan and Iran 
  2. China and Pakistan 
  3. Afghanistan and India 
  4. Iran and Pakistan 

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding Expert appraisal committee:

  1. It exists at the Union level only. 
  2. The committee is involved at all the stages of environmental clearance. 

Which of the statements 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 ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana’

  1. It is a joint project of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and Ministry of Shipping
  2. National Highways Development Project (NHDP) will be subsumed under Bharatmala Pariyojana

Choose the appropriate option from code given below: 

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

Q.5) Consider the following statements 

  1. The place in the crust where the movement starts is called the epicentre. 
  2. The place on the surface above the Epicentre is called the focus. 
  3. Focus is also known as Hypocentre 

Select the incorrect statements

  1. 1 and 2 only 
  2. 1 and 3 only 
  3. 2 and 3 only 
  4. All of the above 


1  A 
2  D 
3  C 
4  C 
5  A 

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