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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th May 2022

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  • May 11, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Minority Status in India

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies; Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States)

In News: Supreme Court expressed displeasure over the Centre changing its stand on a plea that sought minority status for Hindus where their numbers have gone below other communities

What Happened?

  • In the earlier (March) affidavit, the Centre had sought to shift the onus of granting minority status on states, stating centre and state have concurrent powers to do so
  • However, in a fresh affidavit it said “the power is vested with the Centre to notify minorities”

Background

What is the case?

  • The plea contended that Hindus are in a ‘minority’ in six states and three Union Territories of India but was allegedly not able to avail themselves of the benefits of schemes meant for minorities.
  • Plea Showed as per 2011 census Hindus have become a minority in Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%), and Punjab (38.40%).
  • They should be given minority status in these states in accordance with the principle laid down by the SC in its 2002 TMA Pai Foundation and 2005 Bal Patil Case ruling.
  • The petition also argued that NCMEI (National Commission for Minority Education Institution) Act 2004 gives unbridled power to the Centre and is “manifestly arbitrary, irrational, and offending”.
  • Section 2(f) of NCMEI Act 2004 confers power to the Centre to identify and notify minority communities in India

TMA Pai Case:

  • The SC had said that for the purposes of Article 30 that deals with the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, religious and linguistic minorities have to be considered state-wise.

Bal Patil Case:

  • In 2005, the SC in its judgement in ‘Bal Patil’ referred to the TMA Pai ruling.
  • The legal position clarifies that henceforth the unit for determining status of both linguistic and religious minorities would be ‘state’.

What was the Centre’s stand (earlier)?

  • Earlier centre stated that Parliament and State legislatures have concurrent powers to enact law to provide for the protection of minorities and their interests.
  • States can also “certify institutions as being minority institutions” as per the rules of the said state.
  • The Centre pointed out that Maharashtra had notified Jews as a minority community in 2016 and Karnataka had notified Urdu, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu, Lamani, Hindi, Konkani and Gujarati as minority languages.
  • But now in a fresh it contended that “the power is vested with the Centre to notify minorities”

How is a community notified as a minority?

  • Under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act of 1992 central government has the power to notify a community as a minority

Notified Minorities in India

  • Currently, only those communities notified under section 2(c) of the NCM Act, 1992, by the central government are regarded as minority.
  • In 1993, the first Statutory National Commission was set up and five religious communities viz. The Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities.
  • In 2014, Jains were also notified as a minority community.

National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

  • In 1992, with the enactment of the NCM Act, 1992, the Minority Commission became a statutory body and was renamed as the NCM

Composition:

  • NCM consists of a Chairperson, a Vice-Chairperson and five members and all of them shall be from amongst the minority communities.
  • Total of 7 persons to be nominated by the Central Government should be from amongst persons of eminence, ability and integrity.
  • Tenure: Each Member holds office for a period of three years from the date of assumption of office.

Functions:

  • Evaluation of the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States
  • Monitoring of the working of the safeguards for minorities provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the state legislatures
  • Making recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the central or state governments
  • Investigates matters of communal conflict and riots
  • Looking into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities

Constitutional Provisions for Minorities

Article 29

  • It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
  • It grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities

Article 30:

  • All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29).

Article 350-B:

  • The 7th Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1956 inserted this article which provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
  • It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Right to privacy’ is protected under which Article of the Constitution of India? (2021)

  1. Article 15
  2. Article 19
  3. Article 21
  4. Article 29

Source: Indian Express


National Family Health Survey - 5

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Important Surveys; reports etc
  • Mains – GS 2 (Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

In News: NFHS – Highlights

Child Nutrition

  • The survey has found that 89 per cent of children between the formative ages of 6-23 months do not receive a “minimum acceptable diet’’
  • This is only marginally better than the 90.4 per cent recorded in NFHS-4.
  • Among all states and Union Territories, the proportion of children aged 6-23 months who received a minimum acceptable diet was highest in Meghalaya (28.5 per cent) and the lowest in UP and Gujarat (5.9 per cent each).
  • Apart from Gujarat and UP, 5 other states Assam (7.2 per cent), Rajasthan (8.3 per cent), Maharashtra (8.9 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (9 per cent), MP (9 per cent) recorded a lower than national-level proportion (11 per cent) of children receiving adequate diet.
  • Among the top-five states where the percentage of children from 6-23 months receiving adequate diet was highest, Meghalaya was followed by Sikkim (23.8 per cent), Kerala (23.3 per cent), Ladakh (23.1 per cent) and Puducherry (22.9 per cent).
  • The minimum acceptable diet is a composite of two main things: breastfeeding and its frequency up to two years, and dietary diversity.
  • A child needs at least four of the food groups indicated by the WHO every day to have a minimum acceptable diet
  • Deficiency in diet in a child’s formative years has a direct bearing on malnutrition. This is the most direct indicator of child malnutrition — stunting, wasting and underweight children — and India has one of the highest malnutrition burdens in the world

Age Pyramid of India

  • India’s population remains young, with more than one-fourth aged less than 15 years and less than an eighth over 60
  • There has been only a slight dip in the young, the under-15 population has declined by 2 percentage points, from 29% to 27%, while the over-60 population has increased by as many points, from 10% to 12%.
  • Over half the population (52%) is below 30, compared to 55.5% in NFHS-4.

  • The age pyramid shows India’s population is young, which, NFHS-5 notes, is typical of developing countries with low life expectancy.

Households

  • The average household size has decreased slightly between 2015-16 and 2019-21 (from 4.6 persons to 4.4).
  • Just over one-sixth of households (18%) have female heads, up from 15% in NFHS-4.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) As per the NSSO 70th Round “Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households”, consider the following statements (2018)

  1. Rajasthan has the highest percentage share of agricultural households among its rural households.
  2. Out of the total agricultural households in the country, a little over 60 percent belong to OBCs.
  3. In Kerala, a little over 60 percent of agricultural households reported to have received maximum income from sources other than agricultural activities.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 2 and 3
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)? (2017)

  1. It decides the RBI’s benchmark interest rates.
  2. It is a 12-member body including the Governor of RBI and is reconstituted every year.
  3. It functions under the chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister.

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3 only

Source: Indian Express & Indian Express


Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: There was an attack on the Punjab Police’s Intelligence headquarters in Mohali

  • The weapon recovered after the attack was identified as a Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG)

What is the Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG)?

  • The RPG is a weapon of Soviet origin, and its initials stand for Rucknoy Peotivotankovvy Granaromyot, which roughly translated means a handheld anti-tank grenade launcher.
  • It is a portable, shoulder fired weapon, which is easy to operate and can cause widespread damage whether used in an anti-personnel mode, against armoured vehicles or against buildings.
  • There are different versions of the RPG which are designed as per the usage of the weapon with varying capacity of the warhead, effective range and penetration levels.

Origins of the RPG

  • The origins of RPG lie in the various conflicts that have taken place in modern military warfare, dating back to World War I
  • RPG has made its presence felt in almost every major insurgency or terrorism-affected region in the world.

Can such weapons be easily procured by terrorists?

  • There is a thriving illicit market for Soviet-origin weapons like the RPG, which are still in circulation worldwide.
  • Such weapons are not difficult to procure by arms smugglers, and these then find their way to terrorist organisations
  • Eastern European countries, especially those from the former Soviet Union bloc, are well-known markets for the sale and purchase of these weapons.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) The term ‘ACE2’ is talked about in the context of

  1. genes introduced in the genetically modified plants
  2. development of India’s own satellite navigation system
  3. radio collar for wildlife tracking
  4. spread of viral diseases

Source: Indian Express


Exchange Rate

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains – GS 3 (Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment)

In News: The rupee fell to an all-time low and is currently at 77.20 to the American dollar

What does exchange rate signify?

  • The rupee’s exchange rate vis-a-vis a particular currency tells us how many rupees are required to buy that particular currency
  • If the rupee’s exchange rate “falls”, it implies that buying American goods would become costlier.
  • At the same time, Indian exporters may benefit because their goods now are more attractive (cheaper) to the American customers.

How is the exchange rate determined?

  • In a free-market economy, the exchange rate is decided by the supply and demand for rupees and dollars.
  • However, in India, the exchange rate is not fully determined by the market.
  • From time to time, the RBI intervenes in the foreign exchange (forex) market to ensure that the rupee “price” does not fluctuate too much or that it doesn’t rise or fall too much all at once

What determines the rupee’s demand and supply vis-a-vis other currencies?

  • The Balance of Payment is essentially the overall ledger of how much rupee was demanded by the rest of the world and how much foreign currency (that is, currencies of all countries) was demanded by Indians.

BoP

  • Balance of Payment (BoP) of a country can be defined as a systematic statement of all economic transactions of a country with the rest of the world during a specific period usually one year.
  • It indicates whether the country has a surplus or a deficit on trade.
  • When exports exceed imports, there is a trade surplus and when imports exceed exports there is a trade deficit.

Components of BoP:

  • For preparing BoP accounts, economic transactions between a country and rest of the world are grouped under – Current account, Capital account and Errors and Omissions. It also shows changes in Foreign Exchange Reserves.

Current Account:

  • It shows export and import of visibles (also called merchandise or goods – represent trade balance) and invisibles (also called non-merchandise).
  • Invisibles include services, transfers and income.

Capital Account:

  • It shows a capital expenditure and income for a country.
  • It gives a summary of the net flow of both private and public investment into an economy

Foreign Exchange Reserves –

  • Overall the BoP account can be a surplus or a deficit.
  • If there is a deficit then it can be bridged by taking money from the Foreign Exchange (Forex) Account.
  • If the reserves in the forex account are falling short then this scenario is referred to as BoP crisis.
  • Thus BoP can be used as an indicator to determine whether the country’s currency value is appreciating or depreciating.

How does the rupee’s exchange rate fluctuate?

  • Exports and imports – affect exchange rate as exports earn of foreign currency while imports require payments in foreign currency.
  • Interest rate – on government securities and bonds, corporate securities etc affect the outflow and inflow of foreign currency; the US central bank raises its interest rates and looks set to raise them further in the future
  • Intervention of the Reserve Bank of India
  • Inflation (crude oil prices go up sharply)

What is the RBI’s role in this?

  • To soften the rupee’s fall, the RBI would sell in the market some of the dollars it has in its forex reserves.
  • This will soak up a lot of rupees from the market, thus moderating the demand-supply gap between rupee and dollars.
  • The eventual impact of a fall depends on several factors. For instance, a fall can help India’s exporters — unless they importing raw materials, which would become costlier.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) Consider the following statements:

The effect of devaluation of a currency is that it necessarily

  1. improves the competitiveness of the domestic exports in the foreign markets
  2. increases the foreign value of domestic currency
  3. improves the trade balance

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 1 Only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 3 Only
  4. 2 and 3

Q.2) In the context of India, which of the following factors is/are contributor/contributors to reducing the risk of a currency crisis?

  1. The foreign currency earnings of India’s IT sector
  2. Increasing the government expenditure
  3. Remittances from Indians abroad

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3 only

Source: Indian Express


Rights of Crime Victims

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes)

In News: Supreme Court has stated that victim of a crime ought to be heard at all stages of a trial

  • In Jagjeet Singh v. Ashish Mishra (2022), SC has made sharp remarks legitimizing the claims of victim to participate in the criminal justice process.
  • The court observed that our criminal justice system conflates (combine) the presence of the state with the presence of the victim.
  • Such conflation is attributable to the traditional understanding of the criminal process wherein the trial is a contest between the state and the accused only.
  • The court also observed that the victim cannot be asked to wait till the commencement of the trial to assert their right to participate in the proceeding.
  • The victim has a legally vested right to be heard at every step post the occurrence of the offence

Impact

  • The victim as defined in Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) becomes a victim only after an accused has been charged with the offence.
  • The judgment overcomes this bar to provide the victim with the right to be recognised as a victim immediately after the occurrence of the offence.
  • Second, a victim, not being a complainant, has been deterred from several substantive pre-trial rights under the CrPC including the right to approach the superior police officer in case of a refusal to register an FIR, the right to be informed about the progress etc –
  • Thus the judgment states that the victim has ‘unbridled participatory rights’ right from the stage of the investigation.

Challenges

  • While the judgment grants participatory rights to victims at all stages of the criminal process, it remains to be seen how the judgment is interpreted in the future and which rights are consequently identified
  • A second challenge is that at the moment, there are several provisions and judicial precedents which stand in the way of a comprehensive guarantee of such rights to the victims.
  • For instance, Section 301 limits the right of the victim’s participation at the trial in a court of session to submission of written arguments after evidence is closed in the matter.

What can be done?

  • Provide legislative recognition to the principle of participation which has received the judicial stamp of approval.
  • Amend the CrPC in order to facilitate the recognition of victim rights
  • Such legislative incorporation can grant recognition to the rights of victims as well as secure their implementation by the lower judiciary as well as the functionaries of the criminal justice system.

Source: Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer – Demolition of Properties

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • GS-2: Rights

Why in News:  In the early hours of April 21, a fleet of bulldozers accompanied by hundreds of policemen descended on Jahangirpuri in northwest Delhi to demolish buildings, petty shops, and the entrance gate of a mosque. Soon after the demolitions started, the Supreme Court in an urgent hearing ordered that “status quo” be maintained until further orders.

Read Complete Details on Demolition of Properties – CLICK HERE


Daily Practice MCQs


Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. Under Article 29 grants protection to both religious as well as linguistic minorities
  2. The protection under Article 30 extend to any section of citizens as in Article 29

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.2) Which of the following statements are true, with reference to NFHS – 5?

  1. According to the survey, over half the population of India is below 30
  2. There has been dip in under 15 population in NFHS – 5 compared to NFHS – 4
  3. One-third of the Indian households are headed by Female

Choose the correct code:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 2
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.3) Which of the following factors affect the exchange rate of rupee currency?

  1. Raise in interest rate by US federal Bank
  2. Raise in crude oil prices
  3. Outflow of foreign currency

Choose the correct statements:

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 2
  4. 2 only

ANSWERS FOR 11th MAY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

1 a
2 c
3 a

 

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