DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th August 2022

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  • August 29, 2022
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Taiwan Strait

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  • Prelims – Geography (Map based)
  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations – India & its Neighbourhood)

In News: The U.S. Navy is sailing two warships through the Taiwan Strait, at a time when tensions have kept the waterway particularly busy.

Taiwan Strait

  • The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a 180 km wide strait separating Taiwan and mainland China.
  • The strait is currently part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north. The narrowest part is 130 km wide.
  • The entire strait is on Asia’s continental shelf.
  • Historically both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan espoused a One-China Policy that considered the strait part of the exclusive economic zone of a single “China”.

Recent Developments

  • The recent visit by US speaker to Taiwan is not being well received by China.
  • It has sparked intense tensions between the two powerful countries- China and US as China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province.

China-Taiwan Relations:

  • Taiwan is an island territory across the Taiwan Strait, located off the coast of mainland China.
  • The ruling Kuomintang (Nationalist) government of China fled to Taiwan after being defeated by the communist forces in the Chinese civil war of 1945-1949.
  • Following the split of China and Taiwan in the civil war, the Republic of China (ROC) government was relocated to Taiwan. On the other hand, the Communist Party of China (CPC) established the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the mainland.
  • Since then, the PRC observes Taiwan as a traitor province and awaits reintegration with Taiwan, if possible, by peaceful means.
  • PRC allied itself with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and ROC with the US in the cold war further straining the China-Taiwan relations.
  • Currently, only 13 countries recognise Taiwan as a sovereign country.

Significance of Taiwan to the world

  • Much of the world’s global supply chain of semiconductors is reliant on Taiwan.
  • Further, its contract manufacturers together accounted for more than 60% of total global semiconductor revenue in 2021.

Relevance to China:

Economic cooperation

  • China and Taiwan’s economies are inextricably linked.
  • China is Taiwan’s biggest export partner, with an export value of 515 billion dollars from 2017 to 2022, more than double the US, which was the next biggest partner.

Geographic Aspect

  • Taiwan is much closer to mainland China than the other islands, and has been claimed by Beijing since Nationalists were driven there during the Chinese revolution in 1949.

Relevance to the United States:

  • Taiwan anchors a chain of islands which includes a list of US-friendly territories that the US is planning to use as a place of leverage for countering China’s expansionist plans.
  • The US does not have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is bound by US law (Taiwan Relations Act, 1979) to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
  • It is by far the largest arms dealer for Taiwan and follows a ‘strategic ambiguity’

Stand of India on the Taiwan Issue

  • India-Taiwan Ties: As a part of India’s Act East Foreign Policy, India has sought to cultivate extensive ties with Taiwan in trade and investment as well as developing co-operation in science & technology, environment issues and people-to-people exchange.
  • India and Taiwan do not have formal diplomatic relations but since 1995, both sides have maintained representative offices in each other’s capitals that function as de facto embassies.
  • Since 1949, India has accepted the One China policy that accepts Taiwan and Tibet as part of China.
  • Even though India has stopped mentioning its adherence to One China policy in joint statements and official documents since 2010, its engagement with Taiwan is still restricted due to the framework of ties with China.

India and other major powers must establish a red line for any Chinese attempt to annex Taiwan militarily. After all, the Taiwan issue is not simply a moral one about enabling a totalitarian state to destroy a successful democracy or a matter of international ethics about adhering to the concept of peaceful resolution of disputes.

Source: The Hindu

The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)

Country: Important reason for being in the news recently

  1. Chad: Setting up a permanent military base by China
  2. Guinea: Suspension of Constitution and Government by military
  3. Lebanon: Severe and prolonged economic depression
  4. Tunisia: Suspension of Parliament by President

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Dark matter

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  • Prelims – Science & Technology

Recent Context:

  • Recently, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured the first-ever evidence of the presence of carbon dioxide in an exoplanet’s WASP-39b atmosphere.

About exoplanet’s WASP-39b:

  • WASP-39 is a hot gas giant that was found orbiting a star around 700 light years away.
  • The exoplanet orbits its star once every four Earth days and is one-fourth the size of Jupiter but has a diameter that is 1.3 times bigger.

It is expected that JWST over its lifetime would provide us with a space data which help in resolving some of the many mysteries of the cosmos which are not directly detected such as dak matter and dark energy. 

What is dark matter?

  • All interactions in the universe are a result of four fundamental forces acting on particles — strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, electromagnetic force and gravitation.
  • Dark matter is made up of particles that do not have a charge — which means they do not interact through electromagnetic interactions.
  • So, these are particles that are “dark”, namely because they do not emit light, which is an electromagnetic phenomenon, and “matter” because they possess mass like normal matter and hence interact through gravity.
  • Gravitational force, besides not being fully integrated and understood by particle physicists, is extremely weak.
  • For one thing, a particle that interacts so weakly becomes rather elusive to detect.
  • This is because interactions from other known particles could drown out signals of dark matter particles.

What is Dark energy?

  • Dark energy is an unknown form of energy that affects the universe on the largest scales.
  • The first observational evidence for its existence came from measurements of supernovae, which showed that the universe does not expand at a constant rate and rather, the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

Are Both Dark matter and Dark energy the same?

  • About 27% of the universe is dark matter and 68% is dark energy.
  • While dark matter attracts and holds galaxies together, dark energy repels and causes the expansion of the universe.
  • Despite both components being invisible, we know a lot more about dark matter, since its existence was suggested as early as the 1920s, while dark energy wasn’t discovered until 1998.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) If a major solar storm (solar flare) reaches the Earth, which of the following are the possible effects on the Earth? (2022)

  1. GPS and navigation systems could fail.
  2. Tsunamis could occur at equatorial regions.
  3. Power grids could be damaged.
  4. Intense auroras could occur over much of the Earth.
  5. Forest fires could take place over much of the planet.
  6. Orbits of the satellites could be disturbed.
  7. Shortwave radio communication of the aircraft flying over polar regions could be interrupted.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2, 4 and 5 only
  2. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 only
  3. 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Malvinas Island

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  • Prelims – Geography (Map Based)

In News: India reiterates support to Argentina for resumption of talks on the Malvinas issue.

  • Falkland Islands, also called Malvinas Islands or Spanish Islas Malvinas, internally self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic Ocean.
  • It lies about 300 miles northeast of the southern tip of South America and a similar distance east of the Strait of Magellan.
  • The capital and major town is Stanley, on East Falkland, there are also several scattered small settlements as well as a Royal Air Force base that is located at Mount Pleasant.

History of the Falkland Islands

  • In 1820 the Argentina Government, which had declared its independence from Spain in 1816, proclaimed its sovereignty over the Falklands.
  • In early 1833, a British force expelled the few remaining Argentine officials from the island without firing a shot. In 1841, a British civilian lieutenant governor was appointed for the Falklands, and by 1885 a British community of some 1,800 people on the islands was self-supporting.
  • Argentina regularly protested Britain’s occupation of the islands.
  • After World War II (1939-45) the issue of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands shifted to the United Nations (UN) when, in 1964, the islands’ status was debated by the UN committee on decolonization.
  • In 1965, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution inviting Britain and Argentina to hold discussions to find a peaceful solution to the dispute.
  • These protracted discussions were still proceeding in February 1982, but in April Argentina’s military government invaded the Falklands.
  • This act started the Falkland Islands War, which ended 10 weeks later with the surrender of the Argentine forces at Stanley to British troops who had forcibly reoccupied the islands.
  • Although Britain and Argentina reestablished full diplomatic relations in 1990, the issue of sovereignty remained a point of contention.
  • In the early 21st century Britain continued to maintain some 2,000 troops on the islands.
  • In a referendum held in March 2013, islanders voted nearly unanimously to remain a British overseas territory.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following statements best reflects the issue with Senkaku Islands, sometimes mentioned in the news? (2022)

  1. It is generally believed that they are artificial islands made by a country around South China Sea.
  2. China and Japan engage in maritime disputes over these islands in East China Sea.
  3. A permanent American military base has been set up there to help Taiwan to increase its defence capabilities.
  4. Though International Court of Justice declared them as no man’s land, some South-East Asian countries claim them.

Nuclear matrix

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  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: Using a novel method, a group of researchers from CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad (CCMB) and Tata Institute for Genetics and Society, Bengaluru (TIGS), have established a way of studying the nuclear matrix of the fruit fly ( Drosophila melanogaster) without removing the nucleus from the embryo.

Nuclear matrix

  • The nuclear matrix is like scaffolding (support).
  • Every cell that makes up an organism contains a copy of its genome.
  • This genome is packaged in special ways with the help of a structure known as the nuclear matrix.
  • The nuclear matrix gives an organisation and architecture to the nucleus.
  • The genome is in the nucleus, embedded and protected by the jelly-like nuclear matrix.
  • This is a dynamic material providing access for the regulation of different genes in different cells.
  • Studying the nuclear matrix is, therefore, very important to get a better picture of how precisely development progresses every time a new individual is born.
  • The new method treats the nuclei within the embryo itself, known as in situ nuclear matrix.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. Genetic changes can be introduced in the cells that produce eggs or sperms of a prospective parent.
  2. A person’s genome can be edited before birth at the early embryonic stage.
  3. Human-induced pluripotent stem cells can be injected into the embryo of a pig.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Aadhaar-Voter ID linkage

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity & Governance)

Context: Instances have been reported where block level officers have asked individuals to link their Aadhaar with their Voter IDs, failing which their Voter IDs could be cancelled.

  • This comes in the aftermath of the Election Commission’s (EC) campaign to promote the linkage of Voter ID and Aadhaar that began on August 1.

Why does the government want this?

  • The EC conducts regular exercises to maintain an updated and accurate record of the voter base.
  • A part of this exercise is to weed out duplication of voters, such as migrant workers who may have been registered more than once on the electoral rolls in different constituencies or for persons registered multiple times within the same constituency.
  • As per the government, linkage of Aadhaar with voter IDs will assist in ensuring that only one Voter ID is issued per citizen of India.

Is the linking of Aadhaar with one’s Voter ID mandatory?

  • In December 2021, Parliament passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1950, inter alia.
  • Section 23(4) was inserted in the RPA, 1950.
  • It states that the electoral registration officer may “for the purpose of establishing the identity of any person” or “for the purposes of authentication of entries in electoral roll of more than one constituency or more than once in the same constituency” for citizens already enrolled, require them to furnish their Aadhaar numbers.
  • To reflect this government notified changes to the Registration of Electors Rules, 1960.
  • Rule 26B was added to provide that “every person whose name is listed in the roll may intimate his Aadhar number to the registration officer”.
  • Although, the use of discretionary language throughout the amendments have been accompanied by assurances by both the government and the EC that linkage of the Aadhaar with Voter ID is optional, this does not seem to be reflected in Form 6B issued under the new Rule 26B.

The preference to use Aadhaar for verification and authentication, both by the state and private sector, stems from two reasons.

  • First, at the end of 2021, 99.7% of the adult Indian population had an Aadhaar card.
  • Second, since Aadhaar allows for biometric authentication, Aadhaar based authentication and verification is considered more reliable, quicker and cost efficient when compared to other IDs.

Puttaswamy judgment

  • In Puttaswamy, one of the questions that the Supreme Court explored was whether the mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts was constitutional or not.
  • The Court held that depriving a person of their right to property for non-linkage fell foul of the test of proportionality.
  • It needs to be considered whether requiring an Aadhaar holder to mandatorily provide Aadhaar for authentication or verification would not be considered violative of their informational autonomy (right to privacy) which would allow them to decide which official document they want to use for verification and authentication.
  • Moreover, in Lal Babu Hussein (1995), the Supreme Court had held that the Right to vote cannot be disallowed by insisting only on four proofs of identityvoters can rely on any other proof of identity and obtain the right to vote.


  • The preference to Aadhaar for the purposes of determining voters is puzzling as Aadhaar is only a proof of residence and not a proof of citizenship thus linkage will not remove voters who are not citizens of India from the electoral rolls.
  • The estimate of error rates in biometric based authentication differ widely. As per the UIDAI in 2018, Aadhaar based biometric authentication had a 12% error rate.
  • Lastly, civil society has highlighted that linking of the two databases of electoral rolls and Aadhaar could lead to the linkage of Aadhaar’s “demographic” information with voter ID information, and lead to violation of the right to privacy and surveillance measures by the state.

Way forward

It is important that the government clarifies through correction in Form 6B that the linking is not mandatory and expedites the enactment of a data protection legislation that allays concerns of unauthorised processing of personal data held by the government.

Must Read: Representation of the People Act

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. Aadhaar metadata cannot be stored for more than three months.
  2. State cannot enter into any contract with private corporations for sharing of Aadhaar data.
  3. Aadhaar is mandatory for obtaining insurance products.
  4. Aadhaar is mandatory for getting benefits funded out of the Consolidated Fund of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

S.Subramaniam Balaji vs Tamil Nadu judgment

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  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity & Governance)


  • Recently, the Supreme Court referred to a three-judge Bench a series of petitions seeking a judicial direction that political parties who make “wild” promises of largesse should also reveal in their poll manifestos where they will get the money to pay for them.
  • The reference is a shift from the court’s own stand in the S. Subramaniam Balaji vs Tamil Nadu judgment of 2013.

What happened?

  • In the Balaji case judgment, the SC had held that making promises in election manifestos do not amount to a ‘corrupt practice’ under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act (RP).
  • The Courts’ recent stand is that parties who form the government riding the wave created by their pre-poll promises of “free gifts” are bleeding the State finances dry by actually trying to fulfil their outlandish promises using public money.
  • The Supreme Court has therefore decided to revisit the Balaji verdict.

What triggered the Balaji case?

  • During the run-up to the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections in 2006 and 2011.
  • Few political parties released their election manifesto announcing a scheme of free distribution of colour television sets (CTVs) grinders, mixies, electric fans, laptop computers, four gram gold thalis, etc.
  • Balaji, a resident of Tamil Nadu, challenged the schemes in the Madras High Court stating that the expenditure to be incurred by the State from the exchequer was “unauthorised, impermissible and ultra vires the constitutional mandates”.

How did the case play out?

Mr. Balaji’s arguments

  • He argued that the State cannot act in furtherance of “eccentric principles of socialistic philanthropy”.
  • He argued that the promises of free distribution of non-essential commodities in an election manifesto amounts to electoral bribe under Section 123 of the RP Act.
  • The distribution of goods to certain sections of people was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The State of Tamil Nadu’s arguments

  • It countered that promises of political parties do not constitute corrupt practice.
  • Political parties are not the State and ‘freebies’ is a nebulous term which has no legal status.
  • The promises implemented by the party after forming the government are an obligation under the Directives Principles of State Policy.
  • The State is only doing its duty to promote the welfare of its people.
  • The promises are implemented by framing various schemes/guidelines/eligibility criteria etc. as well as with the approval of the legislature.
  • Thus, it cannot be construed as a waste of public money or be prohibited by any statute or scheme.


  • The court’s judgment held that promises by a political party cannot constitute a ‘corrupt practice’ on its part.
  • It would be “misleading” to construe that all promises in the election manifesto would amount to corrupt practice.
  • The manifesto of a political party is a statement of its policy. The question of implementing the manifesto arises only if the political party forms a government

However, the court agreed that freebies create an “uneven playing field”. It had asked the Election Commission of India to consult political parties and issue guidelines on the election manifesto and make it a part of the Model Code of Conduct.

Why is the Court’s move to review the Balaji judgment significant?

  • The court foresees that freebies may create a situation wherein the State government cannot provide basic amenities due to lack of funds and the States are pushed towards imminent bankruptcy.
  • The court wants a transparent debate on whether an “enforceable” judicial order can stop political parties from promising and distributing ‘irrational freebies’.


Reviewing its own judgements

  • Constitutional Provision: Under Article 137 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the power to review any of its judgments or orders.
  • The Court has the power to review its rulings to correct a “patent error” and not “minor mistakes of inconsequential import”.
  • A review is by no means an appeal in disguise.
  • That means the Court is allowed not to take fresh stock of the case but to correct grave errors that have resulted in the miscarriage of justice.

Must Read: Freebies

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. Pursuant to the report of H.N. Sanyal Committee, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was passed.
  2. The Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and the High Courts to punish for contempt of themselves.
  3. The Constitution of India defines Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt.
  4. In India, the Parliament is vested with the powers to make laws on Contempt of Court.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Baba’s Explainer – Competition Amendment Bill

Competition Amendment Bill


  • GS-2: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and related issues

Read Complete Details on Competition Amendment Bill

Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements about software-as-a-services (SaaS)

  1. It is a software distribution model in which services are hosted by a cloud service provider.
  2. The end-users do not need to install any software on their devices to access these services.

Choose the incorrect statements:

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

Q.2) Which among the following is/are the verticals of Arth Ganga

  1. Monetization and Reuse of Sludge & Wastewater
  2. Zero Budget Natural Farming
  3. Promote institutional building by empowering local administration
  4. Livelihood Generation Opportunities

Choose the correct code:

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements:

Islands and Location

  1. Paracel Islands – East China Sea
  2. Kuril Islands – North Pacific Ocean
  3. Falkland Islands – South Atlantic Ocean
  4. Senkaku Islands – Indian Ocean

How many pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

  1. One pair only
  2. Two pairs only
  3. Three pairs only
  4. Four pairs only

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’29th  August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.

ANSWERS FOR 27th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – a

Q.3) – d

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