DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th August 2022

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  • August 30, 2022
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Small Cells for 5G

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  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: To expedite the roll out of 5G, telecom operators in the country will leverage street furniture such as poles, advertisement hoardings and bus shelters for deploying low power base stations called ‘Small Cells’ that will help bring the network closer to the consumers.

Key Highlights

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper on the Use of street furniture for small cell and aerial fibre deployment, wherein it states that Small Cells will play a critical role in success of 5G as these are needed to exploit features of 5G such as low latency (minimal delay times), ultra-high speeds, and massive connection densities.
  • As the network frequency travels a very low distance, hence the wavelength is lower at higher frequency. To get high frequency, the establishment of Small Cells is necessary for deploying 5G as opposed to earlier generations such as 4G.
  • For deploying the 5G network poles such as street lights, electricity and traffic poles will be used to install Small Cells, and a good ecosystem of such poles already exists throughout the nation.

Small Cells

  • Small cell is an umbrella term used to describe a miniature radio access point (AP) or wireless network base station with a low radio frequency (RF) power output, footprint, and range.
  • These are low-powered radio access nodes or base stations that have a coverage range from a few metres to a few hundred metres.
  • They are portable, easy to deploy and help provide localised coverage.
  • Small Cells provide coverage for very short distances and therefore they are installed in a large number for good geographical coverage to provide highly reliable and high-capacity broadband.
  • Considering the present situation, the fifth-generation (5G) small cell is poised to usher in an era of innovation on a massive scale, ensuring significantly improved signal penetration and superior coverage.

Must Read: 5G technology

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

With reference to communication technologies, what is/are the difference/differences between LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution)? (2019)

  1. LTE is commonly marketed as 3G and VoLTE is commonly marketed as advanced 3G.
  2. LTE is data-only technology and VoLTE is voice-only technology.

Select the correct answer using the code given below

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

5G Architecture

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  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: India’s largest telecom company Reliance Jio announced the launch of its 5G services in 4 metros.

  • The company said it will launch its 5G services on “standalone” 5G architecture, against the “non-standalone” approach.

What are the two different modes of 5G networks?

  • 5G networks are deployed mainly on two modes: standalone and non-standalone.
  • Both architectures have their advantages and disadvantages, and the path chosen by operators primarily reflects their view of the market for the new technology.
  • In the standalone mode the 5G network operates with dedicated equipment, and runs parallel to the existing 4G network, while in the non-standalone mode, the 5G network is supported by the 4G core infrastructure.
  • Given that the non-standalone networks are built on existing infrastructure, the initial cost and the time taken to roll out services through this track is significantly less than standalone networks.

What are the key differentiators between standalone and non-standalone 5G networks?

  • The standalone mode provides access to full 5G capabilities and new network functionalities such as slicing that provides greater flexibility to operators to efficiently use their spectrum holdings.
  • Non-standalone networks are generally considered to be a stepping stone.
  • The non-standalone mode, however, lets operators maximise the utilisation of their existing network infrastructure with relatively lower investment.
  • The biggest difference in the two architectures is the compatibility with existing device ecosystems.
  • Most smartphones today have capability to connect to non-standalone 5G networks — which are essentially 5G airwaves transmitted through 4G networks — and will require software updates by their OEMs to be able to connect to standalone networks.

Does the nature of the 5G network also determine use cases?

  • For most industrial use cases such as manufacturing, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, the speeds and latency levels offered by 5G telephony are the key selling propositions.
  • These low latencies and high Internet speeds can only be made available through the standalone architecture.
  • Also, given the high investments that would have typically gone into standalone modes, operators would look at designing high-margin offerings for business customers on these networks.
  • Comparatively, the early rollout timelines and low infrastructure costs would make non-standalone networks more attractive for smartphone users.
  • Non-standalone is the most widely available ecosystem in the world.

Source: Indianexpress.com

Places in News

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  • Prelims – Geography (Map)


  • Indian graziers were stopped by the Chinese army at Demchok in Ladakh.
  • The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) objected to the presence of graziers within India’s perception of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) near Saddle Pass at CNN junction in Demchok.
  • In 2018, China had pitched tents metres away from the Charding Nilung Nallah in Demchok or the CNN junction.

  • India and China have held 16 rounds of meetings of Senior Commanders so far.
  • Both sides failed to achieve a breakthrough for disengagement at Patrolling Point 15 in the Hot Springs area.
  • With disengagement completed on the north and south bank of Pangong Tso, a phased disengagement is yet to take place in other friction areas in Eastern Ladakh, including Depsang and Demchok sectors.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Siachen Glacier is situated to the (2020)

  1. East of Aksai Chin
  2. East of Leh
  3. North of Gilgit
  4. North of Nubra Valley

UN High Seas Treaty

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: The recent negotiations involving 168 countries, to agree on a UN treaty for protecting oceans was unsuccessful.

What is the proposed UN High Seas treaty?

  • Also referred to as the ‘Paris Agreement for the Ocean’, the treaty to deal with Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction has been under discussion for several years.
  • It concerns the ocean existing beyond the Exclusive Economic Zones that lie from the coast of a country to about 200 nautical miles, till where it has special rights for exploration. Waters beyond that are known as open seas or high seas.
  • The treaty was to be negotiated under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 which governs the rights of countries regarding marine resources.
  • As there is no treaty for conserving the health of vast swathes of the earth’s oceans, a UN resolution in 2017 had decided to rectify this while setting 2022 as the deadline.
  • Negotiations included establishing marine protected areas to put limits on certain activities, environmental impact assessments or clearances for sustainability of works, financial support to countries and sharing other scientific knowledge.

How are the world’s oceans regulated as of now?

  • Some treaties, along with the UNCLOS, regulate the conduct of actors on the high seas.
  • The UNCLOS led to the establishment of territorial sea boundaries 22 km offshore, deciding the region up to which countries could claim full sovereign territorial rights, as well as the 200 nautical miles EEZ limit. It also created the International Seabed Authority and other conflict-resolution mechanisms.
  • But a treaty dedicated to protecting ocean health does not exist as of now.
  • Conversely, every country has the right to access open seas, resulting in large-scale drilling and trawling operations for catching fish and other animals for commercial purposes.

What are the risks of countries failing to reach an agreement?

  • 95% of global warming is occurring in the ocean.
  • The effects of ocean warming include sea level rise due to thermal expansion, coral bleaching, accelerated melting of Earth’s major ice sheets, intensified hurricanes, and changes in ocean health and biochemistry.
  • Excessive fishing has increased manifold over the years, and a third of species such as sharks and rays are at the risk of extinction, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Despite acknowledging these threats, members failed to agree on how to deal with these threats.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. A coastal state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baseline determined in accordance with the convention.
  2. Ships of all states, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.
  3. The Exclusive Economic Zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

The Integrated Pharmaceutical Database Management System 2.0 and Pharma Sahi Daam 2.0 apps launched

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: Two apps were launched during the inaugural session of the silver jubilee celebrations of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

The Integrated Pharmaceutical Database Management System 2.0

  • IPDMS 2.0 is an integrated, responsive, cloud-based application developed by NPPA with technical support from Centre for Advance Computing (C-DAC).
  • It is envisaged to optimise synergies in operations in order to promote the government’s thrust on ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
  • It would provide a single window for submissions of various forms as mandated under Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013.
  • It would also enable paperless functioning of NPPA and facilitate the stakeholders to connect with it from across the country.

Pharma Sahi Daam

  • Pharma Sahi Daam from NPPA is an online search tool for checking prices of Scheduled/Non-Scheduled medicines instantly at the time of purchasing medicines and for searching medicine substitutes.
  • Pharma Sahi Daam 2.0 app will have updated features like speech recognition, availability in Hindi and English, share button and medicine bookmarking.
  • This version of Pharma Sahi Daam also has a facility for launching complaints by consumers through the consumer complaint-handling module.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

  • NPPA was constituted by the Government of India in 1997 as an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers as an independent regulator for pricing of drugs and to ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  • It was made to fix/revise prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce price and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995-2013 (DPCO).


  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the NPPA.
  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages and to take remedial steps.
  • To collect/maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc., for bulk drugs and formulations and undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals.

Source: The Hindu

Artemis 1

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  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: The launch of a keenly awaited space mission that is being seen as the start of a new age in space exploration had to be put off due to some problems.

  • NASA’s Artemis 1 mission is aimed at exploring the Moon with the specific objective of getting human beings back on the lunar surface and possibly beyond — to Mars and elsewhere.

Artemis 1

  • Artemis 1 is all about laying the foundations for more complex and ambitious missions.
  • It is carrying several payloads in the form of small satellites called CubeSats, each of which is equipped with instruments meant for specific investigations and experiments.
  • Then there are biology experiments, investigating the behaviour of small organisms like fungi and algae in outer space, and the effect of radiation, especially the reaction on their genes.
  • The Orion spacecraft, which is specifically designed to carry astronauts into deep space on future missions, will have three dummy ‘passengers’ — mannequins made of material that mimic human bones, skin, and soft tissue.
  • These would be equipped with a host of sensors to record the various impacts of deep space atmosphere on the human body.
  • The rocket that is being used for the Artemis missions, called Space Launch System, or SLS, is the most powerful ever built.
  • The giant, 98-metre-tall rocket, weighing 2,500 tonnes, can help the Orion spacecraft achieve speeds of over 36,000 km per hour, and take it directly to the Moon.

Previous Year Question

Q.1) “The experiment will employ a trio of spacecraft flying in formation in the shape of an equilateral triangle that has sides one million kilometres long, with lasers shining between the craft”. The experiment in question refers to (2020)

  1. Voyager
  2. New Horizons
  3. LISA Pathfinder
  4. Evolved LISA


Source: Indian Express

Zombie ice

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs


  • The recent study has showed that melting of the Greenland ice sheet will unavoidably raise the global sea levels by at least 10.6 inches or 27 centimetres, no matter what climate action the world decides to take right now.
  • This is because of ‘zombie ice’, which is certain to melt away from the ice cap and blend into the ocean.

What is ‘zombie ice’?

  • Also referred to as dead or doomed ice, zombie ice is one that is not accumulating fresh snow even while continuing to be part of the parent ice sheet.
  • Such ice is “committed” to melting away and increasing sea levels.

What has led to this?

  • This is on account of warming that has already happened.
  • The research points to an equilibrium state where snowfall from the higher reaches of the Greenland ice cap flows down to recharge edges of the glaciers, and thicken them.
  • It says that over the last several decades there has been more melting and less replenishment.

What does a 10-inch rise in sea-level mean?

  • According to the UN Atlas of the Oceans, 8 of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast. Rising sea levels will make flooding, high tides and storms more frequent and worse as their impact will reach more inland.
  • This, in turn, means a threat to local economies and infrastructure. Also, low lying coastal areas will take a harder hit.

Source: Indian Express

Cloud Wars

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  • Prelims: Current Affairs

In news: Recently, the UAE and the Middle East countries are trying to catch rain through cloud seeding techniques which is the bone of contention among the countries in the region.

Cloud Seeding (Weather Modification)

  • Cloud seeding is a kind of weather modification technology to create artificial rainfall. It works only when there are enough pre-existing clouds in the atmosphere.
  • Drones are charged into the clouds and cause an electric shock due to which they clump together and cause rainfall.

  • Otherwise, in this process either silver iodide, potassium iodide or dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) is dumped onto the clouds causing rainfall. The seeds of chemicals can be delivered by plane or simply by spraying from the ground.
  • Cloud-seeding chemicals can be dispersed in clouds either by fly-through aircraft or by ground-based dispersion devices that use rockets or guns to fire canisters into the sky.

Source: Nytimes.com

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following: (2022)

  1. Carbon monoxide
  2. Nitrogen oxide
  3. Ozone
  4. Sulphur dioxide

Excess of which of the above in the environment is/are cause(s) of acid rain?

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

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Report

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 1 (Society)

Context: Recently, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released its report while highlighting the issues of

  • Daily wage earners remained the largest profession-wise group among suicide victims in 2021.
  • Significant rise in crimes against women and while chargesheet rate low.
  • Rise in crime against children and POCSO accounts third highest crime against the children.
  • Punjab has highest no of crimes rate under NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act
  • There is increase in crime against scheduled tribes (STs) registration as increase of 4% from 8,272 cases in 2020 to 8,802 in 2021 whereas cases of atrocities against scheduled castes (SCs) registered an increase of 1.2% in 2021.

Significant rise in crimes against women and while chargesheet rate low:

  • There is alarming rise of 40% in crimes against women and children however only 31% of IPC cases being charge sheeted.
  • A rapid 111% jump in cases of cybercrimes.
  • Majority of cases under crime against women under IPC were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’ (31.8 per cent) followed by ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’ (20.8 per cent),
  • Uttar Pradesh (56,083), Rajasthan (40,738) and Maharashtra (39,526) recorded the highest number of cases from state.
  • In capital city, according to data, with 356 cases in 2021, there has been a 111% rise in cases of online fraud, online harassment, publication of explicit content, etc.

Daily wage earners remained the largest profession-wise group among suicide victims in 2021

  • The report “Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India” shows that daily wage earners remained the largest profession-wise group among suicide victims in 2021, accounting for 42,004 suicides (25.6 per cent)
  • At the national level, the number of suicides increased by 7.17 per cent from the years 2020 to 2021.
  • However, the number of suicides in the daily wage group rose by 11.52 per cent during this period. Therefore, growth in suicide in daily wage in more than national average.
  • According to the report, 10,881 suicides were recorded in the “Persons engaged in farming sector” group in 2021, including 5,318 under “farmer/cultivator” and 5,563 “agricultural labourers”.
  • From the nationwide number in 2021, the maximum of 22,207 suicides were recorded in Maharashtra, followed by Tamil Nadu (18,925), Madhya Pradesh (14,956), West Bengal (13,500) and Karnataka (13,056). Among Union Territories, Delhi recorded the highest number of 2,840 suicides.

Punjab has highest no of crimes rate under NDPS Act

  • Punjab again topped the list of crime rate (per lakh population) in cases lodged last year under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act
  • The report further showed that Himachal Pradesh — with a population of 74.06 lakh people as per NCRB — ended second on the list in the same category.

Rise in registered cases under UAPA

  • 814 cases were registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) as compared to 796 cases in 2020 while 76 cases of sedition were registered in 2021 as compared to 73 in 2020.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):

  • NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators.
  • It was recommended by Tandon Committee, National Police Commission (1977-1981) and the MHA’s Task force (1985).
  • NCRB is entrusted with the responsibility for monitoring, coordinating, and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Its publications include:
    • Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India
    • Prison Statistics India
    • Fingerprints in India
    • Report on missing women and children in India

Source: Indian Express

The return of nuclear weapons on the global platform

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  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – G2 (International Relations)

Context: An international conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) concluded at the United Nations in New York without a consensus document.

  • India, one of the world’s nuclear weapon powers, ought to be paying a lot more attention to the international nuclear discourse that is acquiring new dimensions and taking a fresh look at its own civilian and military nuclear programmes.
  • The parties to the NPT, which came into force in 1970, undertake a review of the treaty’s implementation every five years.

The failure of the Tenth Review Conference, however, does reveal many of the new challenges facing the global nuclear order today and their implications for India.

  • First, is the deepening divide between the main sponsors of the NPT back in 1970 – America and Russia.
  • Even at the height of the Cold War, there was always one major area of cooperation between the US and the Soviet Union — strong support for the NPT.
  • Second, the lack of progress in implementing the disarmament provisions of the NPT.
  • The situation today is worsened by the absence of any dialogue between the nuclear powers on arms control.
  • Third, the invasion of a non-nuclear weapon state, Ukraine, by a nuclear weapon power, Russia, has generated a whole series of new questions.
  • Russia’s decision to put his nuclear forces on alert and threaten the use of nuclear weapons has sent a shiver down the spine of those who are on the periphery of nuclear weapon states.
  • Fourth, China’s political campaign against the AUKUS arrangement has found some resonance in South East Asia. When the US and UK announced their plans to help Australia acquire nuclear-powered attack submarines in September 2021, China argued that the agreement violates the provisions of the NPT
  • Fifth, nuclear power is coming back into reckoning around the world amidst the growing challenge of climate change.
  • The draft final statement noted that “nuclear technologies can contribute to addressing climate change, mitigating and adapting to its consequences, and monitoring its impact”.

What kind of implications does the unfolding global nuclear discourse present for India?

  • One, India must find ways to end the current stasis in its civilian nuclear power generation, especially to meet its clean energy target.
  • India, which commissioned Asia’s first nuclear power station more than 50 years ago, is stuck today with a total generating capacity of barely 7,000 MW.
  • The enormous political and diplomatic energy that went into ending India’s nuclear isolation was squandered by the disastrous 2010 Civil Nuclear Liability Act which has made it impossible for private players — internal and external — to contribute to the programme.
  • Revisiting that law is now an urgent imperative for any Indian strategy to rapidly raise the contribution of nuclear power to India’s energy mix.

India must also recognise and adapt to the return of nuclear weapons as major instruments of great power military strategy. Delhi must ask itself if its nuclear weapons can deter China’s expanding atomic arsenal. After 1998, India premised its strategy on building “credible minimum deterrence”. The time has come to reflect on the “credible” side of that strategy and redefine what the ‘minimum’ might be.

Timeline of India’s Nuclear Policy

  • 1944 – Homi Jehangir Bhabha established Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, a nuclear research center.
  • 1962 – Chinese attack on India gave impetus for the development of Nuclear Weapons.
  • 1968 – India refused to sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • 1974 – Operation Smiling Buddha or Pokhran I nuclear test.
  • 1998 – Pokhran II nuclear test.
  • 1999 – Announcement of India’s Nuclear Doctrine and NFU
  • 2003 – Establishment of Nuclear Command Authority

India’s Nuclear Doctrine

  • India’s Nuclear Doctrine is founded on the idea that it will only use nuclear weapons in reprisal for a country’s effort to use nuclear weapons against India, its states, or its army.
  • India became the first country to achieve nuclear power without signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The following are the pillars of India’s Doctrine Treaty:

  • Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent;
  • A posture of “No First Use” nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere;
  • Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage.
  • Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorized by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • Non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states;
  • However, in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons;
  • A continuance of strict controls on the export of nuclear and missile-related materials and technologies, participation in the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continued observance of the moratorium on nuclear tests.
  • Continued commitment to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.
  • Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) – India established a three-tier Nuclear Command Authority (NCA) to oversee its nuclear weapons on January 4, 2003.

Nuclear Command Authority (NCA)

The NCA is made up of the following members:

  • political council
  • executive council
  • strategic forces command
  • The Prime Minister heads the political council. It is the body that gives the go-ahead to use nuclear weapons.
  • The prime minister’s National Security Adviser leads the executive council. Its job is to provide input to the NCA’s decision-making process and to carry out the political council’s directions.
  • The strategic forces command (SFC) would be in charge of the nuclear forces’ administration and would be in charge of firing nuclear weapons.
  • The establishment of the NCA will give India’s nuclear posture more credibility. The NCA stands out for its unwavering commitment to nuclear deterrence through civilian management of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

  • Signed in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970, now has 190 member states. It requires countries to give up any present or future plans to build nuclear weapons in return for access to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  • Three main objectives of the treaty are non-proliferation, disarmament, and the right to peacefully use nuclear technology.
  • India is one of the only five countries that either did not sign the NPT or signed but withdrew, thus becoming part of a list that includes Pakistan, Israel, North Korea, and South Sudan.
  • India always considered the NPT as discriminatory and had refused to sign it.
  • India has opposed the international treaties aimed at non-proliferation since they were selectively applicable to the non-nuclear powers and legitimised the monopoly of the five nuclear weapons powers (United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and China).

Source: Indian Express

Sub-national fiscal correction

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  • Prelims – GST Council, FRBM Act etc
  • Mains – GS 2 (Federalism and challenges); GS 3 (Economy)


  • Recent concerns over excessive doling out of freebies by States are often interpreted as intrusion into the federal powers of the States.
  • As both the Union government and States are expected to work closely in a co-operative federal structure, frictions arising out of freebies by States might have repercussions on both resource sharing and expenditure prioritisation. Hence, it is important that the Centre and States are on the same page on these issues.

Issues in India’s fiscal federalism: In recent times, three issues have emerged as major discussion points in India’s fiscal federalism, leading to back-and-forth exchanges between the Centre and States.

  • Issues related to Goods and Services Tax (GST) such as the rate structure, inclusion and exclusion of commodities, revenue sharing from GST and associated compensation.
  • State-level expenditure patterns especially related to the welfare schemes of States.
  • Implementation of central schemes.

Discretionary expenditure: In this context, it is important to distinguish between two kinds of public expenditure.

  • Mandatory spending is expenditure that is governed by formulae or criteria set forth, rather than by periodic appropriations and as such, unless explicitly changed, the previous year’s spending bill applies to the current year for these items of expenditure.
  • Discretionary spending is expenditure that is governed by annual or other periodic appropriations.
  • While States demand more fiscal space for increasing discretionary spending, the Centre is pushing for more fiscal discipline by reducing the scope for discretionary spending and limiting States to focus on mandatory expenditures.
  • Discretionary expenditure is, at the same time, more volatile than mandatory expenditure. Cross country empirical evidence also shows that discretionary expenditure is not contemporaneously correlated with output growth and the correlation is low for the next immediate time period.

Sub-national fiscal consolidation:

  • The current debate around freebies needs to be viewed in this larger context of sub-national fiscal consolidation.
  • In a federal system, States’ fiscal stress gets spilled over to the Centre, leading to a situation of overall magnified fiscal slippages.
  • As the economy is recovering from crisis- economic slowdown and COVID-19, there exists a need to adhere to the path of fiscal correction both by the Centre and by the States, as a crisis demands more discretionary spending than normal times.
  • However, in the Indian context, many States indulge in higher levels of expenditures towards maintaining what they call as their ‘models of welfare provisioning.’

Fiscal consolidation

  • Sustained increase in welfare expenditure by the States leads to fiscal expansion, which necessitates additional resource mobilisation. When efforts towards additional resource mobilisation yield limited success, as in the case of many States in India, the States resort to borrowings.
  • Fiscal expansion financed through debt and the resultant debt accumulation have important impacts on the economy both in the short run as well as in the long run.
  • On the contrary, if use of borrowings is to finance only the current expenditure, it poses the risk of debt rising to unsustainable levels.

FRMB Act or Financial Responsibility and Budgeting Management Act:

  • As per the FRBM Act 2003, the Indian parliament sets a target for the government to establish financial discipline, improve the administration of public finances, strengthen fiscal prudence, and reduce the country’s fiscal deficit to a tolerable 3% of GDP by 2008.
  • However due to financial crises like the 2008 global financial crisis, 2019 economic slowdown and COVID-19, the target Under FRBMA is being continuously delayed.

N.K. Singh committee to review the FRBM Act, 2003: Important recommendations made by the committee:

  • A debt-to-GDP ratio of 40% for the central government, 20% for the state governments
  • A fiscal deficit of 2.5% of GDP (gross domestic product), both by financial year 2022-23 (this was later relaxed)
  • Enact a new Debt and Fiscal Responsibility Act after repealing the existing Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, and creating a fiscal council.
  • Revenue deficit-to-GDP ratio has been envisaged to decline steadily by 0.25 percentage points each year from 3% in 2016-17 to 0.8% in 2022-23.
  • To deal with unforeseen events such as war, calamities of national proportion, collapse of agricultural activity, far-reaching structural reforms, and sharp decline in real output growth of at least 3 percentage points, the committee has specified deviation in fiscal deficit target of not more than 0.5 percentage points.

Way forward: Data published by the RBI show that in recent years, States’ outstanding debt has registered an upward movement.

  • With dwindling revenue receipts, many States had to opt for expenditure compression to adhere to the fiscal responsibility legislation target.
  • This scenario underscores the importance of fiscal correction at the State level. While there exists a need for raising additional resources at the sub-national levels, expenditure prioritisation must be carried out diligently.

Must Read – Freebies

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Review Committee Report has recommended a debt to GDP ratio of 60% for the general (combined) government by 2023, comprising 40% for the Central Government and 20% for the State Governments.
  2. The Central Government has domestic liabilities of 21% of GDP as compared to that of 49% of GDP of the State Governments.
  3. As per the Constitution of India, it is mandatory for a State to take the Central Government’s consent for raising any loan if the former owes any outstanding liabilities to the latter.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Baba’s Explainer – Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income


  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Read Complete Details on Universal Basic Income

Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following countries:

  1. UAE
  2. Pakistan
  3. China
  4. India
  5. Israel

Which among the above are not Signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?

  1. 1 2 and 5 only
  2. 1 3 and 5 only
  3. 2 4 and 5 only
  4. 1 2 3 and 5 only

Q.2) Consider the following statements

  1. Small cells are low-powered radio access nodes that have a coverage range from a few metres to a few hundred metres.
  2. They are portable and easy to deploy.
  3. The establishment of Small Cells is necessary for deploying 5G as opposed to earlier generations such as 4G.

Choose the incorrect statements:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. None

Q.3) Arrange the following regions from North to South

  1. Galwan Valley
  2. Daulat Beg Oldi
  3. Pangong lake
  4. Chumar
  5. Demchok

Choose the correct code:

  1. 2-1-3-4-5
  2. 1-2-4-3-5
  3. 2-1-4-5-3
  4. 1-2-3-5-4

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

ANSWERS FOR ’30th  August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.

ANSWERS FOR 29th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – b

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