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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th November 2022

  • IASbaba
  • November 8, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Falcon Heavy Rocket

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: Elon Musk owned SpaceX recently launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into a geosynchronous Earth orbit in Florida, U.S.

About Falcon Heavy Rocket:

  • This is considered as a National Security Space Launch for the U.S. military.
  • The company hails this as the most powerful operational rocket in the world.
  • This is the fourth launch of the giant rocket system, and the first one in nearly three years since its last launch in 2019.
  • The rocket is carrying satellites to space for the U.S. military in a mission named as U.S. Space Force (USSF)-44.

The mission deployed two spacecraft payloads:

  • One is the TETRA 1 microsatellite created for various prototype missions in and around the geosynchronous earth orbit.
  • It will place the satellites for the Space Systems Command’s Innovation and Prototyping.
  • Space Systems Command (SSC) is the oldest military space organisation in the United States Armed Forces.
  • It is responsible for developing, acquiring, equipping, fielding and sustaining lethal and resilient space capabilities.
  • SSC mission capability areas include launch acquisition and operations, communications and positioning, navigation and timing, space sensing, battle management command, control, and communications, and space domain awareness and combat power.

Source:The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following statements best reflects the idea behind the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System” often talked about in media?  (2022)

  1. A hypersonic missile is launched into space to counter the asteroid approaching the Earth and explode it in space.
  2. A spacecraft lands on another planet after making several orbital motions.
  3. A missile is put into a stable orbit around the Earth and deorbits over a target on the Earth.
  4. A spacecraft moves along a comet with the same surface. speed and places a probe on its.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: The child rights body has received complaint from an NGO which alleged that the All India Mission was involved in ‘illegally converting children in India’.

About NCPCR:

  • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR was established in March 2007 under an Act of Parliament (December 2005) under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
  • The commission’s mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programs and administrative systems conform to the vision of the rights of the child as enunciated in the Constitution of India as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • A child is defined as a person falling in the age group of 0 to 18 years.
  • The Commission envisages a rights-based perspective, which flows into national policies and programmes, including defined responses at the state, district and block levels, considering the specifics and strengths of each region.
    • For the purpose of this, it is intended to make deep penetration into the communities and families of and it is expected that the collective experience gained in the field will be considered by all the authorities at the higher level.
  • Thus, the Commission envisages an indispensable role for the state to ensure children and their well-being, strong institution-building processes, respect for local bodies and decentralization at the community level and greater social concern in this direction.

The Commission, while inquiring into any matter under Section 13(1)(j) of CPCR Act, 2005 has

all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and, in

particular, in respect of the following matters, namely:-

  • summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
  • discovery and production of any document;
  • receiving evidence on affidavits;
  • requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office; and
  • issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents.

The Commission has also the power to forward any case to a Magistrate having jurisdiction to try the same and the Magistrate to whom any such case is forwarded shall proceed to hear the complaint against the accused as if the case has been forwarded to him under section 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).

Source: The Hindu


Black Sea Grain Initiative

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – International Relations

Context: Recently Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Deal, which was launched to mitigate food inflation caused by conflict in Ukraine.

About Black Sea Grain Initiative:

  • The Black Sea Grain Initiative was an agreement between Russia and Ukraine with Turkey and the United Nations.
  • It sought to create a safe passage of food grains exported from Ukraine, which is currently in war with Russia.
  • Under this agreement, export of grain, food and fertilizers will be allowed to resume from Ukraine via a “safe maritime humanitarian corridor” from three key Ukrainian ports i.e., Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.
  • A Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) having representatives from signatories of the Black Sea Grain Initiative was set up to implement this deal.

Reasons why it was signed:

  • Ukraine exports around 45 million tonnes of grain to the global market each year. However, after Russia launched military campaign in February 2022, Ukraine was left with large amount of grains stored in silos unable to be transported to other parts of the world.
  • This has severely affected the global supply of grains. With the energy prices and food prices increasing because of the conflict, many countries, especially those in Africa, were at the brink of famine.
    • The Black Sea Grain Initiative sought to address these issues.
  • By mid-September, over three million tonnes of cargo left Ukraine under this deal.
  • About 51 per cent of the total cargo was corn, 25 per cent was wheat, 11 per cent sunflower products, 6 per cent rapeseed and 5 per cent barley.
  • The rest of the cargo included soya beans and other food commodities.

Current status of the Black Sea Grain Initiative:

  • Black Sea Grain deal set to expire on November 19, 2022.
  • The renewal negotiations were led by the United Nations throughout October 2022.
  • However, Russia pulled out of this agreement on October 29 due to drone attack on its naval ships in the port of Sevastopol.
  • Despite Russia withdrawing from the deal, several grain ships continued to depart from ports in Ukraine with support from Turkey and UN.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) The term “Levant” often heard in the news roughly corresponds to which of the following regions?     (2022)

  1. Region along the eastern Mediterranean shores
  2. Region along North African shores stretching from Egypt to Morocco
  3. Region along Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa
  4. The entire coastal areas of Mediterranean Sea

Puffer Fish

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In news: A group of animal biologists at the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) at Nagoya University in central Japan, have identified the pheromone involved in the mechanism that triggers puffer fish to spawn (release/deposit eggs) on beaches using moonlight.

About:

  • Along coastlines around the world, at the time of the spring tide, thousands of puffer fish gather at the water’s edge and perform a writhing motion as they spawn. These fish are known as ‘semilunar spawners’.
  • Puffer fish display a synchronised beach-spawning behaviour.
  • This is due to release of a pheromone PGE2 into the seawater by the spawning puffers.
  • Spring tide means a tide just after a new moon or full moon.

Puffer Fish (or Blow Fish):

  • These clumsy swimmers fill their elastic stomachs with huge amounts of water (and sometimes air) and inflate into a ball shape to evade predators.
  • Most pufferfish contain a toxic substance that makes them foul tasting and potentially deadly to other fish. The toxin is deadly to humans.
  • Most puffers are found in tropical and subtropical ocean waters, but some species live in brackish and even fresh water.
  • Threat: pollution, habitat loss, and overfishing

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following is a filter feeder? (2021)

  1. Catfish
  2. Octopus
  3. Oyster
  4. Pelican

E.K. Janaki Ammal

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In news: The book, E. K. Janaki Ammal: Life and Scientific Contributions was released in English by Nirmala James, on the scientist’s 125th birth anniversary.

  • It is the third book by Ms. James. The first two were in Malayalam.

About:

  • India’s first woman botanist
  • Born on November 4, 1897, in Kerela

Achievements:

  • Notable work in the areas of cytogenetics and plant breeding.
  • Carried out important work on sugarcane, brinjal and magnolias.
  • Collaborated with C. D. Darlington to bring out the chromosome atlas of cultivated crops and their wild relatives
  • She received the Padma Shri in 1977
  • In the 1930s, she had taught botany in the Maharaja’s College of Science, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Appointed a member of the Travancore Public Recruitment Committee.
  • She strongly raised her voice for women, arguing that married women should not be disqualified from entering or continuing in service.
  • Fulfilled her professional dreams, in spite of the gender and caste barriers (Thiya family) of her time.
  • Accomplished all this in an era when women’s education was not considered important.

Source: The Hindu


China’s Beidou satellite navigation system (BDS)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: China outlined plans to further expand global reach of its home-grown Beidou satellite navigation system.

  • South Asia and Southeast Asia – both of which are key BRI regions – are a current focus of expanding Beidou’s presence.

About:

  • Built as its alternative to America’s Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • BDS has a “constellation” of 30 satellites in orbit.
  • It began its international outreach once the set up was finished in 2018.
  • Its application included use in guiding drones, autonomous cars, in agriculture and forestry, as well as launching with Chinese mobile phone companies, using Chinese chips, satellite-powered messaging for smartphones that provides for connectivity in remote areas even in the absence of ground reception.
  • It is now in use “in more than half of the world’s countries”.
  • Saudi Arabia is using Beidou in surveying and mapping, positioning people and vehicle in the desert
  • Tajikistan is using BDS to monitor dams and lakes with precision.
  • Lebanon is using BDS at Beirut port for marine survey and construction.
  • In Burkina Faso, it is being used for survey and construction of hospitals.
  • China and Russia have signed a strategic framework on their two navigation systems, taking forward a 2015 deal on interoperability between Beidou and GLONASS (Russia).
  • Pakistan in 2014 became the first foreign country to set up a Beidou network.
  • Beijing is strengthening regional cooperation with organisations such as ASEAN, the African Union, the League of Arab States, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
  • For ASEAN, Beidou has set up a first of three Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) for its network in Thailand in 2013.
  • China and Sri Lanka also agreed plans to set up 10 CORS. CORS in Thailand and Sri Lanka will extend the BDS coverage at least 3,000 km more towards Southeast Asia and South Asia.
  • China is also helping several BRI partners, including Pakistan and Sri Lanka, launch communication satellites.

Other countries navigation systems:

  • GPS (USA)
  • Galileo (Europe)
  • GLONASS (Russia)
  • QZSS or Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (Japan)
  • Korea Positioning System

MUST READ NAVIC (India)

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. IRNSS has three satellites in geostationary and four satellites in geosynchronous orbits.
  2. IRNSS covers entire India and about 5500 sq. km beyond its borders.
  3. India will have its own satellite navigation system with full global coverage by the middle of 2019.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

UNFCCC - COP27

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: First Food and Agriculture Pavilion at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) began at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

  • The only program under UNFCCC on agriculture & food security was the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA), established in 2017 at COP23 in Bonn, Germany.

About:

  • The Pavilion is hosted by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), CGIAR and The Rockefeller Foundation at the climate conference.
  • Need: The unprecedented drought situation in Europe, the United States and Africa, the heatwave that impacted India’s wheat crop and floods and droughts in Pakistan and China are all stark evidence of how food production is at risk from extreme weather events.
  • Organisations representing over 350 million farmers and producers wrote an open letter to world leaders; warning that global food security is at risk unless governments boost adaptation finance for small-scale production and promote a shift to more diverse, low-input agriculture.
  • Objectives: Discussions to include adaption for resilient agriculture in Africa, climate security for drylands, vulnerability of food systems to global food crisis, conflicts and trade shocks, and low emission climate resilient development strategies.
  • Significance: Will put the transformation of agrifood systems at the heart of the COP agenda and as an important part of the solution to the climate crisis.
  • Suggestions: Due to bulk of the emissions are from industrial agriculture sector; there needs to be a shift to agroecology.
  • Agroecology means working with nature and local communities to support food security, livelihoods, biodiversity and help to buffer temperature extremes and sequester carbon.

Industrial Agriculture:

  • Agriculture is a victim of climate change but is also responsible for more than a third of all greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Industrial models of agriculture are reliant on agrichemicals and monoculture cropping.
  • Concerns: They have failed to end hunger, are depleting natural resources, exacerbating climate change and are highly vulnerable to shocks, be they from supply chains or from climate extremes.
  • Small-scale traditional and biologically diverse forms of agriculture have comparatively minimal input to GHG emissions but are disproportionately impacted by climate change.
  • Hence, the need for urgent climate justice action and transforming food systems away from industrial agriculture.

Greenwashing Industrial Agriculture at COP27:

  • Greenwashing is a communication and marketing strategy adopted by companies or other organizations. It consists in putting forward ecological arguments in order to forge an ecologically responsible public image.
  • Examples: “zero emissions cars”, “Clean energies”, green computing, etc.
  • In industrial agriculture, food corporations are using the term ‘nature-based solutions’ to “hijack the food system sustainability agenda”, bundling it with unproven carbon offsetting schemes that are risky for land competition, the climate and entrench big agribusiness power.
  • For instance, the US and UAE-led Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM4C) launched at COP26 has been criticised by favouring big businesses and promoting uncertain techno-fixes.

Source: Down To Earth


Nuclear weapons

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

Context: There has been much buzz and considerable apprehension at the international level about the use of nuclear weapons as a result of the Russia – Ukraine conflict.

About nuclear weapons:

  • A nuclear weapon is a device designed to release energy in an explosive manner as a result of nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, or a combination of the two processes.
  • Fission nuclear weapons.
    • These weapons are based on the fission reaction and are commonly referred to as atomic bombs.
    • They release energy in a more controlled manner.
  • Fusion nuclear weapons:
    • Fusion weapons are based on fusion reactions (i.e., combination of two or more nuclei).
    • They are also referred to as thermonuclear bombs or, more commonly, hydrogen bombs.
    • They release more and uncontrolled energy vis-a-vis fusion weapons.

Status of nuclear weapons:

  • Nuclear weapons have only been used twice in warfare—in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 during the World War-II.
  • However, it is estimated that over 13,000 nuclear weapons are in existence as of today.
  • The United States and the Russian Federation account for about 90% of the nuclear weapons.
  • It is also estimated that there have been over 2,000 nuclear tests conducted to date.

International Laws on the use of nuclear weapons:

  • Nearly 30 years ago the International Court of Justice tendered its Advisory Opinion to the UN on the question of the “threat or use of Nuclear Weapons in any circumstance permitted under International law”.
  • A majority of 12 out of 15 judges upheld “that humanitarian law has to be read subject to an exception.”
  • It permitted a State to use nuclear weapons in self-defence when its survival was at stake, even where such use would otherwise be a breach of humanitarian law.
  • It was deep rooted in many ancient cultures — Buddhist, Chinese, Christian, Islamic and traditional African.
  • Each of these cultures had given expression to a variety of means that can be used for the purposes of fighting one’s enemy and problem.
  • They cited that the ancient South Asian tradition prohibited the use of “hyper destructive weapons”.

Global initiatives to prevent use of nuclear weapons:

Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT)

  • It prohibits testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater, and in outer space.
  • However, it permits nuclear test explosions underground.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT):

  • It curbs the development of new nuclear weapons and the improvement of existing nuclear weapon designs.
  • Once it enters into force, it will be legally-binding against nuclear-testing.
  • CTBT does not explicitly define nuclear weapons and nuclear explosive devices
  • Treaty for the Non-proliferation of nuclear weapons
  • It seeks to inhibit the spread of nuclear weapons.
  • It came into existence in 1970s and has 191 members including the Permanent five (P-5)
  • India refused to sign it on the grounds that the nuclear weapons states must agree to a clear plan for nuclear disarmament.

Treaty on Prohibition of nuclear weapons (TPNW):

  • It is based on Humanitarian Initiative led by a group of non-nuclear weapons states who advocate nuclear disarmament on humanitarian grounds
  • It legally binds and prohibits member states from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, acquiring, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices
  • India is not a member of TPNW as it was not part of its negotiations.

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG):

  • It is a consensus-driven group of nuclear supplier countries that seek non-proliferation of nuclear weapons through the implementation of “Non-Proliferation Principles” for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports
  • It was formed in 1974 in response to India’s nuclear test.
  • India is not a member of the NSG as it is opposed by China on the basis of NPT non-signatory status of India.

India’s stand on nuclear weapons

  • After its first nuclear explosion in 1974, India argued that it was committed to the policy of using nuclear power only for peaceful purposes.
  • India has neither used nuclear weapons nor threatened any state; it has always advocated nuclear weapons only as a means of deterrence.
  • After the 1998 nuclear test India also enunciated a doctrine of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) of nuclear weapons.
  • The NFU doctrine was formally adopted in January, 2003.

Way Forward:

  • All countries whether nuclear or non-nuclear must adapt to a nuclear-free world.
  • As per J Robert Oppenheimer (inventor of the atom bomb), the only defence against a nuclear weapon is peace.
  • The need of establishing peace has also been highlighted in the preamble of UNESCO that says “Wars begin in the minds of men, and it is in the minds of men (and women) that the defences of peace must be constructed.”

Therefore, the global leadership should ensure that the nuclear weapons – for as long as they continue to exist – should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.

Source: Indian Express


Urban Mobility Expansion

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Syllabus

  •    Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The government has suggested preparing a road map to achieve an efficient and green transportation system in urban areas in line with the Panch Pran initiative during the 15th edition of the Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference and Exhibition 2022 held in Kochi.

  • Around 50 percent of the population would be living in urban areas by 2047, therefore expansion of urban mobility is imperative for India to become a developed country by then.
  • The objective of the conference was to create a system that encourages people to switch from personal vehicles to public transport aligned with the government’s objective of ‘moving people rather than vehicles’.
  • 810 km of the metro line is operational in 20 cities and a network of more than 980 km and RRTS is currently under construction in 27 cities.
  • India currently has the fifth-largest metro network in the world and would soon overtake advanced economies such as Japan and South Korea to have the third-largest network.
  • These developments would lead to a significant reduction in traffic congestion and emissions concerns and an improvement in air quality.

Challenges faced by Urban Transport in India:

Unprecedented Transport Growth:

  • According to Niti Aayog, the number of registered motor vehicles has increased from 5.4 million in 1981 to 295 million in 2019.
  • This rapid growth in demand in the absence of a widespread public transport system has caused a rapid increase in private car ownership in India.

Inadequate Public Transport:

  • According to government data, there are about 19 lakh buses in the country and only 2.8 lakh of them are run either by state transport undertaking or under stage carriage permits.
  • China has about six buses for 1,000 people while India has only four buses per 10,000 people.

Urban Pollution:

  • According to a WHO study 14 out of the top 15 most polluted cities in the world belong to India.
  • Vehicular pollution has been one of the major contributors to rising urban air pollution in Indian cities along with other factors such as construction activity, road dust and industrial activity.

Urban Congestion:

  • Major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru are ranked among world’s most congested cities.
    • For example: Average speed for vehicles in Bengaluru is reported as 17 km/h.
  • These high levels of congestion have huge economic implications in the form of reduced productivity, fuel waste, and accidents. Further, there is an acute shortage of parking spaces both on and off the streets in the urban centres.

Road safety:

  • Traffic injuries and fatality: India is one of the countries with an alarmingly high number of road accidents.
  • Every year, lakhs of road accidents are registered across the country, which causes deaths to lakhs of people and severe injuries to an even higher number of people.
  • Road accidents not only have a crippling effect on human lives and their families but on the overall economy at large of the country as well.

Government of India Initiatives to address Urban Transport issues in India:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), 2005: JNNURM was launched in 2005 and closed in 2014 (now succeeded by Atal AMRUT Mission).
    • It attempted to improve the public transport system in larger cities through funding of public transport buses, development of comprehensive city mobility plans and supporting city transport infrastructure projects.
  • Green Urban Transport Scheme, 2016: The scheme aims to improve non-motorised transport infrastructure such as dedicated lanes for cycling, pedestrians, increasing access to public transport, use of clean technologies and adoption of intelligent transport systems (ITS).
  • Mass Rapid Transit/ Transport Systems (MRTS): The metro rail has come up as a favoured alternative of mass transport in Indian cities. In 2017, the government introduced new Metro Policy which aims to improve collaborations, standardising norms, financing and creating a procurement mechanism so that the projects can be implemented effectively.
  • Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS): BRTS segregates the movement of buses from all other transport modes, and introduces other changes in the road infrastructure that are associated with safety.
    • BRTS is an important component of AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation)
  • National Transit Oriented Development Policy, 2017: The policy framework aims to promote living close to mass urban transit corridors like the Metros, monorail and bus rapid transit (BRT) corridors.
  • Sustainable Urban Transport Project (SUTP): The project in partnership with Ministry of Urban Development and UNDP aims to promote environmentally sustainable urban transport in India.
  • Personal Rapid Transit System (PRT): It is a transport mode combining small automated vehicles, known as pods, operating on a network of specially built guideways.
    • The ropeway-like system runs on electricity and driverless pods and comes down at designated stations, thus removing the traffic burden from crowded roads.
  • Promotion of Electric Vehicles: Indian Government plans to have an all-electric fleet of vehicles by 2030.

Way Forward:

  • For India to achieve resilient and inclusive cities, it is necessary to continuously plan for a low carbon model of growth in our cities, rather than focussing on physical infrastructure for vehicle mobility alone.
  • The need is to build compact cities with a mixed land use and integrating transport planning with land use planning which emphasizes, on one hand, women participation and lead to inclusive sustainable urban growth, on the other.
  • The planners, city authorities and civil society all have to join the mission to make our cities a better place to live in.

Source: The Hindu


EWS quota

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 Indian Constitution

In News: Supreme Court, in a 3:2 majority decision, upheld the validity of 103rd constitutional amendment and held that the 10% EWS quota to “poorest of poor” among forward castes did not pose any danger to the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Background:

  • Reservation is a form of quota-based affirmative action governed by constitutional laws in India.
  • Current reservation in India:
ST 7.5%
SC 15%
OBC 27%
EWS 10%
             Total 59.5%

 

  • Article 14 states that the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Supreme Court held that where equals and unequal’s are treated differently, Article 14 does not apply.
  • Article 15 provides that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion,  race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Exception to article 15 – The 103rd Constitutional Amendment provides 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to the ‘economically weaker sections’ of the society but excludes the ‘poorest of poor’ among Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) from its scope.

Current issues in reservation:

  • Indira Sawhney judgment in 1992: SC upheld the principle that the combined reservation beneficiaries should not exceed 50% of India’s population. However, with EWS reservation of 10%, the total reservation in India’s population amounts to almost 60%.
  • Rohini Commission report: Asymmetrical distribution of reservation – 97% of central OBC quota benefits go to just under 25% of its castes. As many as 983 OBC communities — 37% of the total — have zero representation in both central government jobs and admissions to central universities.
  • Data Deficiency: There is hardly any legible data on the socio-economic conditions of varied social groups at State & local level. Also, we do not know what liberalisation has done to castes which remained tied to more traditional sources of income.
  • The creamy layer threshold: SC admits plea challenging Rs 8 lakh EWS annual income criteria is the same as that for the creamy layer of Other Backward Classes quota and is unfair.
  • Lack of merit-based recognition

Significance of the judgement:

  • Expansive view: Reservation was an “instrument of affirmative action by the state” and should not be confined to just SCs, STs, SEBCs, and the non-creamy layer of OBCs, but also include “any class or sections so disadvantaged as to answer the description of ‘weaker section’”
  • 103rd Amendment only created “a separate class of EWS without affecting the special right of reservation provided to SEBCs, STs, SCs and OBCs”.
  • Even the SC/ST/SEBC/OBC members had been treated as a separate category for the purpose of the 50% reservation. Now, they cannot be treated at par with citizens belonging to the general or unreserved category.
  • Article 14: Just as equals cannot be treated as unequal’s, unequal’s cannot be treated equally. Treating unequal’s as equals will offend the doctrine of equality in Article 14.

Concerns:

  • Existing reservation should not be seen as a “free pass to equal opportunity” for these backward classes, he noted, but as a reparative and compensatory mechanism to level the field for those crippled by social stigmatisation.
  • Hostile discrimination: Excluding the SC/ST/OBC/SEBC communities, on the ground that they already enjoy the benefits of a pre-existing 50% reservation based on their caste and class origins, would amount to heaping injustice based on their past disability and struck at the essence of the “Non-Discriminatory Rule” and destroyed the Equality Code of the Constitution.
  • Orwellian exclusion: Such an exclusion was simply “Orwellian” as the government’s statistics itself showed that the “bulk of economic deprived section of the society belonged to SC/ST/SEBC/OBC”.
  • Narrow scope: The petitioners had argued that the exclusion of SC/ST/SEBC/OBC had left only the “middle class” among the forward castes drawing less than ₹8 lakh as annual family income to reap the benefits of the EWS quota.
  • 50% ceiling limit: Permitting the breach of 50% ceiling limit would become “a gateway for further infractions and result in compartmentalisation”.
  • BPL population: Of the 31.7 crore people living under the poverty line in the country, the classification is as follows:

Way forward:

  • Both sides agreed on the state’s power to make special provisions for implementing reservation in private unaided institutions, including professional colleges.
  • The Amendment cannot be said to violate Basic Structure by permitting the state to make special provisions in relation to admission to private unaided institutions.

Source:     The Hindu Business line


Baba’s Explainer – E.U. Digital Markets Act

E.U. Digital Markets Act

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
  • GS-3: Economic Development

Context: The Digital Markets Act (DMA) entered into force in the European Union (EU) on November 1, seven months after it was agreed for by the European Parliament in March 2022.

  • The bill, which was first proposed by the European Commission in December 2020, endeavours to put an end to unfair practices by tech companies that act as ‘gatekeepers’ in the online space.
  • In simpler terms, it seeks to confront the domination of Big Tech which restrains the growth of new and alternate platforms.

Read Complete Details on E.U. Digital Markets Act


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):

  1. It is a statutory body established by an act of parliament.
  2. According to Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, a child is defined as a person falling in the age group of 0 to 14 years.
  3. The Commission has all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

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

Q.2) With reference to Puffer Fish, consider the following statements:

  1. There is no known antidote for poison of pufferfish.
  2. They inflate themselves into ball-shape to navigate the ocean better.
  3. They are found only in brackish waters along the coastlines.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.3) The term “safe maritime humanitarian corridor” is often mentioned in news in the context of

  1. Export of grain, food and fertilizers from Ukraine through black sea
  2. Export of crude oil from gulf countries through Persian Gulf
  3. Humanitarian assistance to the Syria
  4. None of the above

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

ANSWERS FOR ’8th November 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 7th November – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – a

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