DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th May 2023

  • IASbaba
  • May 27, 2023
  • 0
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email



People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR)


  •       Prelims: Environment

Context: National Campaign for Updation and Verification of People’s Biodiversity Register was recently launched in Goa.

About People’s Biodiversity Register:

  • The program of People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) is designed as a tool for the formal maintenance of the local knowledge of biodiversity.
  • PBR is a record of knowledge, perception and attitude of people about natural resources, plants and animals, their utilization and conservation in a village or a panchayat.
  • PBR is also a mechanism to create awareness among the people about the condition of plants and animals and their conservation and sustainable utilization.
  • This mechanism can bring the people to participate in development planning which would be ecologically sustainable and socially justifiable.
  • As per the Biological Diversity Act 2002, Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) are created for “promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity by local bodies across the country.
  • BMCs have been constituted by the local bodies in the States and Union Territories and are entrusted with preparation of the People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBRs), in consultation with local communities.

Biological Diversity (BD) Act, 2002;

  • The Biological Diversity (BD) Act, 2002 was legislated pursuant to India’s obligation under the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • The Biological Diversity (BD) Act, 2002 was enacted by the Parliament of India to conserve biological diversity, sustainably use its components and ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.

Salient Features of the Act:

  • The Act prohibits the following activities without the prior approval from the National Biodiversity Authority:
    • Any person or organization (either based in India or not) obtaining any biological resource occurring in India for its research or commercial utilization.
    • The transfer of the results of any research relating to any biological resources occurring in, or obtained from, India.
    • The claim of any intellectual property rights on any invention based on the research made on the biological resources obtained from India.
  • The act envisaged a three-tier structure to regulate the access to biological resources:
  • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
  • The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
  • The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at local level)
  • The Act provides these authorities with special funds and a separate budget in order to carry out any research project dealing with the biological natural resources of the country.
  • It shall supervise any use of biological resources and the sustainable use of them and shall take control over the financial investments and their return and dispose of those capitals as correct.
  • Under this act, the Central Government in consultation with the NBA:
  • Shall notify threatened species and prohibit or regulate their collection, rehabilitation and conservation
  • Designate institutions as repositories for different categories of biological resources
  • The act stipulates all offences under it as cognizable and non-bailable.
  • Any grievances related to the determination of benefit sharing or order of the National Biodiversity Authority or a State Biodiversity Board under this Act, shall be taken to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

National Biodiversity Authority (NBA);

  • NBA is a statutory, autonomous body and it performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions.
  • NBA is headquartered at
  • NBA has an advisory and regulatory role to perform.
  • NBA advises Central Government on Biodiversity Conservation Issues.
  • It performs a regulatory role by granting approvals to Foreign Nationals and Companies for access to Bio-resources of India for commercial use.
  • It also Grants approvals for intellectual property rights of Bio resources and associated Traditional Knowledge to Indians and Non-Indians.

Structure of the NBA:

  • The National Biodiversity Authority consists of the following members to be appointed by the central government, namely:
  • A Chairperson.
  • Three ex officio members, one representing the Ministry dealing with Tribal Affairs and two representing the Ministry dealing with Environment and Forests.
  • Seven ex-officio members to represent the Ministries of the Central Government.
  • Five non-official members to be appointed from amongst specialists and scientists having special knowledge and experience in the required matters.

Must Read: Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework



  1. Consider the following pairs:

Terms have sometimes                              Their origin

seen in the news

  1. Annex-I Countries                            Cartagena Protocol
  2. Certified Emissions Reductions        Nagoya Protocol
  3. Clean Development Mechanism       Kyoto Protocol

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

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

Mohenjo-Daro’s Dancing Girl


  •      Prelims: Ancient India

Context: On International Museum Day, the Prime Minister unveiled the International Museum Expo’s mascot – a “contemporised” version of the famous Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro.

About International Museum Day:

  • International Museum Day is an international day held annually on or around 18 May, coordinated by the International Council of Museums.
  • The event highlights a specific theme, which changes every year reflecting a relevant theme or issue facing museums internationally.

 About the International Museum Expo 2023 Mascot:

  • The International Museum Expo 2023 Mascot was a life size (5 ft as compared to the original 10 cm) figure inspired from the Dancing Girl of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • The traditional craft of Channapatna toys was used to create this mascot.

Mohenjo-Daro’s Dancing Girl figurine;

  Source: Archeological Survey of India

  • The Indus Civilization (3300-1300 BC with its mature stage dated to 2600-1900 BC), also known as the Harappa-Mohenjo-Daro Civilization, had been long forgotten until its discovery was announced in 1924.
  • After the initial recognition as an ancient civilisation, a spate of excavations were conducted in the two major sites that were known until then – Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
  • The Dancing Girl was discovered in one such excavation in 1926, by British archaeologist Ernest McKay in Mohenjo-Daro’s citadel.
  • Dancing Girl is a prehistoricbronze sculpture made in lost-wax casting during c. 2300–1750 BC.
  • It is 10.5 cm in height, 5 cm in width and 2.5 cm in depth.
  • Even though Mohenjodaro and Harappa became part of Pakistani territory after the Partition, the Dancing Girl remained in India as part of an agreement.
  • Presently, the bronze figurine is on display in the Indus valley Civilization gallery in the National Museum of India, New Delhi.

MUST READ: Channapattana toy makers (UPSC Prelims -Channapattana toy makers )

SOURCE: Indian Express

Indus Valley Civilisation


  •       Prelims: Ancient India

Context: According to a recent study, the decline of the Indus megacities was linked to climate change. The research, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, identified three protracted droughts—each lasting between 25 and 90 years.

About the Recent Study of Decline of the Indus Valley Civilization:

  • A series of severe and lengthy droughts may have caused the decline of the Indus Civilization cities, according to a study, which looked into ancient rock formation from a cave in Uttarakhand.
  • The beginning of this arid period starting at around 4,200 years ago and lasting for over two centuries coincides with the reorganization of the metropolis-building Indus Civilization, which spanned present-day Pakistan and India.
  • The research, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, identified three protracted droughts each lasting between 25 and 90 years during this arid period.
  • “The researchers charted historic rainfall by examining growth layers in a stalagmite — a type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave — collected from a cave near Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
  • By measuring a range of environmental tracers including oxygen, carbon and calcium isotopes they obtained a reconstruction showing relative rainfall at seasonal resolution.
  • The team also used high-precision Uranium-series dating to get a handle on the age and duration of the droughts.
  • “The evidence for drought affecting both cropping seasons is extremely significant for understanding the impact of this period of climate change upon human populations,” said Petrie.
  • The droughts during this period increased in duration, to the point where the third would have been multi-generational in length, the researchers said.
  • The findings support existing evidence that the decline of the Indus megacities was linked to climate change.

Must Read: Indus Valley Civilization

SOURCE: The Hindu


Q1. Regarding the Indus Valley Civilization, consider the following statements :(2011)

  1. It was predominantly a secular civilization and the religious element, though present, did not dominate the scene.
  2. During this period, cotton was used for manufacturing textiles in India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q2. Which of the following characterizes/ characterize the people of Indus Civilization? (2013)

  1. They possessed great palaces and temples.
  2. They worshipped both male and female deities.
  3. They employed horse-drawn chariots in warfare.

Select the correct statement/ statements using the codes given below.

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None of the statements given above is correct.

Tampon Tax and Period Poverty


  •      Prelims: Economy

Context: Millions of women and girls face ‘period poverty’. Tax on pads and tampons make the matter worse.  Currently, such taxes have been scrapped or cut in 48 nations, with supporters saying that access to hygiene products is a rights issue.

About Tampon Tax:

  • Tampon Tax or Period Tax is VAT or GST imposed on menstrual products.
  • Due to the Tampon Tax, which their prices increase further and for women or girls from poor or backward sections, it is goes out of reach.
  • The tampon tax makes it difficult for many girls around the world to afford menstrual products.
  • Due to which problems arise in the everyday work or education of these girls or women.
  • Since Kenya became the first country to scrap VAT on sanitary pads and tampons in 2004, at least 17 countries have followed suit.
  • The Indian government in 2018 decided to abolish the tampon tax and decided to revoke the 12 percent tax levied on sanitary pads in an effort to make them accessible to menstrual hygiene products accessible to all.
  • Among the latest countries to pass laws to abolish the tampon tax are Mexico, Britain and Namibia.
  • In 2022, Scotland became thefirst nation to make tampons and sanitary pads free and available at designated public places such as community centers, youth clubs and pharmacies.

Period Poverty;

  • Period poverty is a lack of access to menstrual products, education, hygiene facilities, waste management, or a combination of these.
  • It affects an estimated 500 million people worldwide.

SOURCE: Indian Express

The Chola Sengol Tradition


  •     Prelims –Indian Culture.

Context: The ‘Sengol’, received in 1947 by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to represent the transfer of power from the British and kept in a museum in Allahabad, will be installed in the new Parliament building.

About the news:

Image source:  https://images.indianexpress.com/2023/05/Sengol-Final.jpg?w=640

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will install the ‘Sengol’, a historical sceptre from Tamil Nadu, in the new Parliament building during inauguration.
  • The ‘Sengol’ was received by Independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to symbolically represent the transfer of power from the British.
  • Thereafter, it was kept in the Nehru Gallery of the Allahabad Museum.
  • It originated from the Chola dynasty which was one of the most important and powerful dynasties in the history of India.
  • It was used as a symbol of power transfer from one king to his successor.

About Sengol:

  • It is a scepter made of gold and silver and is decorated with many precious stones.
  • The Sengol is 5 feet long and carries a golden orb at the top. The orb has a carving of Nandi, the bull that is precious to Lord Shiva.
  • The Sengol is a powerful symbol of the Chola Kings authority and their commitment to justice.
  • The ‘Sengol’ represents the value of fair and equitable governance.
  • The sceptre is a reminder of India’s rich history and the culture.

MUST READ: The Chola Dynasty (UPSC Prelims – The Chola Dynasty)

SOURCE: The Hindu


Q1. The national motto of India, ‘Satyameva Jayate’ inscribed below the Emblem of India is taken from (2014)

  1. Katha Upanishad
  2. Chandogya Upanishad
  3. Aitareya Upanishad
  4. Mundaka Upanishad

Forum Shopping


  • Prelims –Polity

Context: Chief Justice of India, D.Y.Chandrachud condemned ‘forum shopping’ practise in courts.

About Forum Shopping:

  • “Forum shopping” is a term that describes the strategy of some litigants or lawyers who try to find the most favourable court or judge for their case.
  • Litigants or lawyers do this by looking at various factors, such as the reputation, law, or procedure of the court or judge, and the likelihood of getting a positive outcome.
  • This practice undermines the integrity and impartiality of the judicial system, as well as the merit of judgements of judicial system.
  • Moreover, it can also lead to wastage of judicial resources, delay in justice delivery, and inconsistency in legal precedents by resorting such practises to get favourable judgements.

Indian Judiciary on Forum Shopping:

  • The concept of forum shopping has not been defined in any Indian statue.
  • However, Indian Judiciary through its observation has assisted in streamlining this concept in the country’s legal system.
  • The practice of forum shopping is not permitted by Indian law.
  • Types of Forum shopping includes;
  • Filing multiple lawsuits in different courts on the same or similar issues, hoping that one of them will grant the desired relief.
  • Choosing a court or a jurisdiction that has a more lenient or favourable substantive or procedural law for the case.
  • Seeking to transfer or remove a case from one court to another for strategic reasons.
  • Influencing or bribing judges or court officials to assign a case to a particular judge or bench.
  • SC Bench of Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari in the case of ‘Vijay Kumar Ghai vs. State of W.B- termed forum shopping as a “disreputable practise by the courts” that “has no sanction and paramountcy in law”.

Impacts of forum shopping in Indian Judiciary:

  • Creates uncertainty: It creates uncertainty and confusion among litigants and lawyers about the proper jurisdiction and venue for their cases.
  • Losses trust: It erodes public confidence and trust in the judiciary, as it creates an impression that justice is not based on merit but on manipulation.
  • Conflicting Judgements: Creating conflicting or inconsistent judgments on the same or similar issues, leading to legal uncertainty and chaos.
  • Produce favourable judgements in absence of merit: Eroding the credibility and impartiality of the judiciary, as well as the trust and respect of the public and the legal profession.
  • Creates venues of corruption: Encouraging forum shopping by other litigants or lawyers creates a vicious cycle of abuse and corruption.

Bench Hunting

  • The term “Bench hunting” refers to petitioners managing to get their cases heard by a particular judge or court to ensure a favourable order.
  • Recently, based on the 2017 SC ruling in ‘Kamini Jaiswal vs. Union of India’, the court observed that the practise of bench hunting and related unacceptable practises are prevalent to find a court or forum of their choice.

Must Read: Supreme court collegium

SOURCE: The Indian Express


Q1. In India, Judicial Review implies (2017)

  1. The power of the Judiciary to pronounce upon the constitutionality of laws and executive orders.
  2. The power of the Judiciary to question the wisdom of the laws enacted by the Legislatures.
  3. The power of the Judiciary to review all the legislative enactments before the President assents to them.
  4. The power of the Judiciary to review its own judgements given earlier in similar or different cases.

Q2. What is the provision to safeguard the autonomy of the Supreme Court of India?  (2012)

  1. While appointing the Supreme Court Judges, the President of India has to consult the Chief Justice of India.
  2. The Supreme Court Judges can be removed by the Chief Justice of India only.
  3. The salaries of the Judges are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India to which the legislative does not have to vote.
  4. All appointments of officers and staffs of the Supreme Court of India are made by the Government only after consulting the Chief Justice of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

India- Australia Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement


  •    Prelims –International Affairs

Context: India and Australia signed a migration and mobility pact to open up opportunities for students and business people.

About India- Australia Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement:

Image source: https://indiafoundation.in/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Picture-for-David-Brewster-article.jpg

  • India and Australia signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement.
  • Aim: The agreement is aimed at making it easier for students, academics and professionals to live study and work in each other’s countries.
  • India has similar mobility agreements with Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Finland.
  • It will regulate multiple entry visas for professionals and student exchange programs.
  • These programs will be reviewed regularly by a Joint Working Group (JWG) to ensure that they are meeting their objectives and delivering the desired outcomes.

MUST READ: India Australia Relations (UPSC Mains: India Australia Relations)

SOURCE: Hindustan Times


Q1. ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ is sometimes mentioned in the news in the context of the affairs of (2016)

  1. African Union
  2. Brazil
  3. European Union
  4. China

Q2. Which of the following adopted a law on data protection and privacy for its citizens known as ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ in April 2016 and started implementation of it from 25th May, 2018? (2019)

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. The European Union
  4. The United States of America

Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023


  • Prelims –Polity

Context: On May 19, 2023, the President of India promulgated the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023.

About the news:

  • The ordinance extends the powers over services in the administration of the national capital to the Delhi Lieutenant Governor.
  • Thus the Lieutenant Governor has the power to transfer and appoint bureaucrats posted to Delhi.
  • The Ordinance is aimed at nullifying the effect of the CJI led Constitution Bench’s verdict, which gave the Delhi government power over administrative services in the capital.
  • During the judgement, the SC interpreted Article 239AA, the provision that deals with the governance structure of Delhi, as one that underlies the principles of federalism, participatory democracy, and collective responsibility.

Article 239 AA:

  • It is inserted into the Constitution by the 69th Amendment Act, 1991.
  • Article 239AA conferred special status on Delhi following the recommendations of the Balakrishnan Committee that was set up in 1987 to look into Delhi’s demands for statehood.
  • The article states that the NCT shall have a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister.
  • The Legislative Assembly shall have the power to make laws on all matters in the State List and the Concurrent List, except for those matters that are specifically excluded by the Constitution.
  • The Council of Ministers shall be responsible to the Legislative Assembly.

About Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance, 2023:

  • The ordinance seeks to establish for the first time the National Capital Civil Service Authority (NCCSA).
  • NCCSA Composition: It will be headed by the Chief Minister of Delhi, with the Chief Secretary and Principal Home Secretary of Delhi being the other two members.
  • Functions of NCCSA;
  • It will make recommendations to the Lieutenant Governor (LG) regarding transfer, posting, vigilance and other incidental matters of all Group ‘A’ officers and officers of DANICS serving in the Government of NCTD.
  • All matters required to be decided by the NCCSA shall be decided by majority of votes of the members present and voting.
  • This means, that in effect, the decision of the elected chief minister of Delhi can be overruled by the two senior bureaucrats.
  • Role of LG:
  • The ordinance stated that the LG will pass orders to give effect to the recommendations passed by the NCCSA.
  • However, LG can ask for the relevant material with regard to officers belonging to All India Services and DANICS serving the Delhi government.
  • In case the LG differs with the recommendation made, he/she may return the recommendation to the Authority for reconsideration by the Authority. For this, reasons will have to be recorded in writing.
  • However, as per the ordinance, in case of difference of opinion, the decision of the LG shall be final.
  • There is no specific provision in the ordinance regarding the transfer posting, discipline etc of Group B and Group C officers, which seems to indicate that the elected government of Delhi would continue to have control over these officers.

MUST READ: Delhi CM-LG stalemate (UPSC Mains)

SOURCE: The Hindu


Q1. Consider the following statements:

  1. The Chief Secretary in a State is appointed by the Governor of that State.
  2. The Chief Secretary in a State has a fixed tenure.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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


Global agency affiliated to UN rights body defers NHRC accreditation


  •    GS 2: International Relations

In News: For the second time in a row, an organization affiliated to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and representing more than a hundred national human rights institutions, has deferred re-accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India for a year.

The current Situation

  • The Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) to the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) had granted ‘A’ status of accreditation to NHRC in 2017, after deferring it the year before — the first such instance since NHRC was established in 1993.
    • The subcommittee has recommended advocating with the government and parliamentarians for certain legislative amendments to improve compliance with the Paris Principles.
    • Without the accreditation, NHRC will be unable to represent India at the UN Human Rights Council.
    • In 2016, the GANHRI had cited the following issues:
      • Appointment of political representatives
      • Failure in ensuring gender balance and pluralism in NHRC staff among the reasons for the deferment.
    • The GANHRI is responsible for reviewing and accrediting National Human Rights Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles every five years.
      • Adopted in 1991, the Paris Principles are a crucial step in developing standards for national human rights institutions worldwide.
      • The six principles require a country‘s human rights agency to be independent from the government in its structure, composition, decision-making and method of operation.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India

  • Headed by Justice Arun Mishra, former judge of the Supreme Court.
  • NHRC was established in 1993.
  • It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions to protect human rights in Paris in 1991.
  • Status: It is a statutory organization established under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • Functions:
    • To investigate the violation of human rights/ the failures of the states/other to prevent a human rights violation
    • Research about human rights, create awareness campaigns through various mediums, and encourage the work of NGOs.
  • Composition:
    • Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members.
    • A Chairperson should be retired Chief Justice of India or a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Appointment: The Chairperson and members of the NHRC are appointed by the President of India, on the recommendation of a committee consisting of:
    • The Prime Minister (Chairperson)
    • The Home Minister
    • The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
    • The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
    • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha
    • The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
  • Tenure: They hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
  • Removal: The President can remove them from the office under specific circumstances.

The success of NHRC:

  • NHRC issued guidelines where death in police custody has to be reported to NHRC within 48 hrs.
  • Vocal in the opinion of laws such as TADA (Terrorist and disruptive activities prevention act) and POTA (prevention of terrorism act)
  • Suo Moto took cognizance of the deportation of Rohingya refugees –the commission was of the opinion that Rohingya have a fear of persecution. Back in 1994 had taken about the issue of the safety of the Chakma community in Arunachal Pradesh
  • Had taken up the issue of death of kids due to malnutrition in Odisha-The recommendations were accepted by the state government
  • Had worked for improving the conditions of denotified tribes.
  • Strengthening of women’s and children rights and improving their condition

Issues with respect to NHRC:

  • Recommendations of NHRC are not binding: NHRC has had very little success in getting the victims financial compensation
  • Has limited power over armed forces: Can only ask for a report from concerned department –This has handicapped NHRC with respect to involvement of violation of human rights by armed forces
  • Non-compliance by the states with the directions for compensation issued by the commission
  • Shortage of adequate number of trained staff to handle the growing number of complaints.
  • Large expenditure on office expenses, leaving small amounts for research and rights awareness programmes.
  • Private bodies are out of ambit of NHRC
  • The NHRC does not have fair and equal means of representation in terms of gender, religious minority groups and disabled populations.

Recommendations, which can make NHRC more effective

  • The effectiveness of commissions will be greatly enhanced if the government immediately makes its decisions enforceable.
  • Can include civil society human rights activist’s members for better understanding of the situation at hand.
  • Staff should be recruited independently rather than deputation from the government.
  • Should remove the barrier of not taking complaints older than a year.
  • Bring armed forces and private parties under the ambit of commission -> with certain limitations where unity and integrity of the nation is of utmost importance
  • Increase in budget allocation will lead to ample space for the commission to expand
  • Culture of human rights be inculcated in students through an updated curriculum
  • Remove ambiguity in language for member’s qualifications. Non-judiciary members must not be filled at centre discretion but on the recommendation of a body comprising the PM, CJI, and former members.

Human Rights

  • According to Section 2 of the act -“Human Rights” means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
  • Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948.

SOURCE: Indian Express

The return of civil society is imperative


  • GS 2: Governance – Civil Society

Context: The state of democracy in a country is not measured by the self-congratulatory statements of power holders, but by the role civil society plays in protecting and defending democracy. All societies are politically organized into the state, but not all states possess civil societies. Civil societies flourish in nations that cherish constitutional democracy.

  • Civil society makes India pluralistic, providing for alternatives beyond the ritualistic game of electoralism.
  • It provides a compost heap of ideas that makes democracy a continuous drama of experiments.


The challenges that the civil society organizations (CSO) in India face are new and enduring, ranging from the new Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) induced shrinking of resources to lack of clear governance structure, techno-managerial dominance over volunteerism, to misconceptions about non-profits and many more.

The situation has led to confusion, conflict and dilemma at multiple levels within and outside civil society. Civil society seems to be living with the ambiguity of unknown scope and urgency, wherein all the stakeholders suspect one another and gradually become displaced, misaligned, or scattered.

  • Most governments no longer listen to civil society organizations (CSO) or movements, in the pre-legislative stage or in the redress of lacunae in the implementation of government schemes.
  • Given that advocacy is effectively dead, the ability of civil society to shape policy and public discourse has shrunk drastically.
  • Because civil society is seen to be the new frontier for war and foreign interference, there has been a systematic clampdown on CSOs lobbying for greater constitutional and civic freedoms.
    • Therefore, activists, journalists, academics and students have been targeted by a plethora of the state’s governing instruments and non-state actors (who have resorted to violence and abuse, online and offline).
    • This has been further exacerbated by restricting the access of CSOs to resources (including cancelling Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act clearances, revoking 12A/80-G licenses, imposing retrospective taxes, and pressuring private companies and philanthropists to redirect funding).
  • Some are of the opinion that civil society is being vilified as disruptive to India’s development trajectory — and therefore anti-national. This is a grave threat to the system’s integrity because civil society is an indispensable safety valve for tensions in a polity.
  • Protests, articles/papers, speeches at think tanks/conferences/symposiums, and petitions/open letters are unable to not shame governments into any substantive course correction. Even lobbying legislators to raise issues is ineffective — the Union government either does not let Parliament function or ignores uncomfortable issues.
  • Additionally, progressive CSOs fail to blend socio-cultural values with welfare/constructive work or calls to protect constitutional values.
    • Consequently, they are unable to reshape hearts and minds, and thereby guide mass consciousness.
    • Given that vast sections of society have been radicalized (highlighted in a 2017 study by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung), this is a major shortcoming of progressive civil society.
    • There is psychological fatigue among key activists, who naturally question the foundational rationale of their work.

There is a need for a major realignment

  • Firstly, because of the financial and structural constraints imposed on them, CSOs/movements need some financial sustenance.
  • Secondly, without sustained support, CSOs cannot positively mould public discourse or make a tangible impact on the nation at large.
  • Thirdly, with governments consciously avoiding CSOs/movements, their ability to shape policy is diminished (which adversely affects organizational morale).

The Way Forward – For Progressive Civil Society in India:

The net result is that civil society will be unable to speak truth to power, amplify the voices of the most vulnerable, enrich policies/legislation through constructive feedback, or further the collective good. This is obviously not in the people or the national interest.

  1. By becoming a part of the system: Young activists could be inducted into political parties that could create an institutionalised moral force within the parties. Will help balance electoral compulsions with ethical/human rights considerations, leading the parties to afford a layered systemic approach to thorny issues.
  • Currently, many parties consciously avoid direct exposure to difficult issues that could adversely affect them electorally.
  • This includes communal disturbances, atrocities against Dalits and women, championing the rights of activists fighting for Adivasi rights or civic and political freedoms.
  • However, if an aligned civil society organisation took up such issues (both within and outside the party organisations), it would ensure that a party remains connected to genuine community problems, while allowing for a permeable wall of separation.
  • There is a precedent to this, when the Congress Movement (the Gandhian constructive movement) complemented the Congress system (which has always been an electoral and governance machine).
  1. CSOs will need to urgently collaborate with other progressive stakeholders and silently devise new methods of collaboration: There is a need to address the systemic corrosion that the sector faces today. We need to find structural solutions to structural problems.
  • Private philanthropies and companies need to realise that they are the only lifeline for progressive CSOs today.
  • Only through such a principled coalition can we first safeguard, and eventually further, the constitutional idea of India.
  • Inaction today will directly contribute to the extinction of civil society, arguably the fifth pillar of Indian democracy.
  1. By using religion and reworking spirituality, civil society can create new institutions as footprints for itself.
  • Civil society has to create a new sense of the commons, rework the rights of nature and create a new mode of constitutional thinking that can challenge things that are not right.
  • The emphasis should now be on diversity, and civil society needs to think more internationally to function more creatively in local terms.
  • Civil society has to provide a pedagogy, re-teaching the state the language of pluralism.
  • One brilliant example of this is the late Ela Bhatt’s work on the grahani of peace. She showed that housewives should not be restricted by current definitions of home or patriarchy. The housewife becomes the new inventor of peace, rethinking war beyond security and sustainability. She has to create a new sense of care built around an understanding of the way women suffer during war and violence. The housewife uses the imagination of the household to think pluralistically.
  • Most of all, civil society should offer new possibilities of childhood which go beyond the industrialised and clericalised tutorial college model touted daily in our newspapers. We have to remember that children are dreamers who are playful, imaginative and quirky—precisely the characteristics civil society needs today.

For the government, a self-regulatory mechanism that defines a healthy relationship between civil society and the government and lays down clearly stated dos and don’ts, thereby setting high standards of democratic functioning and accountability, could certainly be a way to go.


A strong civil society will not easily allow democratic institutions to be captured by the state or political parties. The price of freedom is constant vigil by a robust civil society. This is still weak in India, and it is this that needs to develop, along with social and land reform, sustained economic growth and improved state capacity, to win the war against tyranny going forward.

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q1. Consider the following statements with respect to Biodiversity Management Committee:

  1. Under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, every local body in the State shall constitute a Biodiversity Management Committee (BMC).
  2. The chairman of the respective local body is the ex officio chairman of the BMC.
  3. The BMC has the mandate to prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people.

Which of the above given statements are correct?

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

Q2. Which of the following Article of the Constitution deals with the special status of National Capital Territory of Delhi?

  1. Article 84 A
  2. Article 123 B
  3. Article 239 AA
  4. Article 356

Q3. With respect to term ‘forum shopping’ sometimes seen in news, consider the following statements

  1. The term forum shopping refers to practice of facilitating a uniform treatment of legal and public policies at all levels of the judicial system.
  2. It has been explicitly defined in the Indian Constitution.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 26th May 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st

ANSWERS FOR 25th May – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – a

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....

Sign Up To Receive Regular Updates