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UPSC Key—20 September, 2023: The 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2023, India-Canada Standoff and Nagorno-Karabakh

Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for September 20, 2023. If you missed the September 19, 2023 UPSC CSE exam key from the Indian Express, read it here


Govt brings Bill with 33% quota for women — in SC/ ST seats too


Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc

Mains Examination: 

• General Studies I: Role of women and women’s organization

• General Studies II: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-In a move set to have a wide impact on Indian electoral politics, the Narendra Modi government Tuesday introduced the 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2023, to bring in 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and all state Legislative Assemblies. The Bill extends the quota to the seats reserved for SC/STs.

• What is 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2023?

• What are the features of the 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2023?

• Why delimitation is required for the implementation of women reservation?

• For Your Information-First, the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, links women’s reservation to the contentious delimitation process. It states that women’s reservation “shall come into effect after an exercise of delimitation is undertaken for this purpose after the relevant figures for the first Census taken after the commencement of…” this Bill.Article 82 of the Constitution provides for the readjustment of the constituencies (number and boundaries) of Lok Sabha and State Assemblies after every Census.The 42nd Amendment froze this delimitation exercise until the first Census after 2000 is published. In 2001, this was further extended for 25 years. So now, delimitation would happen on the results of the first Census after 2026.In normal course, this would have meant that delimitation would happen only after the 2031 Census results are published. But since the Census which was due in 2021 – the exercise is held every 10 years – has been delayed, ostensibly because of the Covid pandemic, this timeline could be altered.The earliest that the Census exercise can now happen is 2025 – houselisting in 2024 followed by the actual Census and the publication would take one to two years. If the results of the ‘2021 Census’ are published after 2026, this could become the basis of delimitation of constituencies.The Census will be followed by the delimitation exercise which requires more amendments to the Constitution. Articles 82 and 170 (3) that deal with composition of the Legislative Assemblies would have to be amended, said S K Mendiratta, former legal advisor, Election Commission of India.As of now, the reallocation of seats in Lok Sabha and readjustment of seats in State Assemblies are to be done when “relevant figures for the first Census taken after the year (2026) have been published”. Mendiratta said this timeline (2026) would have to be changed to give effect to women’s reservation.The delimitation exercise will require a consensus among states. Article 368(2) of the Constitution requires that any change to the representation of States in Parliament will have to be cleared by a special majority of not less than two-third members of that House present and voting, and needs to be ratified by at least half of the states.Union Minister of Law and Justice Arjun Ram Meghwal, who introduced the Bill, said that once passed, it will take the number of women MPs in the Lok Sabha, as per its present strength of 543, to 181. The current House has 82 women MPs.The Bill, which seeks to insert clause (1) in Article 330 A to reserve seats for women, says by another clause that one-third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha be reserved for women from these categories. A third clause talks about keeping aside, as nearly as possible, one-third of the total seats filled by direct election to the Lok Sabha, for women. The quota will not apply to the Rajya Sabha or state Legislative Councils.

• PM Modi called himself “the chosen one for empowering and strengthening women”, dubbed as the ‘Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam’, unanimously-Now, can you tell what initiatives/schemes/awareness taken past ten years to uplift and empower women in India in every domain be it science, social, economy, etc.

• “Thirty-three percent Women’s reservation together with gender budgeting can be very crucial to India’s future progress towards gender equality”-Comment

• If you can recall, addressing the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on the 76th Independence Day, the Prime Minister called for a resolve to respect women- How “resolve to respect women” will be implemented? Do you think “respecting women” comes under policy or it should be in one’s behaviour?

• Women’s power or “naari shakti”-women power’s or women’s empowerment?

• Why after 75 years of Independence, India is still talking about women’s power and women’s empowerment? What are basic issues and challenges which impedes women in India to be empowered?

• Why women’s empowerment is male driven?

• Is Indian Parliament Patriarchal?

• The 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution provided for reservation of one-third of the total number of seats for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and municipal bodies-how this step empowered women?

• But it has been observed that the reservation of one-third of the total number of seats for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and municipal bodies also gave birth to new trend that is Sarpanch Pati-what is your take on this?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍The task cut out: Passage, Census, delimitation, consensus from states

📍A more welcoming House

📍Salute the women who fought

📍Express View on women’s reservation Bill: Welcome, women

Previous year UPSC Mains Question Covering similar theme:

📍“The reservation of seats for women in the institution of local self-government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian political process”. Comment. (GS2, 2019)

📍Male membership needs to be encouraged in order to make women’s organization free from gender bias. Comment. (GS1, 2013)

Trudeau claims Indian Govt link to Khalistan leader’s killing; Delhi says absurd


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- A DIPLOMATIC standoff erupted between India and Canada on Tuesday as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged a “potential link” between the Indian government and the killing of a pro-Khalistan leader in Canada earlier this year. This was followed by the expulsion of a senior Indian diplomat in Canada. Rejecting the allegations as “absurd” and “motivated”, India, in a tit-for-tat action, expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in Delhi.

• What exactly Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said?

• What are the allegations against India as per Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

• Allegation and then expulsion of Indian diplomats-connect the dots

• How India reacted?

• What India said?

• Who was the Hardeep Singh Nijjar?

• What is Khalistan Tiger Force?

• What were the allegations against Nijjar?

• ‘India has raised concern over interference of Canadian diplomats in India’s internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities’-know in detail

• ‘Anti-India elements operating from Canadian soil’-Discuss

• Why New Delhi is facing an unprecedented diplomatic challenge?

• A diplomatic escalation of this kind could potentially damage some of the structured and organic exchanges between the two sides-comment

• What is Five Eyes Alliance?

• Who are in Five Eyes Alliance?

• How recent India-Canada standoff can impact India’s geopolitical structure?

• What you know about the Khalistan movement?

• What are the Historical events responsible for Khalistan?

• How Khalistan movement affected or can affect Indo-Canadian relationship?

• Khalistan and Canada-Connect the dots

Do You Know-Over the years, there have been many instances. These are the two most recent ones. The most recent one took place on June 4, when a parade was organised in Brampton, Ontario, ahead of the 39th anniversary of Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.A tableau in the 5 km-long parade seemed to celebrate the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi — a female figure was shown in a blood-stained white saree, with the hands up, as turbaned men pointed guns at her. A poster behind the scene read “Revenge for the attack on Darbar Sahib”.External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar registered his strong disapproval. “…We are at a loss to understand other than the requirements of vote bank politics why anybody would do this… I think there is a larger underlying issue about the space which is given to separatists, to extremists, to people who advocate violence,” he said.Brampton is home to Canada’s largest Sikh population. Last year, a pro-Khalistan organisation known as Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) held a so-called “referendum” on Khalistan here. The organisers claimed that more than 100,000 people had turned up in support of Khalistan.The Government of India issued a strong rebuke, urging Canada to curtail any “anti-India activities”. It asked the Canadian government to designate as terrorists all those individuals who were so designated in India. SFJ is an outlawed organisation in India, and has been linked to the rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) attack at Punjab Intelligence headquarters in Mohali in May 2022.

• ‘This is not the first time that Khalistan has figured in an India-Canada context-Why Pro-Khalistan elements are still there in Canada?

• Canada has for long been considered a safe haven for Khalistan supporters and militant voices accused of terrorism in India-Why so?

• Why do Canadian politicians pander to Sikh extremists?

• For Your Information- Canada hosts one of the largest Indian diasporas in the world, numbering 16 lakh people of Indian origin, accounting for more than 3 percent of the total Canadian population and 700,000 NRIs. India became the top source of foreign students studying in Canada — 2.3 lakh, according to 2022 data. India’s total trade with Canada (goods and services) in 2021-22 was US $11.68 billion, much below potential, but when it comes to India’s import of pulses, almost 30% of the total import comes from Canada.Canadian pension funds have cumulatively invested around US $55 billion in India. Cumulative FDI from Canada since 2000 is about US$4.07 billion.All these have continued despite speed bumps like the recent pause in trade talks — and despite challenges over the Khalistan issue.As per the 2021 Canadian census, Sikhs account for 2.1 per cent of Canada’s population, and are the country’s fastest growing religious group. After India, Canada is home to the largest population of Sikhs in the world. Today, Sikhs lawmakers and officials serve at all levels of Canada’s government, and their burgeoning population is one of the most important political constituencies in the country. In 2017, Jagmeet Singh, 39, became the first Sikh leader of a major Canadian political party when he took the reins of the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP).

• ‘The Khalistan movement has been a global movement from its inception’-Discuss

• What do you understand by the word “diaspora”?

• Sikh Diaspora and India-Know in detail

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Canada’s ‘evidence’ & its Five Eyes alliance frame India’s challenge

📍From Canada stand on farm stir to protests by pro-Khalistan groups: The deepening rift

📍How Khalistan issue has cast shadow on India-Canada ties over the yrs

📍Khalistan and the Sikh Diaspora: Why a small but loud movement continues to survive in Canada

📍A history of the Khalistan movement in Canada, going back more than 40 years

WHO red flag: Only 37% Indians with high BP diagnosed, 30% get treatment


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- At least 4.6 million deaths in India can be averted by 2040 if half of the people with hypertension manage to keep their blood pressure under control, said the first-ever report by the World Health Organisation on the global impact of the condition.

• What are the key takeaways from the first-ever report released by WHO on the global impact of hypertension?

• What exactly the report said?

• What is hypertension?

• What are the primary triggers for hypertension in India?

• What are the red flags highlighted by the report?

• For Your Information-The report says that of the 188.3 million estimated to have the condition in India, only 37% get diagnosed. And many do not start their treatment even after diagnosis. Only 30% of the estimated people living with hypertension start treatment, while only 15% manage to keep their blood pressure under control.While the number of adults living with uncontrolled hypertension is on the decline, the report shows that it’s not fast enough. The report says that by treating half the people with hypertension — which has been termed as the “progressive scenario” — the country can prevent 4.6 million deaths due to heart attacks and strokes. In fact, uncontrolled hypertension is the reason for 52% of the deaths from cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes in India, the report found. More lives can be saved if the “aspirational scenario” of 75% control can be achieved.“There is actually a rule of halves when it comes to hypertension. In any population, only half the people with hypertension get diagnosed. Of the people who do get diagnosed, half end up taking the treatment. And of the people who receive treatment, only half manage to control their blood pressure. In some of the developed countries, where the whole population is screened and treatment is free, the proportion might be better than half. And, in some lower middle income countries — and, as this report shows, even India — the outcome is worse than the rule of half,” said Dr V Mohan, chairman of Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre in Chennai.

• Why do doctors insist on screening and pills to control hypertension?

• Why is it important for a person with hypertension to start and continue treatment?

• What the report means for the young population?

• What WHO says about preventive protocols in India?

• How has the India Hypertension Control Initiative helped?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍WHO hypertension report reveals 4.6 million lives in India can be saved by 2040 with better control. Are you at risk?


Road ahead on women’s quota


Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The government on Tuesday brought The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 to provide 33 per cent reservation to women in Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies. Attempts to create a quota for women have been ongoing since the mid-1990s. In March 2010, Rajya Sabha passed The Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008, but the legislation was not taken up by Lok Sabha. Even if the Bill tabled on Tuesday is passed speedily by both Houses of Parliament, it may be a while before it can be implemented.

• What does the Bill introduced in Lok Sabha say?

• In what ways is it similar to — or different from — the Bill that was passed by Rajya Sabha 13 years ago?

• For Your Information-According to The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill 2023, “as nearly as maybe, one-third (including the seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election to the House of People shall be reserved for women”.The Bill proposes a similar provision for Assemblies in the states and Delhi.Like the previous Bill, The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill 2023 proposes to introduce new articles — 330A and 332A — in the Constitution. These new provisions will introduce the changes for Lok Sabha and Assemblies respectively.Like the 2010 Bill, the current one also has a sunset clause, mandating that the reservation will be for a period of 15 years from the date of commencement of the Act.The key difference, however, is that the Bill makes the implementation of women’s reservation contingent upon the delimitation process.

• How soon can the Bill be expected to come into effect, assuming that it is passed quickly by both Houses of Parliament, perhaps in the ongoing Special Session?

• How will the reserved seats be identified in the first instance, and subsequently?

• For Your Information-The Bill states that one-third of the seats in Parliament and state Assemblies will be reserved for women. However, it doesn’t specify how these seats will be identified. It’s important to remember that this proposed constitution amendment is enabling in nature. In other words, it will grant the government the power to enact a law for its implementation. Hence, it is expected that the determination of seats will be addressed by a separate law that the government will introduce.However, it’s important to mention here that when the UPA tried to amend the Constitution in 2010, its amendment Bill also didn’t specify the method to identify which seats would be set aside for women. However, the government at the time had proposed that constituencies reserved for women would be obtained through a draw of lots to ensure that no seat was reserved more than once in three consecutive elections. The NDA-III government’s Bill also proposes the rotation of reserved seats. However, since the Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha Tuesday, and the debate on the Bill will only start on Wednesday, it’s not clear how exactly the Modi government intends to identify the 33% of seats.

• How are the seats that are reserved for SCs and STs decided currently?

• What constitutional amendments will be needed to operationalise the scheme of women’s reservation?

• How does reservation for women in Panchayati Raj institutions and Urban Local Bodies work?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Women’s reservation: Seeds of the idea under Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao govts


Azerbaijan launches military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- Armenian separatist forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus surrendered and agreed to a ceasefire on Wednesday, 24 hours after Azerbaijan began an offensive to restore its full control over the territory.

Under the agreement, effective from 09:00 GMT on Wednesday, separatist forces will disband and talks on the future of the region and the ethnic Armenians who live there will start on Thursday, reported Reuters.

• What is Nagorno-Karabakh?

• Where is Nagorno-Karabakh?

• Map Work-Nagorno-Karabakh

• For Your Information-Nagorno-Karabakh, known as Artsakh by Armenians, is a landlocked mountainous area in the South Caucasus. It was claimed by both Azerbaijan and Armenia after the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917 and has remained a point of tension ever since. The territory is internationally recognised as part of oil-rich Azerbaijan, but its inhabitants are predominantly ethnic Armenians and have their own government which has enjoyed close links to the government in neighbouring Armenia but has not been officially recognised by it or other U.N. member states. Armenians, who are Christians, claim a long historical dominance in the area, dating back to several centuries before Christ.Azerbaijan, whose inhabitants are mostly Muslim, links its historical identity to the territory too. It accuses the Armenians of driving out Azeris who lived nearby in the 1990s. It wants to gain full control over the enclave, suggesting ethnic Armenians take Azeri passports or leave.

• What is the history?

• What is happening now in Nagorno-Karabakh?

• What led to the latest fighting?

• What led to war?

• What happened in 2020?

• Who do Russia and Turkey support?

• What the international community has to say?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh surrender: What is the Azerbaijan-Armenia dispute over the region


Bima Sugam: Is it a ‘UPI moment’ for the insurance sector?


Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) claims that the proposed Bima Sugam is a “game changer” and a “UPI moment” for the insurance segment, with ambitions of becoming the largest online market for insurance products and services which has not been practiced anywhere in the world. The proposed platform is expected to help customers identify the right scheme from a maze of hundreds of products and services, with reduced paperwork.

• What’s Bima Sugam?

• What’s its role and utility for customers?

• Will the physical mode go away?

• What does the IRDAI say?

• When is Bima Sugam supposed to be up and running?

• Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority-know in detail

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

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📍IRDAI plans committee to create Bima Sugam platform, to appoint project consultant

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