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UPSC Key—21 September, 2023: Preamble of the Constitution, Indian Diaspora in Canada, Quota and Delimitation

Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for September 21, 2023. If you missed the September 20, 2023 UPSC CSE exam key from the Indian Express, read it here

FRONT NEWS

Lok Sabha clears Women’s Bill, this time near united

Syllabus:

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:

Freedom Sale

• What’s the ongoing story- Clearing the decks for a landmark legislation on 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, the Lower House Wednesday passed the women’s reservation Bill – the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023 – with near unanimity: 454 votes in favour and two from the AIMIM against it.Wrapping up a discussion on the Bill, Union Home Minister Shah, assured the Lower House of a “transparent process” to identify seats to be reserved for women.

• A quick recall-The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam — The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2023, which provides for 33% reservation for women in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies — was passed by Lok Sabha on Wednesday, and will likely be cleared by Rajya Sabha as well in Parliament’s ongoing Special Session.

• The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam —the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2023-What are the main features of the Women’s Reservation Bill?

• How this Bill will become a law?

• The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam —the Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2023, pertains to the concept of delimitation in the special session of parliament. Could you explain the connection between the “delimitation” and its association with the women’s reservation bill?

• Parliamentarians are currently elected in three categories-what are those?

• What are the provisions outlined in the women’s reservation Bill regarding the execution of the quota system?

• For Your Information-The Bill says the provisions of the new law shall come into effect “after an exercise of delimitation” undertaken “after the relevant figures for the first Census” carried out “after the commencement” of this law is “published”. In other words, the implementation of the reservation provision is not immediate, and is contingent on two processes — a delimitation exercise, and a Census. Delimitation is the process of redrawing Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies based on the latest population data.Under the provisions of the Bill, the 2021 Census — whenever it is actually carried out — will become the basis for the delimitation exercise that would result in an increase, and redefining of boundaries, of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies.Of these increased numbers of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies, 33% would be reserved for women, whenever the next elections are due.Since the 2024 elections are now only months away, the 2029 election is the earliest that women’s reservation could take effect in Lok Sabha — provided the Census is carried out and its findings are published, and the delimitation exercise is completed before that.

• Why is delimitation needed, and how is it carried out?

• Do You Know-The boundaries of Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies must be redrawn to ensure equitable representation — so that the vote of every person carries similar weight.Lok Sabha constituencies have to be allotted to every state in a manner that the ratio of the number of constituencies and the population of the state is broadly similar. A similar approach is adopted for state Assemblies as well. As populations change, there is a need to readjust the number and boundaries of the constituencies. Apart from population figures, delimitation also aims at a fair division of geographical areas into seats to guard against allegations of gerrymandering, which means redrawing seat boundaries in a way that no political party has an unfair advantage over another.It is a constitutional requirement to carry out delimitation of constituencies after every Census. Article 82 of the Constitution (“Readjustment after each census”) mandates the “readjustment” in the allocation of seats to every state in Lok Sabha, and the division of every state into constituencies “upon completion of each Census”.Articles 81, 170, 330, and 332, which deal with the composition and reservation of seats in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, also refer to this “readjustment”.The delimitation exercise is conducted by an independent delimitation commission. Its decisions are considered final, unchallengeable in any court, to prevent indefinite delays in elections.

• When was the last delimitation exercise carried out?

• The process of redrawing electoral boundaries, has long been a contentious issue in the realm of politics. This seemingly innocuous task of demarcating constituencies has the potential to ignite fierce debates and spark intense political rivalries. But what exactly makes delimitation such a political issue?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Before women’s quota in Parliament and state Assemblies, the issue of delimitation: What is it, why is it needed

Exercise caution in Canada, ‘politically condoned’ hate crimes there: India

Syllabus:

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- IN FURTHER escalation of the diplomatic standoff between the two countries, Delhi on Wednesday issued a strongly-worded advisory to Indian nationals in Canada, warning against “anti-India activities” and “politically-condoned hate crimes”.

• How did India’s relationship with Canada fare historically?

• India-Canada bilateral relations-know in detail

• How have India-Canada relations deteriorated in recent months?

• Why recent allegations by Canada are troubling and unprecedented?

• For Your Information-Canada-India relations have see-sawed over the last 50 years. During the Cold War, bonhomie developed between Ottawa and New Delhi due to their shared commonwealth status and convergent views on the importance of the United Nations, multilateralism, and advancing global development. Differences over Cold War crises in Korea, Hungary, and Vietnam strained the relationship. India’s nuclear programme tested ties further. In the 1980s, Ottawa’s interest in India was rekindled by rising Indian immigration. With limited prospects for trade or security relations, there was no basis for meaningful diplomatic engagement. Since then, however, much work has gone into reviving the relationship from its nadir in 1998, following Ottawa’s repudiation of India’s nuclear power status. Investment and trade form the heart of the relationship now, with considerable scope for growth. These issues and the bilateral relationship are held hostage by specific diaspora elements that harbour a deep hatred toward India, abhor its territorial unity and strive to Balkanise it.

• “Anti-India activities” and “politically-condoned hate crimes” are some of the harsh terms that India has used to describe situation in Canada—What has caused India to take such a decisive step?

• “Potential link” between “agents of the Government of India” and the assassination of a Khalistan separatist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar—Who said this and why?

• By calling it “politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence”, Delhi is targeting the Trudeau government-Why?

• Canada hosts one of the largest Indian diasporas in the world-Can you tell little more on this?

• 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).

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

• Sikh Diaspora in Canada and India-Know in detail

• India became the top source of foreign students studying in Canada-Know more in this regard

• What is Five Eyes Alliance?

• Who are in Five Eyes Alliance?

• What is Five Eyes Alliance take in recent India-Canada fiasco?

• Ottawa’s, particularly this government’s, confounding deference to Khalistani groups and other diaspora elements has characterised its foreign policy-Why Canada is a breeding ground for Khalistan elements?

• ‘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?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍US, Australia lend support to Canada call for India’s cooperation in probe

📍Canada needs to see India – not just the diaspora

Immunity to legislators on bribery: SC to revisit order

Syllabus:

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

Mains Examination: General Studies IV: Probity in Governance: Challenges of corruption.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- SAYING THAT it is necessary to reconsider “the correctness” of a 1998 5-judge Constitution Bench judgment in the P V Narasimha Rao case — where the majority had held that legislators have immunity against criminal prosecution on bribery charges for any speech or vote in Parliament — the Supreme Court on Wednesday referred the decision to a 7-judge Bench.

• What was the 1998 ruling that the SC is referring to?

• What is P V Narasimha Rao case?

• Do You Know-The PV Narasimha Rao case refers to the 1993 JMM bribery case concerning Shibu Soren, who also happens to be the father-in-law of Sita Soren, the petitioner in the present case. In Shibu’s case, he, along with some of his party MPs, was accused of taking bribes to vote against the no-confidence motion against the then PV Narasimha Rao government.Out of the five judges on the Bench in this case, two opined that protection under Article 105(2) or 194(2) and the immunity granted could not extend to cases concerning bribery for making a speech or vote in a particular manner in the House.However, the majority view was that while the court was “acutely conscious of the seriousness of the offence”, the Bench’s “sense of indignation” should not lead to a narrow construction of the constitutional provisions, as this may result in hampering the guarantee of “parliamentary participation and debate”. Thus, the top court in 1998 quashed the case against the JMM MPs, citing immunity under Article 105(2). Essentially, this five-judge bench ruling saved Soren from criminal prosecution.

• What Articles 105(2) and 194(2) of the Constitution says?

• For Your Information-The P V Narasimha Rao case refers to the 1993 JMM bribery case, in which Shibu Soren and some of his party MPs were accused of taking bribes to vote against the no-confidence motion against the then P V Narasimha Rao government. The Supreme Court had quashed the case against the JMM MPs, citing immunity under Article 105(2).

• What is the current case with the SC?

• What exactly Supreme Case recently in this regard?

• What are the provisions that grant legislators immunity from prosecution?

• Do You Know- Broadly, Article 105 of the Constitution deals with the “powers, privileges, etc. of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof”.Article 105(2) states, “No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof, and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of either House of Parliament of any report, paper, votes or proceedings.”In a nutshell, this provision exempts MPs from any legal action for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties. For example, a defamation suit cannot be filed for a statement made in the House. Additionally, this immunity extends to certain non-members, like the Attorney General of India or a Minister who may not be a member but speaks in the House. In cases where a member oversteps or exceeds the contours of admissible free speech, the Speaker of the House will deal with it, as opposed to the court. Meanwhile, Article 194(2) extends this immunity to MLAs and states, “No member of the Legislature of a State shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Legislature or any committee thereof, and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of a House of such a Legislature of any report, paper, votes, or proceedings.” In the present case, the court has to decide if the legal immunity enjoyed by parliamentarians extends to prosecution for demanding or taking a bribe.

• What is Bribery and Corruption?

• What are the types of corruption?

• What are the reasons for corruption in India?

• Implication of corruption-Know in detail

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Explained: Immunity of legislators from bribery charges

Biden has been invited by Modi as Republic Day guest: US envoy

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Main 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-In an indication of the deepening ties between the two countries, US Ambassador Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that President Joe Biden has been invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26 next year. During an interaction organised by the Ananta Centre, Garcetti, responding to a question on the Quad leaders being invited to the Republic Day celebrations, said the invitation to Biden was extended by Modi during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi recently.

• Why is being the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day such a great honour?

• Which country has been guest of honour in our Republic Day for the maximum number of times?

• How is the Chief Guest chosen?

• What happens after the MEA has zeroed in on its options?

• Can things go wrong during the visit?

• How many times there was no chief guest in Republic Day?

• Do You Know-Earlier this month, The Indian Express had reported that the government was considering inviting leaders of the Quad grouping for the Republic Day celebrations next year. A final call, sources had said, would be taken only after ascertaining the availability of the leaders – President Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. An invitation to be the Republic Day chief guest is highly symbolic from the government’s perspective. New Delhi has been weaving a strategy with hospitality to decide its chief guest for the Republic Day. A formal invitation is usually sent only after ascertaining informally the availability of the leaders.Sources said the Indian side had been working on those lines since all three leaders of the Quad grouping were here for the G20 Summit. It is also India’s turn to host the Quad Summit next year.Biden will be heading towards an election by the end of 2024, and January will be his last State of the Union address before the country goes to polls.The Australian government too celebrates its national day on January 26, honouring the establishment of the first permanent European settlement on the island continent. Albanese will be busy with public celebrations and ceremonies.Japan usually has its Diet (parliament) session open in the last week of January, and the Prime Minister is expected to be present there in the first weeks of the Budget session. The 150-day session next year is scheduled from January 23.If this plan of getting all the Quad leaders together works out, it will be a strong signal to China whose aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region has brought the four countries together.The Quad grouping began in 2007, but it lost its steam in 2008. It was revived in 2017 at the official level, and was upgraded to Foreign Ministers in 2019 and at the leaders’ level in 2021 after Biden came to power.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Republic Day 2023: How India chooses its chief guest, why the invitation is significant

In deep sleep on Moon, lander and rover to get ISRO wake-up nudge

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-With a new dawn breaking on Moon on Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up to try and nudge the lander and rover modules of Chandrayaan-3 mission to awaken from their sleep in an extremely frigid atmosphere. An ISRO official said the ground stations will try and revive the lander and rover modules, and the on-board instruments on Thursday or Friday, after optimum sunshine is available.The chances of revival are not very high, but it is not a hopeless situation either. It is possible that the lander or rover module wake up but are unable to regain full functionality.

• Why the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will try and nudge the lander and rover modules of Chandrayaan-3 mission to awaken from their sleep?

• Why Vikram Lander and Pragyan rover are in hibernation mode?

• What is the mission life of Chandrayaan-3 module?

• For Your Information-The solar-powered Chandrayaan-3 modules had a mission life of just one lunar day, equivalent to about 14 days on Earth. The electronics were not designed to withstand the extremely cold night-time temperatures on the Moon, which drops well below -200 degrees Celsius near the south pole, where Chandrayaan-3 has landed.Spacecraft meant to survive the night on the Moon are usually equipped with some onboard heating mechanism. Russia’s Luna-25, which failed to land on the Moon, had such a system. But Chandrayaan-3 was never meant to live beyond one lunar day.However, once the main science objectives of Chandrayaan-3 were over, ISRO had decided to take its chances and try to extend the lifespan of the lander and rover. Accordingly, it shut down the operations of all instruments a little earlier than sunset, and put them in sleep mode, hoping that the batteries that had been fully charged by then would keep the instruments warm enough to survive the night.If they wake up fully fit, the lander and rover can keep operating for another 14 Earth days at least, thus enriching the scientific data and observations they have been sending to the ground stations. Already, Chandrayaan-3 has collected some exciting new data about the Moon regarding its composition and environment. This includes a first-of-its-kind temperature profile of the lunar top-soil near the South Pole by the CHaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment) instrument.In a surprise, the lander module was also made to do a ‘hop experiment’ just before it was put to sleep — the lander was made to jump, about 40 cm from the surface, and it landed safely about 30-40 cm away from its original location. Even though it was a very small jump, the hop experiment demonstrated ISRO’s capability to get the lander to fire its engines and produce the thrust to lift it off the surface.This capability is key to future missions that might involve the lander to return to Earth with samples from the Moon.

• What is hop experiment?

• Why hop test is important?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍RS adopts resolution lauding Chandrayaan-3 scientists; Opp MPs flag ISRO budget cut

📍Chandrayaan-3 lander hops on Moon, marks big leap for ISRO

GOVT & POLITICS

Continuation of reservation is ‘absolutely necessary’: Govt to SC

Syllabus:

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- Favouring extension of the period of reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies, the Centre on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that it will submit more material to strengthen its case. “We want to add more material to strengthen the case of the government that continuation of reservation is absolutely necessary,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a five-judge Constitution bench, which took up the petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the Constitution 104th (Amendment) Act.

• Why there is a reservation of seats in Parliament for SCs and STs?

• How many seats reserved for scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes in Lok Sabha currently?

• What is the 104th Amendment of the Indian Constitution

• What is the petition exactly with Supreme Court of India?

Do You Know-In Ashok Kumar Jain vs. Union of India and Ors case, the Bench will deal with a challenge to the validity of The Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999, which allowed reservations given to SCs, STs, and Anglo-Indians in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies to be extended beyond the earlier 10-year period, as provided under Article 334 of the Constitution.Article 334 deals with the reservation of seats and special representation in Lok Sabha and Assemblies. Although it was initially meant to continue for a period of 10 years, subsequent amendments like The Constitution (95th Amendment) Act, 2009, extended reservations to groups like the Anglo-Indians, SCs, and STs for 70 years and 80 years, respectively.However, on January 21, 2020, by way of The Constitution (104th Amendment) Act, 2019, reservations were extended to SCs and STs for 80 years again, but the reservations for the Anglo-Indian groups were discontinued.Last year, on August 24, the top court listed the matter for consideration by a five-judge Bench led by CJI D Y Chandrachud. The case can be expected to be finally taken up now.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Pleas challenging constitutional validity of extending reservation to SC/ST in LS, state assemblies to be heard on Nov 21

Science awards to be called Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Main Examination: General Studies III: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story– On the lines of civilian awards, Government of India will now recognise scientists with Rashtriya Vigyan Puruskar under four categories — Vigyan Ratna, Vigyan Shri, Vigyan Yuva–Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, and Vigyan Team — said Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh during Indian Express Idea Exchange Monday.

• What is the recent changes?

• Why these changes are significant?

• For Your Information-Vigyan Ratna will recognise the lifetime achievement of scientists, Vigyan Shri will recognise distinguished contributions to a field, Vigyan Yuva Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar will encourage young scientists who have made exceptional contributions in their field, and Vigyan Team will recognise teams of three or more. The awards will commence in 2024.The Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar will be awarded in 13 domains – Physics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, Earth Science, Medicine, Engineering Sciences, Agricultural Science, Environmental Science, Technology and Innovation, Atomic Energy, Space Science and Technology. “It may be ensured that each domain/field is represented. Adequate representation of women may also be ensured,” a government document said.There will only be three Vigyan Ratnas awarded yearly: 25 Vigyan Shri, 25 Vigyan Yuva, and 3 Vigyan Team. Only Vigyan Yuva will have an age limit of 45 years.Nominations for the awards will be accepted every year between January 14 and February 28, which is recognised as National Science Day. The awards will be announced on National Technology Day, May 11. On the other hand, the award ceremony will be held every year on the recently announced National Space Day, August 23, to mark the day India’s Chandrayaan-3 landed on the Moon.All internal awards, except for one named after Homi Jehangir Bhabha given by the Department of Atomic Energy, “have been dispensed,” according to information with The Indian Express. The internal award will be given to 30 recipients in the form of certificates.

• How the awardees will be selected?

• The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards is an esteemed accolade that acknowledges which aspects?

• Sir Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar-Know his legacy

• Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar-Connect the dots

• Do You Know-A committee under the chairmanship of the principal scientific adviser will select the awardees. The Rashtriya Vigyan Puraskar Committee will be constituted of all secretaries of all six science departments, four presidents selected from science and engineering academies, and six distinguished scientists and technologists from different fields of science.This committee will be constituted annually, with the committee members ineligible for the award during their tenure. The awards processes will be carried out by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for the first two years and will be taken over by the newly instituted National Research Foundation.This is in line with the government’s effort to “rationalise” awards in science and technology. Dr Singh said: “We have not discontinued awards, we have rationalised them. We have reduced the numbers to add to the sanctity and value of the awards. After all, a coveted award has to be coveted.”“We have done away with endowments. What was happening was that when a scientist passed away, their family would finance an award in their name. That would not carry as much weight,” he added.The Department of Science and Technology used to give 207 awards, of which four were of national importance. They also had 97 private endowments and 56 internal awards. The Department of Biotechnology gave six fellowships as awards. The Department of Atomic Energy gave 25 performance-based honours and 13 non-core domain awards.The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had three internal awards. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) gave seven awards, including the coveted Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award. The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences gave four national awards.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize For Science and Technology

📍About CSIR

EXPRESS NETWORK

‘Food animal’ tag for Northeast’s mithun a leg-up for its meat

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: 

• General Studies I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

• General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- Abhijit Mitra recalls an apocryphal tale from the time he was posted in Nagaland as Director of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s main research centre on mithuns, a bovine that’s indigenous to some of the states in the Northeast.The story went that during Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh (then North East Frontier Agency), he was greeted by a tribal chief with a proposition: he offered to give the prime minister 500 mithuns in exchange for a young Indira Gandhi’s hand in marriage with his son. “True or not, the story shows how significant mithuns are to this society. The tribal chief offered 500 mithuns! Something only an incredibly powerful man could have offered,” laughs Mitra, former director of the National Research Centre on Mithun and currently Animal Husbandry Commissioner with the Union government.

• Know about Mithun

• What are the cultural and ritual significance of Mithun in North eastern part of India?

• Why it has been recognised as a ‘food animal’?

• Do You Know- The mithun — steeped in cultural and ritual significance, and consumed for generations across many regions of the Northeast – could be poised for another role in society. With the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) recognising the bovine as a ‘food animal’, starting September 1, work is on to help farmers and tribal village communities benefit commercially from the sale and processing of mithun meat.The mithun, which goes by its scientific name Bos frontalis, is a ruminant species of the Bovidae family found in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram.The slaughter of mithuns — an animal that has ritual significance and is also the state animal of both Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland — is traditionally reserved for special occasions, which has in present times come to also include feasts given by election candidates.On an average, an adult mithun weighs between 400 and 650 kg. Kewiribam says a mithun that is 4-5 years of age can be sold for Rs 2 lakh or more, and when sold as meat, can fetch Rs 300 per kg. However, until now, mithuns and their meat were sold only for very special occasions such as festivals or weddings, he says, and that too never outside the radius of a few neighbouring villages.

• Is it a cow or buffalo?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Not cow but mithun, a sign of ‘serious’ trouble in Arunachal Pradesh

ECONOMY

US Fed keeps rates unchanged; possible hike before year-end

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The Federal Reserve left its benchmark interest rate unchanged Wednesday for the second time in its past three meetings, a sign that it’s moderating its fight against inflation as price pressures have eased.

The Fed’s policymakers also signaled that they expect to raise rates once more this year and envision their key rate staying higher in 2024 than most analysts had expected.

• What is the Federal Funds Rate (FFR)?

• How the Federal Reserve Manages Money Supply

• US Federal Reserve Policies and its Impact on India

• What is a recession?

• So, is the US in recession?

• What is the outlook for the US economy?

• How is inflation measured in USA?

• Inflation measured in USA and inflation measured in India-Compare and Contrast

• Inflation in USA vs Inflation in India-Compare and Contrast

• What goods or services are driving the increase in prices in USA and also in India?

• Why is USA’s inflation a matter of concern for India?

• Why are the signals from the Fed important?

• How inflation in USA will impact India’s Import and Export?

• How does the upcoming Fed action to temper inflation impact global markets?

• How do rate cycles work?

• Do You Know-Traders across markets have been looking for signs since early this year that the Fed might be more aggressive about rolling back the stimulus that has been feeding stock market gains across geographies.The new projections in response to the inflation trajectory are being seen as a definitive move to frontload the reversal of the central bank’s expansionary monetary policy put in place in early 2020 to invigorate the American economy amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Part of this support was in the form of an extraordinary bond buying programme, which was intended to bring down long-term interest rates and catalyse greater borrowing and spending by both consumers and businesses.The Fed’s inflation-busting action comes amid criticism that the US central bank has fallen behind the curve on inflation. Powell and other Fed officials maintained till early this year that inflation in the US was merely a temporary problem related to supply chain issues. Prices have spiked since then, partly due to external factors that include the war in Ukraine and the continuing Covid-19 shutdowns in China’s key manufacturing hubs.Like other central banks such as the Reserve Bank of India, as the US Fed conducts monetary policy, it influences employment and inflation primarily by using policy tools to control the availability and cost of credit in the economy.The Fed’s primary tool of monetary policy is the federal funds rate, changes in which influence other interest rates — which in turn influence borrowing costs for households and businesses, as well as broader financial conditions. Additionally, the bond-buying programme, also known as quantitative easing, was put in place in 2020 as an extraordinary measure to help the financial markets and the economy counter the impact of the pandemic.This bond buying was an unconventional monetary policy tool (that was deployed during the global financial crisis as well), using which the central bank purchases longer-term securities from the open market in order to increase the money supply and incentivise lending and investment. Buying these securities augmented the supply of new money in the economy, and ended up dampening interest rates, while also expanding the central bank’s balance sheet.The Fed has now halted the process of pumping the proceeds of an initial $15 billion of maturing Treasuries back into the American government debt market, effectively signalling the move to shrink its expanded $9 trillion balance sheet

• What will be the impact of a more aggressive Fed rate action on other markets, including India?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Explained: US inflation and its impact on India

EXPLAINED

THE 42ND AMENDMENT THAT PUT ‘SOCIALIST’, ‘SECULAR’ IN PREAMBLE

Syllabus:

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

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has claimed that the words “socialist” and “secular” were missing in the Preamble of the Constitution of India, the copies of which were given to MPs on Tuesday (September 19).

These two words were originally not a part of the Preamble. They were added by The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 during the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.The description of India as a “secular” country in particular, has been debated intensely over the past four decades; with critics, mostly on the Right, claiming that these “imposed” terms sanction “pseudo-secularism”, “vote-bank politics” and “minority appeasement”.

• First, what is the Preamble of the Constitution?

• So how did the words “socialist” and “secular” come in the Preamble?

• And what about the word “secular”?

• But wasn’t secularism already an integral part of the Constitution even before the 42nd Amendment?

• Has this issue been discussed earlier too?

• How else has the preamble been debated earlier?

• Under what circumstances was the preamble amended?

• Were ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ debated before Independence?

• Do You Know-Over her years in government, Indira had attempted to cement her approval among the masses on the basis of a socialist and pro-poor image with slogans such as “garibi hatao” (Eradicate poverty). Her Emergency government inserted the word in the Preamble to underline that socialism was a goal and philosophy of the Indian state.It needs to be stressed, however, that the socialism envisaged by the Indian state was not the socialism of the USSR or China of the time — it did not envisage the nationalisation of all of India’s means of production. Indira herself clarified that “we have our own brand of socialism”, under which “we will nationalise [only] the sectors where we feel the necessity”. She underlined that “just nationalisation is not our type of socialism”.The people of India profess numerous faiths, and their unity and fraternity, notwithstanding the difference in religious beliefs, was sought to be achieved by enshrining the ideal of “secularism” in the Preamble.In essence, this means that the state protects all religions equally, maintains neutrality and impartiality towards all religions, and does not uphold any one religion as a “state religion”.A secular Indian state was founded on the idea that it is concerned with the relationship between human being and human being, and not between human being and God, which is a matter of individual choice and individual conscience. Secularism in the Indian Constitution, therefore, is not a question of religious sentiment, but a question of law.The secular nature of the Indian state is secured by Articles 25-28 of the Constitution.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍The history and debates about ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in the preamble of the Constitution

Why the NGT has banned cruise ships in Madhya Pradesh water bodies

Syllabus:

Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-The National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Bhopal recently ruled that operating cruise boats in various water bodies of Madhya Pradesh was illegal and cannot be allowed to continue in violation of various environmental laws.

The NGT observed that the water bodies of MP are “for the benefit of the people” and the state is “under the obligation to protect”, in its order passed on September 12.The move has put a spanner in the works for MP’s budding cruise ship tourism industry, a trend that has been quickly catching onto other states with large coastlines and inland rivers. The industry’s most ambitious upcoming project is the luxury cruise on the Narmada River, which will cover three states, including MP, Maharashtra and Gujarat, plying from Barwani to the Statue of Unity in Gujarat.

• What is the case?

• Why did the MP government see nothing wrong with cruise tourism?

• What is the cruise ship scene in Bhopal and where did it go wrong?

• In which areas of Madhya Pradesh does a cruise ship operate and are the conditions the same as in Bhopal?

• How did the NGT bring cruise ships under the ambit of environmental laws?

• What about the other states?

• What is National Green Tribunal (NGT)?

• What is the Structure of NGT?

• What are the Important Landmark Judgements of NGT?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

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📍Stop operating cruises, motorised boats on Bhopal Lake, NGT tells MP govt

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