17 Aug 2019: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

August 17th, 2019 CNA:-Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS 1 Related
SOCIETY
1. Santhal Penalty Stalls Cremation
B. GS 2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Chhattisgarh Government to Double Reservation for OBCs
2. India Gets its First National Essential Diagnostics List
3. Virtual Court to Deal with Traffic Challan
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Policy Depends On Circumstances: Defence Minister
C.GS 3 Related
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
1. NGT Directs Railways to Furnish Performance Guarantee
DISASTER MANAGEMENT
1. Animal Rescue during Disasters
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. ISRO Arm Begins Search for PSLV Makers
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
ECONOMY
1. Making CSR work: On Companies Act amendments
DEFENCE
1. India’s doctrine of Nuclear No First Use
F. Tidbits
1. Odisha to Set Up Maritime Board
G. Prelims Facts
1. Jayakwadi Dam
2. International Army Scout Masters Competition
3. Forex Reserves
H. UPSC Prelims Practise Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practise Questions

A. GS 1 Related

Category: SOCIETY

1. Santhal Penalty Stalls Cremation

Context:

Local police in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district on Friday recovered a woman’s body which could not be cremated for three days because community members refused to participate in the last rites.

Details:

  • Villagers belonging to the Santhal tribe at Kuchei village allegedly insisted that the husband of the deceased woman pay a ‘society penalty’ before allowing anyone to assist him in the cremation.
  • The penalty that included a goat, three chickens, 15 kg of rice and two pots of country liquor was imposed on the family because his father had married outside the clan decades ago.
  • The husband, a daily wager, had expressed his inability to pay the penalty to the community and to his in laws.
  • The marriage of the deceased woman also allegedly challenged the tribe’s tradition under which the groom’s family must gift a cow or bullock to the bride’s family at the time of marriage.

Concerns:

  • The incident indicates a social boycott for not obeying community rules.
  • Internal customs of tribal communities are often based on long held beliefs and practices.

Santhal Community:

  • Santhals are an ethnic group native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
  • They are the largest tribe in the Jharkhand state of India in terms of population and are also found in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha.
  • The Santhals mostly speak Santali, an Austroasiatic language.
  • The Santhal religion worships Marang Buru or Bonga as the Supreme Deity.
  • As the British started encroaching on their land, the Santhals started a rebellion led by the brothers, Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu, who were defeated.

 

B. GS 2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Chhattisgarh Government to Double Reservation for OBCs

Context:

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister has announced that the government would almost double the reservation for the OBCs in government jobs and educational institutions.

Details:

  • The Chief Minister announced 32% reservation for Scheduled Tribes (STs), 13% for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 27% for OBCs.
  • Once in effect, Chhattisgarh will have a total of 72% reservation, the highest in the country and far above the 50% cap on quotas mandated by the Supreme Court.

Background:

  • Other Backward Classes (OBCs) makes up close to half the State’s population.
  • At present, the reservation provided in the state are 32% reservation for Scheduled Tribes (STs), 12% for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 14% for OBCs.
  • Major OBC communities of the state such as Sahus and Kurmis have been suffering from agrarian crisis and poverty.

 Supreme Court Order:

  • The Supreme Court in its landmark 1993 judgment in Indra Sawhney vs Union of India put forward two conditions:
  • The total number of reserved seats/places/positions cannot exceed 50% of what is available.
  • Under the constitutional scheme of reservation, economic backwardness alone could not be a criterion.
  • Clause (4) of Article 16 of the constitution states that the State can make any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the State.
  • In Tamil Nadu, reservation is up to 69% (SC-18%, ST-1%, and OBC-50%) was included in the Ninth Schedule. Laws under this schedule are beyond the purview of judicial review, even though they violate fundamental rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution.
  • In recent years, Bombay High Court had struck down attempt to cross the 50% limit by the state of Maharashtra.
  • Haryana, Telangana and Rajasthan had also attempted to breach the limit set by the judiciary.

Other Challenges:

  • The 10% center mandated Economic Weaker Section (EWS) quota for the general category would take the overall reservation to 82%.
  • The move is being alleged as politically motivated.

2. India Gets its First National Essential Diagnostics List

Context:

India has got its first National Essential Diagnostics List (NEDL) finalized by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Details:

  • India has become the first country to compile such a list that would provide guidance to the government for deciding the kind of diagnostic tests that different healthcare facilities in villages and remote areas require.
  • The list is meant for facilities from village till the district level.
  • NEDL builds upon the Free Diagnostics Service Initiative and other diagnostics initiatives of the Health Ministry.
  • The list also encompasses tests relevant for new programs such as Health and Wellness Centers (HWCs) under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
  • In addition to tests, corresponding In-Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) products have also been recommended.

Background:

  • In India, diagnostics (medical devices and in vitro diagnostics) follow a regulatory framework based on the drug regulations under:
  • Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940
  • Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945
  • Medical Device Rules, 2017

Reasons behind the Move:

  • Diagnostics serve a key role in improving health and quality of life.
  • Low cost, inaccurate diagnostics, with no regards to quality, have made their way into the health care system
  • The current system is equipped to manage only the few notified devices.
  • The list aims to bridge the current regulatory system’s gap that do not cover all the medical devices and IVDs.

Advantages of the List:

  • The list will provide an expanded basket of tests at different levels of the public health system.
  • Implementation of the list would enable improved health care services delivery through
  • Evidence based care
  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure
  • Effective utilization of public health facilities
  • Effective assessment of disease burden, disease trends, surveillance, and outbreak identification
  • Addressing the crisis of antimicrobial resistance

Key Challenges:

  • Adoption by States and harmonization with local standard diagnostic protocols and treatment guidelines.
  • Provision of requisite infrastructure, processes and human resources.
  • Ensuring quality of tests and adequate utilization of EDL tests for making informed decisions for treatment protocols.

WHO List:

  • In 2018, World Health Organization (WHO) released the first edition of Essential Diagnostics List (EDL).
  • Even though WHO’s EDL acts as a reference point for development of national EDL, India’s diagnostics list has been customized and prepared as per landscape of India’s health care priorities.

3. Virtual Court to Deal with Traffic Challan

Context:

  • The Punjab and Haryana High Court will launch its first virtual court to deal with traffic challan at Faridabad through videoconferencing.

The Process:

  • The court would deal with traffic challan cases from across the State.
  • The cases received in the virtual court can be viewed by the judge along with automatic computation of fines on the screen.
  • After the summon is generated and the accused gets information on email or through a text message, the accused can visit the virtual court website and search the case by CNR Number, his/her name or even with the driving license number.
  • Once the accused pleads guilty online, fine amount will be displayed and accused might proceed to pay the fine.
  • On successful payment and realisation of the fine amount, the case would be automatically disposed of.
  • If the accused did not plead guilty, such cases would be remanded to the regular courts with the respective territorial jurisdiction.
  • The project will be launched under the guidance of e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India.

Benefits:

  • The initiative will do away with the need for the litigant to be present in the court and facilitate adjudication of the case online.
  • It will benefit all the stakeholders in the justice delivery system by reducing the backlog of cases.
  • The entire process of disposal will happen online in a few hours.
  • Footfalls in the courts will reduce as the accused need not visit the court to plead guilty.

e-Governance in Indian Judiciary:

  • e-Courts:
  • The e-Court Mission Mode Project (MMP) was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian judiciary by making use of technology.
  • The project had been developed, following the report submitted by the e-Committee under Supreme Court on national policy & action plan on implementation of information communication tools in Indian judiciary.
  • Under the e-Courts MMP, it is proposed to implement ICT in Indian judiciary in 3 phases over a period of 5 years.
  • The MMP aims to develop, deliver, install, and implement automated decision-making and decision-support systems.
  • The services offered by e-Courts are:
  • Automation of Case Management Processes.
  • Provision of online services such as certified copies of orders and judgments, case status, calculation of court fees, cause lists, Institution Registers, and Court Diaries.
  • Establish information gateways between courts and government agencies.
  • Creation of National Judicial Data Grid agencies.
  • Recently, the Supreme Court upheld the plea for live-streaming of its proceedings, observing that the use of technology is to virtually expand the court beyond the four walls of the courtroom.

To know more about e-Governance read:

Core Principles of e-Governance and Models of e-Governance

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. ‘No First Use’ Nuclear Policy Depends On Circumstances: Defence Minister

Context:

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that the future of India’s No First Use policy on nuclear weapons depended on “circumstances”.

Details:

  • “India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in the future depends on the circumstances,” he said in a post on Twitter.
  • The statement came after his visit to the nuclear test site in Pokhran.

The Doctrine:

  • A No First Use (NFU) policy refers to a pledge by a nuclear power not to use nuclear weapons as a means of warfare unless first attacked by an adversary using nuclear weapons.
  • India has put in place its nuclear doctrine with NFU and massive retaliation forming its core tenets soon after it tested nuclear weapons in 1998.
  • In 2003, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met to review the progress in operationalizing the country’s nuclear doctrine.
  • An official release issued that day summarized the decisions that were being put in the public domain.

Provisions in the Doctrine:

  • The government’s stated position till now has been that nuclear weapons are solely for deterrence and that India will pursue a policy of “retaliation only”.
  • India would continue to put strict controls on the export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participate in the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continue to observe the moratorium on nuclear tests.
  • India would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
  • India remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.
  • The concept of maintaining a minimum credible deterrence and a nuclear triad for delivery of nuclear weapons based on aircraft, missiles and nuclear submarines are consequences of the doctrine.

Nuclear Command Authority:

  • The doctrine also said that nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorized by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • The Nuclear Command Authority comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council.
  • The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Advantages of the Doctrine:

  • The NFU doctrine had helped India get civil nuclear technology after it signed a deal with the US, despite being a non-member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and a non-signatory of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • The nation attained the status of a responsible nuclear nation.

Need for a Shift?

  • This strategic shift is in line with the more muscular approach of the Government towards national security, as evidenced by the airstrikes in Pakistan in response to the Pulwama terror attack.
  • The aerial bombing of a terror base in Balakot was the first time that Indian Air Force jets had crossed the border since the 1971 war.
  • Pakistan does not have an NFU policy and has built a nuclear weapons programme designed to deter India and neutralise its much larger conventional military.
  • India also has concerns about China, which has a bigger military and more advanced strategic weapons.

C.GS 3 Related

Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY

1. NGT Directs Railways to Furnish Performance Guarantee

Context:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Railways to furnish a performance guarantee of ₹50 lakh in order to curb air pollution at a station in Haryana’s Rewari.

Details:

  • A Bench headed by NGT judicial member also asked the senior divisional commissioner manager of North West Railways to provide an update on the work.
  • It is made clear that the performance guarantee should be furnished within two weeks.

Background:

  • Earlier, the green panel had constituted a joint team comprising representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board and the Haryana State Pollution Control Board to look into a plea that alleged air pollution caused due to loading unloading of cement and gypsum at the railway station.
  • The tribunal observed contradictory statements regarding the case:
  • It has been categorically submitted that the railway has erected a 650m long wall whose heights have been raised to 15m from 12m.
  • In the later part of the same document, it has been deposed that a tender has been uploaded on the railway portal in respect of raising of the height of the boundary wall.
  • Several other statements made by the Railways pertaining to the work completed were “categorically denied” by the State pollution control board.

To know more about NGT read:

National Green Tribunal

Category: DISASTER MANAGEMENT

1. Animal Rescue during Disasters

Context:

Rescuing animals, either pets or wild, is often overlooked during emergency situations like natural disasters.

Background:

  • As many as 35 crocodiles have been rescued so far from various parts of Vadodara ever since heavy rains battered the city and its surrounding areas.
  • The city and its adjoining areas had received nearly 500mm of rainfall in a day till August 1 morning, which had created a flood-like situation.
  • Water from the overflowing Vishwamitri River entered several localities in the city, bringing with it many crocodiles.
  • The Vishwamitri and Dhadhar Rivers are believed to be home to more than 250 crocodiles.
  • A pet dog has been rescued by the Humane Society International (HIS) at the landslip struck Kavalappara, near Nilambur in Kerala.
  • The dog was found sitting at the site where the house of its master and his family stood at Kavalappara.
  • No members of the family is believed to have survived the landslip.

 

Current Status:

  • Recently, the devastating floods in Assam, submerged 70% of the Kaziranga National Park in water.
  • Animals often get hurt or killed during the search and rescue operation with heavy earthmovers.

Animal Rescue:

  • Apart from the forest department, volunteers of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the field of wildlife and animal welfare, as well as teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), are involved in the task of safely capturing and rescuing animals.

Category:SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. ISRO Arm Begins Search for PSLV Makers

Context:

New Space India Ltd (NSIL) launched a formal search for industry consortia which can regularly manufacture and deliver entire Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV).

Details:

  • The company will initially outsource five PSLVs that can lift light payloads to ‘low earth orbits’.
  • The four-stage PSLV is needed to place both Indian remote sensing satellites and small satellites of foreign customers to space.
  • In its first tender it invited expressions of interest from one or more experienced companies or consortia to produce the launchers end to end.
  • Their job starts from component procuring, electronics, to large stages and finally the assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of the vehicles.
  • Selected parties can use ISRO facilities where required.
  • Upon successful and satisfactory completion of realisation of 5 PSLVs, NSIL/ISRO will enhance the scope to 12 PSLVs per annum under a separate contract.

Background:

  • At the Bengaluru Space Expo held a year ago, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan had urged industries to relieve ISRO of the manufacturing burden, saying the space agency must do 59 launches by 2021 and needed a PSLV strike rate of two a month.
  • Of the over ₹6,000 Cr. sanctioned last year for the cost of 30 PSLVs required during 2019-24, 85% of the money would go to industries.
  • ISRO currently sources separate rocket parts from around 500 big and small vendors and does the AIT itself at its facilities in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
  • For almost a decade, ISRO has been planning to hand the production over to public and private industries and focus on its core job of space R&D.
  • On the satellite side, groups of industries are already helping ISRO in AIT at the Bengaluru-based U.R. Rao Satellite Centre and have produced a couple of mid-sized satellites.

New Space India Ltd:

  • New Space India Limited (NSIL) is a wholly owned Government of India undertaking/ Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS).
  • It was created to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Centres and constituent units of DOS.
  • NSIL has been incorporated to carry out the following roles and functions as part of its mandate:
  • Small Satellite technology transfer to industry, wherein NSIL will obtain license from DOS/ISRO and sub-license it to Industries.
  • Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with the Private Sector.
  • Production of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian Industry.
  • Production and marketing of Space based products and services, including launch and application.
  • Transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and constituent units of DOS.
  • Marketing spin-off technologies and products/services, both in India and abroad.

D. GS 4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!s

E. Editorials

Category:ECONOMY

1. Making CSR work: On Companies Act amendments

Context

  • Parliament has passed amendments to the Companies Act to strengthen laws governing corporate social responsibility (CSR).

What does the law state?

  • Corporate Social Responsibility was introduced through Section 135 of the Companies Act of 2013.
  • These laws state that companies with a net worth of ₹500 crore or revenue of ₹1,000 crore or net profit of ₹5 crore during the immediately preceding fiscal should spend 2% of their average net profit in the last three years on activities related to social development
  • It includes sanitation, education, eradication of hunger, poverty and malnutrition, conservation of heritage, art and culture, and vocational training such as setting up grooming outlets or training centres for sewing.

What are the changes in the law?

  • Till now, if a company was unable to fully incur the CSR expenditure in a given year, it could carry this amount forward and spend it in the next 12 months, in addition to the money for that year.
  • Under the new legislation, any unspent amount will have to be deposited into an escrow account within 30 days of the end of that fiscal.
  • This amount will have to be spent within three years from the date of its transfer, failing which it will be put into a fund, which could even be the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

What are the penalties?

  • Companies violating CSR norms will attract fines ranging from ₹50,000 to ₹25 lakh, with the officers concerned liable for imprisonment of up to three years, according to the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Key Stats

  • Filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs show that in 2017-18, only a little over half of those liable to spend on CSR have filed reports on their activity to the government.
  • The other half either did not comply or simply failed to file. The average CSR spend by private companies was just ₹95 lakh compared to ₹9.40 crore for public sector units.

Objections to the proposed amendments

  • The proposed changes come in an environment where profit has become a dirty word. Starting from the budget, which increased taxes on the rich, this is seen as another move aimed at penalizing the private sector.
    • There’s a sense that the government is unloading its responsibilities on the private sector.
    • The new provisions are also tantamount to raising taxes on companies as they would be penalized for not spending the full CSR amount. The move will also increase costs for companies.
  • Key amendments to the relevant sections of the Companies Act have now made non-compliance with CSR norms a jailable offence for key officers of the company
    • But the committee, headed by the Corporate Affairs Secretary has proposed that non-compliance be de-criminalised and made a civil offence.

Conclusion

  • It should be recognized that CSR is not the main business of a company and in these challenging times they would rightly be focusing their energies on the business rather than on social spending.
  • The government should be careful to not micromanage and tie down businesses with rules and regulations that impose a heavy compliance burden.
  • Else it might end up with the opposite of what it intends — to rope in corporates as citizens to promote social inclusion.

Category:DEFENCE

1. India’s doctrine of Nuclear No First Use

Context

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said while India has strictly adhered to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s doctrine of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) of nuclear weapons, “what happens in future depends on the circumstances”.

What is this doctrine, and how did it come into being?

  • In 2003, when Vajpayee was India’s Prime Minister, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met to review the progress in operationalizing the country’s nuclear doctrine
  • Among the major points in the doctrine was “a posture of No First Use”, which was described as follows: “Nuclear weapons will only be used in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere”.
  • However, the doctrine made it clear that India’s “nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be massive and designed to inflict unacceptable damage”.
  • Also, “in the event of a major attack against India, or Indian forces anywhere, by biological or chemical weapons, India will retain the option of retaliating with nuclear weapons”.

The doctrine also said:

  • Nuclear retaliatory attacks can only be authorised by the civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
    • The Nuclear Command Authority comprises a Political Council and an Executive Council.
    • The Political Council is chaired by the Prime Minister.
    • The Executive Council is chaired by the National Security Advisor. It provides inputs for decision making by the Nuclear Command Authority and executes the directives given to it by the Political Council.
  • India would not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.
  • India would continue to put strict controls on the export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participate in the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty negotiations, and continue to observe the moratorium on nuclear tests.
  • India remains committed to the goal of a nuclear weapons free world, through global, verifiable and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament.

Factors against revisiting our nuclear doctrine:

  • This chipping away at India’s nuclear-weapons use posture is strategically unsound and diplomatically questionable. It plays into the hands of Pakistan, which has forever sought a notional parity with India
  • All the gains enjoyed by us in the international community by the restraint of our nuclear posture would be frittered away. These do not merely constitute intangibles but entailed the termination of sanctions, support for our entry into the multilateral nuclear export control regimes as well as our civil nuclear cooperation agreements.
  • Makes crises more stable because adversaries do not have to fear that India will initiate nuclear use and threaten the survivability of their own nuclear forces, which might tempt them to use nuclear weapons early and massively against India
  • It would enormously complicate and increase the expenditure incurred by us in regard to our command and control mechanisms which would have to be reconfigured to engage in calibrated nuclear war fighting.
  • It would facilitate the painting of South Asia as a nuclear flashpoint and thereby encourage foreign meddling.

India should not have NFU

  • Firstly, NFU implies probable large-scale destruction in own country economically
  • Secondly, in India there is hardly any debate on security policy issues, much less on the NFU policy. Inputs indicate that the Indian public in totality is not in sync with the policy. Some call it a cause of concern; others call it the Panipat Syndrome’ of allowing the enemy to defeat us on our own soil.
  • Thirdly, to fight a war with constraints which jeopardise the future of a country is also morally wrong; no leadership has the right to place its population at peril without exhausting other options and opting only for NFU.
  • Global context – Viewed in a global context, at present, very few countries adhere to NFU.
  • Need of ambiguity for deterrence – Ambiguity in nuclear weapons posture is necessary to create confusion in the minds of India’s adversaries. Dread is at the heart of successful nuclear deterrence.

The following could be some moves in this direction:

  • Government must restore faith in itself by doing what it says and not shying from biting the bullet. Firmness must be shown in all its actions.
  • Periodic statements about the nurturing and up gradation of our nuclear arsenal and systems including alternate command structure.
  • An indication that our nuclear arsenal will be large enough to take care of all adversaries will have to be taken up.

 

F. Tidbits

1. Odisha to Set Up Maritime Board

  • A proposal for establishment of the Odisha Maritime Board for administration, control and management of non-major ports and non-nationalised inland waterways was approved by the State Cabinet.
  • The Board will function as a single window facilitator for the overall maritime development of the State.
  • The Board will provide policy, guidelines and directions for the integrated development of ports and inland water transport keeping in view of the country’s security and defence related concerns.
  • Earlier a Bill was passed in 2011 for constitution of the Board but was withdrawn because some more issues were to be added, according to official sources.
  • Odisha is endowed with a vast coastline of 480 km, having rich, unique and natural port locations and perennial rivers.
  • Out of the 14 sites identified for development of 14 non-major ports, two at Gopalpur and Dhamra are operational and two at Astarang and Subarnarekha are in the pipeline.

 

G. Prelims Facts

1. Jayakwadi Dam

  • It is a multipurpose project in the Godavari River to irrigate agricultural land in the drought-prone Marathwada Region of the state.
  • Eight sluice gates of the dam have been opened to discharge water accumulated due to heavy rain in north Maharashtra.
  • The current discharge of around 4,500 cusecs from the dam has been prompted due to incessant showers in Nashik district and other parts of north Maharashtra, causing the Godavari River to swell and fill up the dams there.

2. International Army Scout Masters Competition

  • The 5th International Army Scout Masters Competition was held at the Jaisalmer military station.
  • Indian Army has won the competition that has eight participating teams from Armenia, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, India, Russia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.
  • India participated in the games for the first time.
  • The competition is part of the International Army Games organised by the Ministry of Defence, Russia.

3. Forex Reserves

  • India’s foreign exchange reserves surged by $1.620 billion to $430.572 billion in the week according to RBI data released on Friday.
  • In the reporting week, foreign currency assets, a major component of the overall reserves, increased by $15.2 million to $398.739 billion, the RBI said.
  • Gold reserves surged by $1.591 billion to $26.754 billion, according to the data.
  • Special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund were up by $6.7 million to $1.441 billion.

To know more about India’s Forex reserves: Read Forex Reserves

H. UPSC Prelims Practise Questions

Q1. With reference to the Santhal Rebellion, consider the following statements:
  1. The Santhals, led by the brothers, Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu started a rebellion against the British in 1855-56.
  2. Santhals are a tribal group concentrated in the state of Gujarat.
  3. They engaged in guerrilla warfare.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

a) 1 only
b) 1 and 2 only
c) 1 and 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3 only

See
Answer
Q2. With reference to the e-Court Mission Mode Project (MMP), consider the following statements:
  1. It was conceptualized with a vision to transform the Indian judiciary by making use of technology.
  2. The services offered by e-Courts include automation of Case Management Processes and creation of National Judicial Data Grid agencies.

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

See
Answer
Q3. Which of the following authorities comprise the Nuclear Command Authority of India?

a) A Political Council and an Executive Council
b) A Political Council only
c) An Executive Council only
d) The President and the Chief Justice of India

See
Answer
Q4. Which of the following products of Tamil Nadu have been awarded with a GI tag?
      1. Palani Panchamirtham
      2. Toda Embroidery
      3. Kolhapur Jaggery

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) 1 and 2 only
d) 1 and 3 only

See
Answer

I. UPSC Mains Practise Questions

      1. A sense of impunity associated with illegal stone quarrying and wetland encroachment often lead to disasters such as landslides and floods. Suggest measures to regulate such activities.   (250 words, 15 marks)
      2. The achievements of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is comparable with those of the space agencies of the most developed countries. Discuss. (250 words, 15 marks)

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