07 Dec 2023: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

07 December 2023 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. An experiment in education at grassroots level schools in Bangladesh
1. The role of special inquiry committees of Parliament
1. Navigating the U.S.-China relationship
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
F. Prelims Facts
1. 114 seats, migrant quota cleared for J&K Assembly
G. Tidbits
1. AICTE to regulate BBA and BCA programmes with curriculum vetted by experts
2. Garba dance of Gujarat makes it to UNESCO list
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Category: POLITY

1. The role of special inquiry committees of Parliament

Syllabus: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.

Mains: About committees and their functioning, Issues with expelling M.P from Parliament

Prelims: Ethics Committee, Privileges Committee

Context: The Lok Sabha ethics committee suggests expelling Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra for alleged unethical conduct, prompting debate on constitutional validity and democratic representation concerns.

Role of Ethics Committee:

  • Constituted in 2000 to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of members in the Lok Sabha.
  • Examines complaints against members by other members, outsiders through a member, or those referred by the Speaker.
  • Conducts a prima facie inquiry before deciding to examine a complaint.
  • Determines whether an act is ‘unethical’ without a specific definition.
  • Submits a report to the Speaker for consideration by the House.
  • Past instances include recommendations for suspension based on ‘unethical’ behaviour.

Privileges Committee:

  • Privileges Committee or special enquiry committee examines the more serious accusations against a member.
  • Investigates severe allegations, such as promoting business interests for financial gains or involvement in scandals like ‘cash for query.’
  • In 2005, a special committee probed the ‘cash for query’ scam involving 10 Lok Sabha MPs, recommending their expulsion.

Constitutional Validity of Expulsion:

  • Article 101 of the Constitution outlines grounds for an MP’s seat vacation but doesn’t explicitly mention expulsion.
  • Conflicting Supreme Court judgments: Raja Ram Pal versus Hon’ble Speaker (2007) upheld Parliament’s power to expel members, while Amarinder Singh versus Special Committee, Punjab Vidhan Sabha (2010) deemed expulsion by State Assembly unconstitutional.
  • Interpretations vary concerning whether expulsion aligns with democratic principles.

Privilege of the House vs. Democratic Representation:

  • Balancing the House’s privileges developed historically to protect it from authoritarianism and ensuring democratic representation is crucial.
  • Serious allegations, like ‘cash for query’ against Mahua Moitra, raise questions about the proportionality of expulsion as punishment.
  • Expulsion leaves citizens without representation until the next election or a bye-election, potentially impacting democratic rights.
  • Parliamentary Committee proceedings lack the depth of a judicial case governed by the Evidence Act.

Suggested resolution: Establish fast-track courts for timely trials within 60 days for such cases. Conviction should result in disqualification under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, while acquitted members continue their House membership.

Nut Graf: The parliamentary ethics committee, formed to oversee moral conduct, recommended the expulsion of an MP for alleged unethical behaviour. While privilege committees handle severe accusations, the constitutional validity of expulsion remains ambiguous. Balancing House privileges with democratic representation is crucial, raising questions about the proportionality of punishment and the continuity of constituent representation.


1. Navigating the U.S.-China relationship

Syllabus: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s Interests

Mains: USA-China conflict and Taiwan angle 

Context: The second summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping happened in San Francisco on November 15 and aimed to revive their strained bilateral relationship, currently at its weakest since 1979.

Recent Summit and Outcomes: 

  • President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping met in San Francisco during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
  • Aimed at improving the deteriorating U.S.-China relationship, the summit’s significant achievement was the decision to reinstate military-to-military communications.
  • Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, crucial for preventing potential misunderstandings between nuclear-armed nations, will resume.

Taiwan Conflict:

  • Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in 2022 led to the closure of military communication channels between the U.S. and China.
  • Taiwan remains a contentious issue, with China striving for reunification while the U.S. recognizes Beijing as the legitimate Chinese government but maintains ties with Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act.
  • Beijing condemned U.S. officials’ visits to Taiwan, warning of severe repercussions and conducting military exercises near Taiwan’s coast.

Trade Dispute:

  • The U.S. and China are navigating a volatile economic and trade policy framework amid political hostility.
  • President Biden blacklisted Chinese defence and surveillance companies, building on actions taken by the Trump administration in 2019.
  • Both countries leverage their strengths to inflict damage, with the U.S. imposing controls on semiconductor exports and China responding with bans on critical materials.

Export Controls and Countermeasures:

  • The U.S. implemented export controls on advanced computer chips to undermine China’s progress in AI and supercomputing.
  • China retaliated with bans on Gallium, Germanium, and Graphite exports, impacting microchip and electric vehicle battery production.
  • Additional measures include China tightening anti-espionage and data protection laws, affecting digital tools and server operations.

Future Outlook and Pragmatic Coexistence:

  • The bilateral dispute’s escalation, characterized by a power struggle, continues under President Biden’s leadership.
  • There is a subtle shift towards exploring pragmatic avenues of coexistence, emphasising de-risking the two economies rather than disengagement or ‘decoupling.’
  • This nuanced approach represents a slight dose of realism in navigating the complex U.S.-China relationship, offering hope for a reduction in hardline positions in the short term.

Nut Graf: In the wake of a strained U.S.-China relationship, the San Francisco summit between President Biden and Xi yielded crucial military communication restoration, aiming to avert catastrophic misunderstandings. Amidst trade disputes and geopolitical tensions, there’s a cautious pivot towards pragmatic coexistence, hinting at a nuanced shift in managing this complex superpower dynamic.

G. Tidbits

1. AICTE to regulate BBA and BCA programmes with curriculum vetted by experts

  • The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will regulate undergraduate courses such as Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) from the academic year 2024-25.
  • The AICTE released a new approval process handbook for the period from 2024-25 to 2026-27, covering undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
  • The new handbook includes provisions for the extension of approval for well-performing institutions, reduction in compliances related to land documents, and no-objection certificates from affiliating universities and states.
  • The AICTE will introduce a new curriculum for undergraduate courses, vetted by experts across the country.
  • The move expands AICTE’s regulatory oversight to include BBA and BCA programs in addition to its existing regulation of postgraduate programs such as MBA and MCA.
  • The AICTE is also introducing flexible study timings for working professionals in technical education to facilitate career advancement.
  • Norms for granting autonomy to polytechnic colleges will also be implemented from the next academic year.

2. Garba dance of Gujarat makes it to UNESCO list

  • Gujarat’s traditional dance form, ‘Garba,’ has been included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
  • This recognition was made under the provisions of the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
  • ‘Garba’ is described as a ritualistic and devotional dance performed in India.
  • This inclusion marks the 15th cultural item from India to be recognized by UNESCO.
  • The last inclusion from India was Kolkata’s Durga Puja, added two years ago.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1. With reference to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, 
consider the following statements:
  1. The bill increases the total seats in the J&K Assembly from 107 to 114.
  2. Nine seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes for the first time.
  3. The Lieutenant-Governor has the authority to nominate three members in the J&K Assembly.

How many of the statements given above are incorrect?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: d

Explanation: All three statements are correct.

Q2. With reference to the role of the ethics committee, consider the 
following statements:
  1. The ethics committee, established in 2000, oversees the moral and ethical conduct of members of the House.
  2. The committee conducts a prima facie inquiry before deciding to examine a complaint against a member.
  3. The term ‘unethical’ is explicitly defined, guiding the committee’s decisions.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: b

Explanation: Statement 3 is incorrect. The term ‘unethical’ is not explicitly defined, leaving it to the committee’s discretion.

Q3. With reference to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which 
of the following statements is/are correct?
  1. The SDGs were adopted in 2010 to address global challenges, succeeding the Millennium Development Goals.
  2. There are a total of 17 SDGs covering a wide range of social, economic, and environmental dimensions.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Answer: b

Explanation: The 17 SDGs, adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

Q4. Consider the following cultural items:
  1. Durga Puja 
  2. Garba  
  3. Mudiyettu
  4. Ramman
  5. Chhau dance

How many of the above-mentioned cultural items from India are included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)?

  1. Only two
  2. Only three
  3. Only four
  4. All five

Answer: d

Explanation: Recently, Gujarat’s traditional dance form ‘Garba’ was included in the list by UNESCO. It is the 15th cultural item from India to make it to this list. Kolkata’s Durga Puja was the last one added two years ago.

Q5. Consider the following statements about the All India Council for 
Technical Education (AICTE):
  1. AICTE attained statutory status in 1945 and operates as a national-level council for technical education.
  2. The objectives of AICTE include ensuring quality assurance through accreditation and managing the technical education system in India.
  3. It is affiliated to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

How many of the statements given above are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer: a

Explanation: 1st & 3rd statements are incorrect, as AICTE was established in November 1945, but it gained statutory status in 1987. AICTE is under the Ministry of Education.


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