13 Dec 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Allow ‘minorities’ into India, Meghalaya HC tells Centre
2. SC asks Centre, Karnataka to respond on Mekedatu
3. Kerala man’s death penalty commuted
4. No farm loan waiver: Centre
5. SC extends tenures of Punjab, Haryana DGPs till January 31
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Approach will be consultative: Das
INTERNAL SECURITY
1. ‘NSG must have its own air wing’
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
ENVIRONMENT
1. Engaging with climate change (Climate Change)
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. Getting citizenship could become easier for some (Citizenship)
F. Tidbits
1. ‘Sec. 377’ is top ‘What is…’ query of 2018 on Google
2. Rajini fans go mobile-free for 68 minutes
G. Prelims Fact
1. India gets submarine rescue system
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Allow ‘minorities’ into India, Meghalaya HC tells Centre

Context

  • The Meghalaya High Court has asked the Centre to bring in a law to let people of religious and ethnic minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan be given citizenship without any cut-off year or any questions asked.
  • Allowing a writ petition by Amon Rana, an Army recruit who was denied domicile certificate by the Meghalaya government, Justice Sen said that the Centre should have a law allowing Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians, Khasis, Jaintias and Garos from neighbouring countries to live in India “with full dignity without making any cut-off year and be given citizenship without any question or production of any document”.
  • He also found fault with the NRC process in Assam. “The present NRC process in my view is defective as many foreigners became Indians and original Indians were left out, which is sad,” he said.

Background

  • The present government had introduced the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in Parliament which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, and provide citizenship to migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction. Several parties and organisations in the Northeast are protesting against this Bill.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016

  • The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction.
  • However, the Act doesn’t have a provision for Muslim sects like Shias and Ahmediyas who also face persecution in Pakistan.
  • The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation.
  • According to the Citizenship Act, 1955, an illegal immigrant is one who enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents. Or, a person who stays beyond the visa permit.

National Register of Citizens

  • It is a register containing the list of bona fide (genuine/real) Indian citizens. Those failing to enlist their names in the register would be deemed, illegal migrants.
  • The first list was made in 1951, covering the whole of India, as per the census of that year.
  • Currently, the list has been updated for the first time, and only in Assam
  • Officially, the NRC process will address the issue of illegal migrants, specifically from Bangladesh.
  • The National Register of Citizens was first published in 1951 to record citizens, their houses and holdings. Updating the NRC to root out foreigners was a demand during the Assam Agitation (1979-1985).
  • There have been several waves of migration to Assam from Bangladesh, but the biggest was in March 1971 when the Pakistan army crackdown forced many to flee to India. The Assam Accord of 1985 that ended the six-year anti-foreigners’ agitation decided upon the midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date.

2. SC asks Centre, Karnataka to respond on Mekedatu

Context

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre and the Karnataka government to respond on a petition filed by Tamil Nadu against the unilateral approval granted by the Central Water Commission (CWC) to Karnataka to proceed with the preparation of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Mekedatu project in violation of the decisions of the tribunal and apex court for equitable apportionment of Cauvery water

Petitioner’s Arguments

  • Tamil Nadu said the Supreme Court had noted that the existing storages in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka should be taken into account for ensuring water releases to Tamil Nadu during the month of June to January.
  • “The proposed construction of any new dam by Karnataka through its instrumentalities would alter the adjudication to the distribution of 10 daily/monthly releases to Tamil Nadu. This amounts to interference with the adjudication, which is in contempt of the Supreme Court judgment of February 16, 2018,” the petition said.

What is Mekedatu dispute?

  • Karnataka intends to build a reservoir across river Cauvery near Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk. It was first proposed along with Shivanasamudra hydro power project at Shimsa in 2003 with an intention to use the water for a hydro power station and supply drinking water to Bengaluru city.
  • However, Tamil Nadu objected saying Karnataka had not sought prior permission for the project. Its argument was that the project would affect the flow of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

The Central Water Commission (CWC)

  • It is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
  • The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.
  • Central Water Commission CWC is headed by a Chairman, with the status of Ex-Officio Secretary to the Government of India.

3. Kerala man’s death penalty commuted

Context

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday commuted the death penalty of a man who murdered six of a family, including children, in Kerala on the ground that none of the courts that heard the case bothered to examine the probability of his “reform or rehabilitation and social reintegration.”

Details of the issue

  • A three-judge Review Bench, led by Justice Madan B. Lokur, commuted the death penalty of M.A. Antony to life imprisonment, setting aside its own judgment.
  • “There are a number of cases where convicts have been on death row for more than six years, and if a standard period was to be adopted, perhaps each and every person on death row might have to be given the benefit of commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment,” Justice Lokur said.
  • Antony, represented by advocate Manoj George, murdered the family in January 2001 after they refused to lend him money to travel to West Asia for a job.
  • The Review Bench held that Antony was in dire straits and had gone to the house in the hope of getting some money and after the refusal, he decided to “kill all of them.”
  • The Bench also said the courts should consider whether a death row convict from a poor background got adequate legal representation.
  • “The poor are more often than not at the receiving end in access to justice and access to the remedies available,” Justice Lokur said.

General analysis of the Capital Punishment

  • Capital punishment is a debatable subject and criminologists, sociologists and the legal fraternity are always divided.
  • Justice P Bhagwati while delivering a dissenting opinion in case of Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1982) case held capital punishment to be unconstitutional.
  • The Law Commission of India in its report on death penalty said that after many years of research and debate a view has emerged that there is no evidence to suggest that the death penalty has a deterrent effect over and above its alternative – life imprisonment.
  • The Justice JS Verma committee, which was formed after the December 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case, in its report concluded that death penalty would be a regressive step in the field of sentencing and reformation.
  • Human Rights Watch, of course, opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases. Capital punishment for rape is the easiest and most convenient demand to raise, yet the most harmful one for rape survivors. It is all about retribution, disregards the reformative aspect of the criminal justice system, and, most importantly, is said to have little deterrent effect.
  • There are rapists who kill the victims, and there are rapists who don’t. Now, if the maximum punishment in either case is the same, the rapist would reason that by killing his victim he may never be exposed. There are numerous instances of the perpetrators killing their victims, so stringent anti-rape laws are perceived not to be deterrents but measures that further instigate rapists to kill the victims.
  • Rape is already underreported in India largely because of social stigma, victim-blaming, poor response by the criminal justice system, and lack of any national victim and witness protection law making them highly vulnerable to pressure from the accused as well as the police. Children are even more vulnerable due to pressure from family and society. Increase in punishment, including the death penalty may lead to a decrease in reporting of such crimes.

4. No farm loan waiver: Centre

Context

  • On a day when the BJP’s loss in three State elections was partly attributed to rural distress and the Congress’s promise to waive farm loans, the government told the Lok Sabha that it was not considering any loan waiver scheme as it would affect the credit culture, incentivise defaulters, create a moral hazard and perpetuate demands for further waivers.
  • In a written reply to Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali Patil, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said “the Union government at present is not considering any loan waiver scheme for farmers.”

Farm loan waiver

  • Farm loan waiver is the practice of writing off the loans given to farmers owing to their inability to pay them back due to reasons like calamity, disaster, political policies etc. Recently many governments like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh have done it.

Arguments for Farm loan waiver

  • Agriculture in India has been facing many issues — fragmented land holding, depleting water table levels, deteriorating soil quality, rising input costs, low productivity. Add to this vagaries of the monsoon.
  • Output prices may not be remunerative. Farmers are often forced to borrow to manage expenses. Also, many small farmers not eligible for bank credit borrow at exorbitant interest rates from private sources.
  • When nature rides roughshod over debt-ridden farmers in the form of erratic monsoon and crop failures, they face grim options. Indebtedness is a key reason for the many farmer suicides in the country.

Arguments against Farm loan waiver

  • Farm loan waivers are at best a temporary solution and entail a moral hazard even those who can afford to pay may not, in the expectation of a waiver.
  • Such measures can erode credit discipline and may make banks wary of lending to farmers in the future. It also makes a sharp dent in the finances of the government that finances the write-off.
  • Also a recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute reveals that at the national level, 48% of agricultural households do not avail a loan from any source. Among the borrowing households, 36% take credit from informal sources.
  • A negative relationship between the size of farm and per capita consumption expenditure (a proxy for income) further underscores the importance of formal credit in assisting marginal and poor farm households in reducing poverty hence farm loan waivers fail to result into farmers welfare.

Way Forward

  • It is more important to make agriculture sustainable by reducing inefficiencies, increasing income, reducing costs and providing protection through insurance schemes.
  • Extending reach of minimum support price which has been dedicated to few crops and in a narrow geographical area is important
  • The agro-processing industry and warehousing needs to expand so that agricultural produce can be stored when prices plunge
  • Credit products for agriculture need to be tailor-made based on cropping and rain cycle, specific to a particular region. The regional offices of commercial banks should contribute in this exercise.
  • Urjit Patel is of the opinion that farm loan waiver undermines honest credit culture and discipline. It endangers moral hazard and entails transfer from tax payers. Hence alternative to blanket waivers need to be explored and adapted.

5. SC extends tenures of Punjab, Haryana DGPs till January 31

Context

  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended till January 31 the tenures of present DGPs of Punjab and Haryana and agreed to hear the States’ pleas seeking to implement their local laws regarding selection and appointment of the police chief.
  • A Bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph was hearing the pleas of Punjab, Haryana and Bihar governments seeking modification of its earlier order directing all the States to mandatorily take the assistance of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in short-listing the names for appointing DGP.
  • The Punjab, Haryana and Bihar governments, represented by senior advocates P Chidambaram, Shyam Divan and Ranjit Kumar respectively, said on Wednesday that they have already framed a comprehensive law, dealing with the procedures to appoint the DGP, in pursuance of the 2006 apex court verdict on police reforms.
  • They said the apex court’s directives on appointment of DGPs needed to be modified with respect to the three States.

Present guidelines for appointing the DGP

  • The State government concerned has to send to the service commission the names of the probables three months before the incumbent DGP is to retire.
  • The UPSC will prepare a list of three officers fit to be DGP and send it back.
  • It shall, as far as practicable, choose the people who have got a clear two years of service and must give due weightage to merit and seniority.
  • The State, in turn, shall immediately appoint one of the persons shortlisted by the commission.
  • States may make an endeavour to allow the DGP appointed to continue in office despite his or her date of superannuation, this extension of tenure should be only for a reasonable period.
  • On the practice of States appointing ‘Acting DGPs’, the court ordered that States shall not ever conceive of the idea of such appointments. There is no concept of Acting DGPs.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Approach will be consultative: Das

Context

  • The newly appointed Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das made it clear that he would uphold the autonomy of the central bank and maintain its credibility.
  • “The RBI is a great institution, it has very long legacy, a very rich legacy. I will try and uphold the professionalism, the core values, the credibility and the autonomy of the Reserve Bank,” he said in his opening remarks at his first media interaction as Governor.
  • “At the same time, every institution must also adhere to the principles of accountability,” he said. “We have to have stakeholder consultation. The government is not only a stakeholder but the government of the day runs the economy, runs the country and manages major policy decisions. I would like to believe that all issues, howsoever contentious, can be resolved through discussions,” he said.

Reserve Bank of India

  • Reserve Bank of India is the central banking institution, which regulates the monetary policy of the Indian rupee.
  • Under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, RBI was established on 1st April 1935. RBI is not a Commercial Bank.
  • The Central Office of RBI was primarily established in Calcutta and then permanently moved to Mumbai in 1937.
  • RBI is an institution of national importance and the pillar of surging Indian economy. It is a member of IMF. Recently, RBI has launched a website named ww.paisaboltahai.rbi.org.in. to raise awareness among masses about fake notes in the market.

 Concept of RBI

  • The concept of Reserve Bank of India was conceptually based on the strategies formulated by Dr. Ambedkar in his book named “The Problem of the Rupee – Its origin and its solution”.
  • This central banking institution was established based on the suggestions of “Royal Commission on Indian Currency & Finance” in 1926. This commission was also known as Hilton Young Commission.
  • In 1949 the Reserve Bank of India was nationalized and is a member bank of the Asian Clearing Union.
  • RBI regulates the credit and currency system in India.

Main Functions of RBI

  • Monetary Authority
  • Regulator and administrator of the financial system
  • Managing Foreign Exchange
  • Issuer of currency
  • Developmental role

Category: INTERNAL SECURITY

1. ‘NSG must have its own air wing’

Context

  • A Parliamentary panel has recommended that the Centre urgently take steps to ensure that the National Security Guard (NSG) — the country’s premier counter-terrorist and contingency force — is equipped with its own dedicated air wing.
  • The NSG was raised in 1986 following the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Operation Blue Star. The force, which is trained to operate as an elite urban anti-terrorist and anti-hijack force, doesn’t have a cadre of its own or direct recruitment and is instead dependent on personnel sent on deputation from the army and the central armed police forces.

National Security Guard (NSG)

  • The National Security Guard (NSG) was set up in 1984 as a Federal Contingency Deployment Force to tackle all facets of terrorism in the county.
  • Thus the primary role of this Force is to combat terrorism in whatever form it may assume in areas where activity of terrorists assumes serious proportions, and the State Police and other Central Police Forces cannot cope up with the situation.
  • The NSG is a Force specially equipped and trained to deal with specific situations and is therefore, to be used only in exceptional situations. The Force is not designed to undertake the functions of the State Police Forces or other Para Military Forces of the Union of India.
  • The NSG was modeled on the pattern of the SAS of the UK and GSG – 9 of Germany. It is a task-oriented Force and has two complementary elements in the form of the Special Action Group (SAG) comprising Army personnel and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG), comprising personnel drawn from the Central Para Military Forces/ State Police Force. All the personnel are on deputation.
  • The National Security Guard (NSG) is a special force in India that has primarily been utilized for counter-terrorism activities and was created by the Cabinet Secretariat under the National Security Guard Act of the Indian Parliament in 1986.
  • It works completely within the Central Armed Police Forces structure. The NSG is an elite force providing a second line of defence to the nation.
  • They have played a pivotal role in safeguarding the unity of India and have commendably foiled attempts of anti-national elements to tear apart the social fabric of the country.
  • The NSG has maintained an edge over terrorist outfits in possession of latest technology and are considered among the best special operations units in the world.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: ENVIRONMENT

1. Engaging with climate change (Climate Change)

What is in the news?:

  • Thousands of schoolchildren demonstrated on the streets of Australian cities at the end of November, 2018.
  • These schoolchildren were protesting against their government’s lacklustre response to climate change.
  • As a matter of fact, their protest march coincided with the G20 summit in Argentina.
  • Experts opine that the G20 summit in Argentina showed no consensus on climate change.

Editorial Analysis:

Focus on Australia:

  • It is important to note that over the recent years, Australia has experienced dire consequences of global warming.
  • It is important to note the demonstration by the schoolchildren in Australia showed that their collective anger was neither politically engineered nor unruly. Experts opine that it is due to this that it elicited a quick, though disapproving, response from the Australian Prime Minister.
  • On his way to the G20 summit, the Australian Prime Minister said students should focus on learning and avoid activism.
  • In contrast, Australia’s Resources Minister, Matt Canavan’s response, was sharper. He said students should be learning about geology and mining rather than protesting on streets. He was referring to the coal mining projects some of the children specifically mentioned.

What should we infer from these protests?

  • An important thing about the protests in Australia is that many parents and teachers had given their consent.
  • Some parents had encouraged children to go out on the streets.
  • The deeper inspiration had come from similar plans reported from Swedish schools. Like children in various other parts of the world, Swedish and Australian children have been studying environmental science in their regular curriculum.
  • It specifically refers to the dangers of global warming and the impending disasters associated with climate change.
  • However,  in addition to the curriculum, direct experience of endemic forest fires impelled adolescent minds in Australia to mount public protests. Several students spoke to the media, articulating specific demands. These included the closure of a new coal mining projects.
  • How important such projects are to Australia’s continued economic prosperity is clear from the sharp reaction that children’s mass protest received from the Minister.
  • As a matter of fact, critics point out that Mr. Canavan is in a vast company of popular politicians of different countries, among which American President Donald Trump is one of them. Critics assert that leaders like him (Donald Trump) see climate change as an irritating discourse.
  • Moreover, they feel it confuses and distracts the public. These leaders believe that no goal should override high industrial and economic growth. As for the threat of climate change, these leaders deny it and blame activist scientists for creating and spreading a myth.
  • It is also important to note that a vast section of people in otherwise educated countries, such as the U.S. and Australia, agree with politicians like Mr. Trump and Mr. Canavan.

The distinction between weather and climate:

    • Experts point out that why people think that climate change is a myth is easy to explain.
  • Further, a basic lesson in geography in elementary schools across the world concerns the distinction between ‘climate’ and ‘weather’.
    • The two concepts are typically explained as being different in terms of changeability. Weather changes from day to day and season to season, according to standard geography texts. Climate, on the other hand, refers to a permanent frame within we study change in weather conditions. Thus, the term ‘climate’ is used for classifying the world and each country in zones. These zones constitute the permanent lore of learning. In India, for example, an educated person is expected to know that there are six climate zones.
    • Further, it is intellectually challenging for many people to reconcile this notion of climate with the idea of climate change that the UN is using to warn people against terrible environmental disasters. Another idea that the UN is doing its best to promote is that of ‘sustainable development’.
    • Interestingly, it is important to note that the UN’s promotion of these ideas is based on a global consensus which gave birth to these concerns in the first place.
  • In a report released by UNESCO’s Delhi-based Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, entitled, “Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century”, an analysis of curriculum policy documents from over 20 Asian countries was presented.
  • The analysis shows that the sustainable development goals promoted by UNESCO have been included in the school syllabus across Asia, but their presence is merely nominal in most countries. Policy documents include environmental concerns, but prioritise economic growth. In the context of globalisation, most countries propagate competitive nationalism. It is used as a major ground for regimentation of children’s bodies and minds in order to ensure that they become proud, loyal citizens.

Concluding Remarks:

  • In conclusion, it is important to note that these messages are hardly unique to Asian countries. The Australian children who registered their protest on city streets receive similar lessons at school. Yet, they feel more sensitive than Australia’s political leaders to the threat of climate change.
  • Experts suggest that the reason perhaps lies in the nexus between politics and economic interests.
  • It is also important to note that all environmental struggles are caught in sharply divided goals of popular politics and people’s right to live in a safe and sustainable environment.
  • Further, those who espouse environmental causes are often seen as romantics while people who support fast economic growth based on rapid industrialisation are perceived as practical realists.
  • The Australian children have rejected this view. They have figured out that the term ‘climate change’ means little to their political leaders. A new UN report, released just when the G20 summit was starting, says that the window of opportunity for taking meaningful steps to avert climate change will close within a decade or so.
  • An important question arises:

Who can understand the implications of this better than children?

They have no financial investments to be redeemed by deeper mining for coal or building taller apartment blocks.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. Getting citizenship could become easier for some (Citizenship)

What is in the news?:

  • Experts point out that the winter session of Parliament may see the government push for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016.
  • The proposed law, which amends the original Citizenship Act of 1955, mandates that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will not be treated as illegal immigrants despite having entered India without valid documents.
  • They will not face deportation as illegal immigrants under the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920 and the Foreigners Act of 1946.
  • Further, illegal immigrants from these six communities from these countries are assured a smooth sail to citizenship over Muslims.

Editorial Analysis:

Why did the Act come into existence?

    • It is important to note that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016, which was introduced in Parliament on July 15, 2016, explains that many persons of Indian origin including persons belonging to the six “minority communities” from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh have been unsuccessfully applying for citizenship under the Citizenship Act of 1955 but are unable to produce proof of their Indian origin.
  • Hence, as a consequence, they are forced to apply for citizenship by naturalisation which prescribes 12 years’ residency as qualification.

A Closer Look at the Bill

  • The Bill states that such a long-drawn process denies illegal immigrants from these six minority communities of the three nations “many opportunities and advantages that may accrue only to the citizens of India, even though they are likely to stay in India permanently”.
  • The amendment shortens the period of residency from 12 to seven years for gaining citizenship by naturalisation.
  • The Bill also empowers the government to cancel registration as OCI in case of any violation of the Citizenship Act or any other laws.
  • Recently, the government has made its resolve clear to go ahead with the amendments by notifying amendments in the Citizenship Rules of 2009 to include a separate column notifying changes in the citizenship form for applicants belonging to six communities from these three nations.

A Critical View

  • Critics say the Bill violates the basic tenets of the Constitution.
  • They assert that by distinguishing illegal immigrants on the basis of religion, the proposed law goes against the fundamental right to equality under Article 14.
  • Further, the protection of Article 14 applies equally to both citizens and foreigners.
  • Second, the Bill would hamper what the Assam National Register of Citizens seeks to achieve in the State. The NRC does not distinguish on the basis of faith unlike the 2016 Bill.

Concluding Remarks:

  • The Bill is seen by many as an effort by the BJP to make good their 2014 election promise of making India a safe haven for Hindus persecuted in the three foreign nations.
  • However, the proposed move has drawn flak from the BJP’s coalition partner, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which has threatened to break ties with the BJP if the Bill is passed. The AGP believes that the Bill is a threat to the cultural and linguistic identity of the people of Assam. The Bill, if passed as law, would be challenged in the Supreme Court on the grounds of Article 14 and as a move to disturb the NRC process.

F. Tidbits

1. ‘Sec. 377’ is top ‘What is…’ query of 2018 on Google

  • Sport-related queries dethroned entertainment as India’s top ‘googling’ obsession in 2018, occupying the top three spots on the list of most searched for ‘items’ online. This is as per the annual trends data released by Google, which it does towards the end of every year.
  • The top three trending queries of the year in India were ‘FIFA World Cup 2018’, Live Score’ and ‘IPL 2018’.
  • Apart from being the top query overall, ‘FIFA World Cup 2018’ was the most searched in sports and news categories, with football toppling cricket and Bollywood, which have traditionally been the top two themes of Indian curiosity.
  • Interestingly, the Supreme Court’s judgment decriminalising homosexuality probably led to a huge spike in ‘What is Section 377’ searches, making it the top ‘What is…’ search.
  • Tamil and Malayalam film industries walked away with the top searches in the ‘trending movies’ and ‘personalities’ categories respectively. Rajinikanth’s recently released film 2.0 was the most Googled film, while the Malayalam actor Priya Prakash Varrier, who broke the Internet with a wink, was the most searched personality.
  • The recently married celebrity couple, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, featured in the top five trending personalities, along with singer Sapna Choudhary and entrepreneur Anand Ahuja, who tied the knot with Sonam Kapoor earlier this year.

2. Rajini fans go mobile-free for 68 minutes

  • For a regular cinema goer, the movie 2.0 may have been all about south Indian superstar Rajinikanth, but for his fans in Bengaluru, the movie was more about the message delivered by Pakshraj, the villain of the movie played by Akshay Kumar.
  • The movie showed how the birds affected by radiation join forces to seek revenge on humans. It is up to Rajinikanth’s character, Dr. Vaseegaran, to control this dangerous force using his robot Chitti.
  • In an attempt to spread the movie’s message, his fans decided to pay tribute to their Thalaivar, as he is fondly called by his fans, on his 68th birthday and to 2.0 in a unique way.
  • The members of Karnataka State Rajinikanth Fans Association decided to go mobile-free for exactly 68 minutes on Wednesday.
  • “The movie highlighted an important issue about how radiation from mobile towers is affecting birds. We wanted to spread greater awareness about the issue through the campaign on Thalaivar’s birthday. A technology diet is what we need today. We wanted to show through the campaign the need to stay away from mobile phones at least for some time in the day. Around 600 fans participated in the initiative,” said Rajini Santhosh, president of the association.

G. Prelims Fact

1. India gets submarine rescue system

Context

  • The Indian Navy joined a select group of naval forces in the world on Wednesday when it inducted its first non-tethered Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) system at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.

Details of the DSRV

  • The DSRV is used to rescue crew members from submarines stranded under water in the high seas.
  • The DSRV can be operated at a depth of 650 metres and can rescue 14 people at a time.
  • The state-of-the-art system is also equipped with a decompression chamber that can accommodate submariners and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), which can be used to beam images and provide immediate assistance.
  • The DSRV can also be transported by air, enabling it to conduct rescue operations across the globe.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Recently Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Aadhaar. In which of the following 
cases Aadhaar is required?
  1. Linking to PAN card
  2. Welfare schemes
  3. Banks accounts

Select the correct code:

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 3
  3. Only 1
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements with reference to Article 368:
  1. The Parliament can amend all fundamental rights.
  2. All Constitutional Amendment Bills require ratification of at least half of the states.
  3. The President cannot withhold his assent to the constitutional amendment bill

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. Only 1 and 3
  2. Only 3
  3. Only 2 and 3
  4. All of the above

See

Answer
Question 3. Which of the following provisions in the constitutions are outside the scope of Article 368 
and can be amended by simple majority of the two houses?
  1. Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states.
  2. Delimitation of constituencies.
  3. Extent of executive power of the union and the states

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. Only 2
  2. Only 1 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 2
  4. All of the above

See

Answer

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. The Meghalaya High Court has recently asked the Centre to bring in a law to let people of religious and ethnic minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan be given citizenship without any cut-off year or any questions asked. In this context critically analyse the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. (250 words; 15 Marks)
  2. The farm loan waiver undermines honest credit culture and discipline. It endangers moral hazard and entails transfer from taxpayers. Hence alternative to blanket waivers need to be explored and adapted. Discuss. (250 words; 15 Marks)

See previous CNA

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