24 Jun 2024: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

24 June 2024 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. What are the duties of a Speaker?
C. GS 3 Related
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. Limit and excess
1. Indian Railways and safety challenges
F. Prelims Facts
1. Pushpak, ISRO’s reusable launch vehicle, clears test
2. Censor board thwarts Monkey Man release even after global cuts
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Syllabus: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business

Mains: Speaker’s function and way to make office politically neutral

Context: The President has appointed Bhartruhari Mahtab as Speaker pro tem of the 18th Lok Sabha. 

Duties and Roles of the Speaker:

    • Certifies a Bill as a Money Bill.
    • Decides on disqualification under the Tenth Schedule for defection.
    • Conducts the business of the House.
    • Refers Bills to Standing Committees.
    • Suspends members for grave disorder up to a maximum of five days.
  • Concerns:
    • Favouring the ruling dispensation.
    • The decline in the referral of Bills to committees.
    • Large-scale suspensions of Opposition MPs affecting parliamentary function.

Speaker pro tem:

    • Definition: ‘Pro tem’ means ‘for the time being’ or ‘temporary.’
    • Constitutional Basis: Appointed by the President under Article 95(1) of the Constitution when both Speaker and Deputy Speaker positions are vacant.
    • Ensures Continuity: Ensures the office of the Speaker is never left vacant (Article 94).
  • Duties:
    • Administers the oath of office to MPs.
    • Presides over the election of the full-time Speaker.
  • Current Appointment: Bhartruhari Mahtab for the 18th Lok Sabha.

Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker:

    • Article 93: Mandates the Lok Sabha to elect its Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
    • President’s Role: Fixes the date for the Speaker’s election.
    • Speaker’s Role: Fixes the date for the Deputy Speaker’s election.
  • Historical Practice:
    • All Speakers in independent India have been elected unopposed.
    • The Deputy Speaker post was offered to the Opposition since 1991, but not followed in the 17th Lok Sabha.

Preservation of Impartiality:

    • British Practice: Speaker resigns from their political party upon election to maintain impartiality.
  • Indian Context:
      • The tenth Schedule allows for resignation from the political party, but no Speaker has done so.
      • Resignation from the political party could demonstrate independence.
  • Deputy Speaker Post:
    • Traditionally given to the Opposition.
    • Practice should return in the current Lok Sabha to ensure balanced representation and impartiality.


Nut Graf: The President appointed Bhartruhari Mahtab as Speaker pro tem of the 18th Lok Sabha, ensuring continuity until the full-time Speaker is elected on June 26. The Deputy Speaker post, traditionally held by the Opposition, may be offered to an NDA ally.


1. Limit and excess

Syllabus: Separation of Powers between various organs

Mains: Reservation vs Judicial Review

Introduction: Striking Down Enhanced Quotas

  • The Patna High Court invalidated the Bihar government’s decision to increase reservations for various communities in employment and education.
  • The quotas for Backward Classes (BC) were raised from 12% to 18%, Extremely Backward Communities (EBC) from 18% to 25%, Scheduled Castes from 16% to 20%, and Scheduled Tribes from 1% to 2%.
  • This increase took the total reservation level to 65%.

Judicial Precedents and Quota Ceiling:

  • The court applied judicial precedents that enforced a 50% ceiling on total reservations.
  • The verdict follows the principles set out in the Indra Sawhney case (1992), which clarified that adequate representation does not equate to proportionate representation.
  • The court ruled that exceeding the 50% limit is unconstitutional, invalidating the Bihar government’s attempt to align quotas with caste-wise population numbers.

Special Circumstances and Quota Ceiling:

  • The court rejected Bihar’s argument that special circumstances justified exceeding the 50% ceiling.
  • Indra Sawhney allowed for the ceiling to be exceeded in “extraordinary situations,” such as populations in remote areas.
  • The court did not consider Bihar’s backwardness in human and social development as a valid reason to exceed the quota limit.

Need for Comprehensive Study:

  • The court found merit in the argument that there was no in-depth study before implementing the enhanced reservation.
  • Questions were raised about the exhaustiveness of the caste survey that provided population and economic condition data.
  • While there may be a need to reassess the BC or EBC list, denying attempts to enhance representation due to exceeding the quota ceiling might be unjust.

Nut Graf: The Patna High Court invalidated Bihar’s increased reservation quotas, citing the 50% ceiling rule. The court dismissed the state’s special circumstances argument and emphasised the need for comprehensive studies before such policy changes, highlighting tensions between social justice and constitutional limits.


1. Indian Railways and safety challenges

Syllabus: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc

Mains: How to contain Train accidents?

Recent Train Accident and Immediate Concerns:

  • Incident Overview: A high-speed GFCJ container train collided with the 13174 Agartala-Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express, resulting in 11 deaths and approximately 40 injuries.
  • Safety Record: Despite improvements due to measures like closing unmanned level crossings and enhanced track maintenance, a zero-fatality goal remains achievable and necessary.
  • Government Investment: The Union government’s significant allocation of nearly 25% of its total capital expenditure to railways ensures that funding for all safety measures is available.

Inquiry and Accountability:

  • Statutory Inquiry: The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is conducting an inquiry to determine the cause and responsibility for the accident.
  • Preliminary Findings: Initial blame is likely to fall on the crew of the GFCJ train, the station master, and possibly the signal maintainer for ignoring Automatic Signal protocol.
  • Pattern of Blame: Lower-level functionaries are often blamed in serious accidents, continuing a repetitive pattern.

Information Management and Communication:

  • Premature Statements: The Chairperson of the Railway Board prematurely blamed the container train crew and incorrectly stated that both crew members had died, although the assistant loco pilot survived.
  • Slow Rollout of Kavach: The Indigenous signalling system, Kavach, faces slow implementation due to limited industrial capacity. Indian Railways needs to foster industry capacity building for faster implementation.

System Implementation and Safety Protocols:

  • Kavach vs. ETCS Level II: Indian Railways chose Kavach over the European ETCS Level II after trials, but implementation has been slow, with missed targets on key routes.
  • Recommendations: The CRS report on the Vizianagaram train accident emphasised the urgent need for Kavach in Automatic Signalling territories and suggested faster installation in locomotives and trains.
  • Protocol Ambiguities: Differing views on protocols during Automatic signal failures highlight poorly drafted rules, criticised by the CRS report.

Staffing and Managerial Issues:

  • Overstaffing vs. Critical Vacancies: Indian Railways is overstaffed but has critical vacancies in safety-sensitive roles, leading to stress and overwork among existing staff.
  • Recruitment Issues: Despite nearly 20,000 vacancies for loco pilot/assistant loco pilot positions, only 5,658 heads were initially recruited, later revised to 18,799 after the accident.
  • Managerial Oversight: If frequent near misses are identified in the affected section, it would indicate a severe management failure.

Future Directions and Technological Integration:

  • AI-Enabled Applications: Utilizing AI to manage extensive digital data from station data loggers and locomotive microprocessors can improve safety post mortems and provide actionable alerts.
  • Managerial Focus: The enquiry report should delve into managerial issues to chart a clear path toward safe, accident-free Indian Railways.


Nut Graf: The recent tragic train accident underscores persistent safety challenges in Indian Railways, highlighting the need for zero-fatality goals, accelerated implementation of safety systems like Kavach, and addressing critical staffing and managerial issues to prevent future incidents.

F. Prelims Facts

1. Pushpak, ISRO’s reusable launch vehicle, clears test

Final Test Achievement:

  • ISRO completed the third and final reusable launch vehicle landing experiment (RLV LEX) at the Aeronautical Test Range in Chitradurga, Karnataka.
  • The test was conducted at 7.10 a.m. on Sunday.

Mission Details:

  • Pushpak, ISRO’s winged vehicle, was released from an Indian Air Force Chinook helicopter at an altitude of 4.5 km.
  • Pushpak executed cross-range correction manoeuvres, approached the runway, and performed a precise horizontal landing at the runway centre line.
  • Landing velocity exceeded 320 kmph, with a reduction to nearly 100 kmph using a brake parachute and landing gear brakes.

Technological Validation:

  • The mission simulated high-speed landing conditions for a vehicle returning from space, validating critical technologies for an RLV.
  • The advanced guidance algorithm for longitudinal and lateral plane error corrections was validated.
  • LEX-03 reused the winged body and flight systems from LEX-02 without modification, demonstrating ISRO’s robust design and reuse capabilities.
  • Sensors used included an inertial sensor, radar altimeter, flush air data system, and NavIC.

Leadership and Future Confidence: ISRO Chairman S. Somanath and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director S. Unnikrishnan Nair praised the team, highlighting the boost in confidence for future orbital re-entry missions

2. Censor board thwarts Monkey Man release even after global cuts

Censor Board Delays Release:

  • The Dev Patel-directed revenge drama, Monkey Man, set in a dystopian India, has not been released in the country.
  • The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has not scheduled a screening for its advisory panel, effectively stalling its release.

Global Cuts and Changes:

  • Universal Studios made changes to the original cut, removing scenes highlighting the nexus between religion and politics.
  • The globally released version, which came out on April 5, has these scenes cut and the colour of political banners changed from saffron to red.
  • Despite these changes, the film remains unscheduled for screening in India.


CBFC’s Inaction:

  • The Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, require a film to be referred to the Examining Committee within five days, a deadline that passed in May.
  • The CBFC declined to provide details about the film’s examination process, citing confidentiality under the Right to Information Act.
  • Warner Bros Pictures India, the distributor for Universal Pictures in the country, also declined to comment.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1.Consider the following statements:
  1. Article 94 of the Indian Constitution states that the Speaker of the Lok Sabha shall not vacate his/her office until immediately before the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after its dissolution.
  2. The Deputy Speaker is an important constitutional officer who steps in during the vacancy or absence of the Speaker.

 Which of these statements is/are incorrect?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Answer: d

Explanation: Both the statements are correct.

Q2.Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS)is often seen in news in the
affairs of which of these two countries:

(a) India and UK

(b) India and Russia

(c) India and USA

(d) India and Australia


Answer: b

Explanation:RELOS is a crucial agreement between India and Russia. It is a long-awaited administrative agreement that would enable the militaries of both the countries to access logistics and support facilities at each other’s bases and ports

Q3.Consider the following statements:
  1. The population census is a Union subject under Article 246 of India Constitution.
  2. The last census conducted in India was in 2020

Which of these statements is/are incorrect?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Answer: b

Explanation: The last census conducted in India was in 2011.

Q4. ‘KAVACH’ often seen in news is:

(a) India’s own automatic train protection system.

(b) Space Based Augmentation System (SBAS) developed by ISRO.

(c) National geo-portal comprising geospatial data, services, and tools for analysis.

(d) IRDAI’s portal to make insurance activities hassle free


Answer: a

Explanation: Kavach is India’s own automatic train protection system.

Q5.‘Pushpak’ recently seen in news is:

(a) A data repository for all the meteorological missions of ISRO

(b) Independent regional navigation satellite system

(c) The deep ocean submersible being used for Samudrayaan 

(d) India’s futuristing reusable launch vehicle


Answer: d

Explanation:Pushpak, dubbed the “swadeshi space shuttle” is India’s futuristic Reusable Launch Vehicle


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