UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis Nov16

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
GOVERNANCE
1. SC pulls up States for not recruiting judges
2. There can’t be a ban on use of word ‘Dalit’ in media: PCI
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. PM favours inclusive Indo-Pacific region
2. Vietnam opposes military alliances in region: envoy
3. India, China agree to expand military ties
C. GS3 Related
ECONOMY
1. Fitch retains rating for India at ‘BBB-’
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. ‘Super-Earth’ found orbiting Sun’s nearest single star
2. Ice age crater discovered beneath Greenland glacier
D. GS4 Related
E. Editorials
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
1. Searching for an elusive peace
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. ‘Super-Earth’ found orbiting Sun’s nearest single star
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
1. When judges legislate
F. Tidbits
1. Himachal CM flags off 'Startup Yatra'
2. 4 Indian authors shortlisted for DSC Prize
G. Prelims Fact
1. FAME India Scheme
H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: GOVERNANCE

1. SC pulls up States for not recruiting judges

Context:

CJI-led Bench took note of over 5,000 vacancies in subordinate judiciary

Details:

  • The SC pulled up various State governments and the administrative side of the High Courts for delay in filling vacancies in subordinate judicial services.
  • A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi reprimanded particularly Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Delhi for their inefficiency and inordinate delay in filling up vacancies of judges in high courts and subordinate courts.

Issue:

  • It found that the source of the problem lay in poor infrastructure, from courtrooms to residences for judges.
  • Sheer lackadaisical approach to conducting the appointment process on time is another reason.
  • Systemic defects in the appointment process most certainly contributed to vacancies in the lower judiciary.

Concerns:

  • A first-of-its-kind study by Delhi-based Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has found that most States and their High Courts do not adhere to the schedule laid down by the Supreme Court for filling up judicial vacancies. 
  • Shortage of Judicial institutions and Judges ultimately increases the time of trial. 
  • Existence of a large number of pending cases hampers the ability of judges to deal with fresh cases.
  • Existing strength of judges in the lower judiciary is wholly inadequate for the kind of workload that is constantly flowing in for disposal by the courts.

Way Forward:

  • There is a pressing need to analyse the systemic challenges that prevent vacancies in the lower judiciary from being filled. This would involve asking questions about the fairness of recruitment processes, adequacy of incentive structures, and the culture of legal education and profession in the country.
  • Efforts should be laid on strengthening the infrastructure.
  • There has to be a centralised selection mechanism for appointment of judicial officers in subordinate judiciary. It would make recruitment more efficient and transparent.
  • The average time taken for appointment of judges to the subordinate judiciary to fill in the vacancies must reduce.

2. There can’t be a ban on use of word ‘Dalit’ in media: PCI

Context:

The Press Council of India has ruled that there cannot be a complete ban on the use of word ‘Dalit’.

Background:

  • The debate over the appropriateness of using the term ‘Dalit’ to refer to members of the Scheduled Castes is far from new.
  • A decade ago, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes disfavoured the use of ‘Dalit’, which it felt was unconstitutional.
  • This is because belonging to a ‘Scheduled Caste’ is a legal status conferred on members of castes named in a list notified by the President under Article 341 of the Constitution. And arguably must be used in official documents and communications.
  • The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had issued an advisory to all media outlets to not use the word “Dalit” to refer to members belonging to the Scheduled Castes.
  • In its advisory, the I&B Ministry said: “It is accordingly advised that media may refrain from using the nomenclature “Dalit” while referring to members belonging to the Scheduled Caste in compliance with Bombay High Court..”
  • In an earlier order this year, the Ministry of Social Justice too had issued a similar advisory to all the State governments and Union Territories that in all official transactions, the constitutional term “Scheduled Caste” should be used instead of the word “Dalit”.

Details:

  • The PCI chairman said that “Our reading of the Bombay High Court order is that it did not seek a ban on the word ‘Dalit’. We deliberated on the order and have come to the conclusion that it is advisable not to issue directions/orders prohibiting the use of word ‘Dalit’,” 

Conclusion:

  • Arguably, ‘Scheduled Caste’ is the appropriate way to refer to this class of people in official communications and documents.
  • However, it is strange to oppose the use of the term ‘Dalit’ in the media and in non-official contexts — a nomenclature chosen and used by the community itself.
  • Doing so lends itself to the charge that there is an attempt to deny the powerful and emotive meaning of the word Dalit.
  • ‘Dalit’ must be recognised as an expression of self-empowerment. In the absence of a better word, Dalit has been the preferred word in the movements for justice for Dalits till now.
  • Nevertheless, it has to be adjudicated on case-to-case basis.

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. PM favours inclusive Indo-Pacific region

Context:

East Asia Summit 2018 is being held in Singapore. It is Prime Minister Modi’s 5th East Asia Summit (EAS). India has been participating in the EAS since its very inception in 2005.

Details:

  • Thoughts on enhancing multilateral cooperation, economic and cultural ties among member nations were shared at the EAS.
  • The PM also reiterated India’s vision of a peaceful, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, strengthening maritime cooperation and commitment to a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact

East Asia Summit:

The EAS consists of 10 ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the U.S. It was formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.

RCEP:

The RCEP, involving 10 ASEAN members as well as China, Japan, Australia, India, New Zealand and South Korea, would cover about half the world’s population and a third of its GDP. 

2. Vietnam opposes military alliances in region: envoy

Context:

  • Vietnam has an “ambivalent” position on the Quad grouping comprising India, Australia, Japan, and the U.S., Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau said. 
  • It was expressed that, while Vietnam welcomed any country’s initiative to preserve freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, it was opposed to any military alliance that could undermine regional peace and security.
  • It was asserted that Vietnam will not join any alliance in order to fight any third country.

Background:

  • In November last year, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending “Quad” Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence. 
  • The four countries agreed to partner with other countries and forums in the region to promote a free, open, rules-based and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific that fosters trust and confidence.
  • They committed to strengthening connectivity and quality infrastructure based on sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of all nations, as well as transparency, economic viability and financial responsibility.
  • The discussions focused on cooperation in areas such as connectivity, sustainable development, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and maritime and cybersecurity.
  • The move was seen as an effort to contain China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The US has been pushing for a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific which is seen by many countries as an effort to contain China’s growing clout in the region. 
  • India is known to be reluctant in giving military shape to “Quad”

Details:

  • India’s Stand:
    • According to a release from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi, the Quad countries agreed to “strengthening connectivity and quality infrastructure” in the region according to principles of sovereignty and economic viability.
    • While India and Japan are already cooperating on a number of projects in South Asia, which are seen as a counter to projects China is planning under the Belt and Road Initiative, there are as yet no ‘Quad’ level projects.
    • “They agreed to partner with other countries and forums in the region to promote a free, open, rules-based and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific that fosters trust and confidence,” the MEA said in the statement. That suggests that the Quadrilateral would not be an exclusive grouping on maritime security in the region
  • Differences in Singapore:
    • The Quad grouping met in Singapore. In a sign that the four countries continued to have differences on the objectives of the grouping, each of the four sides issued separate statements.
  • Priorities:
    • Vietnam’s major priorities in India would include helping establish a direct flight between the two countries.
    • Bringing Vietnam’s national television service to New Delhi
    • Clearing hurdles to improved bilateral trade especially in certain fruits.

3. India, China agree to expand military ties

Context:

India and China are set to expand their military ties, in tune with the spirit of the Wuhan informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April.

Details:

  • For the first time, cadets from Indian and Chinese military academies, as well mid-level officers, will meet each other regularly. 
  • There would be continued visits at the level of military commands and civilian officers of the Ministry of Defence.
  • The talks reflected the visible and gradual easing of tensions following the Doklam crisis and the Wuhan informal summit.
  • A decision also has been taken to add new confidence-building measures to maintain peace and tranquillity on the borders
  • The two sides stressed the need to “further strengthen military-to-military ties in order to strengthen political and strategic mutual trust between the two countries
  • The statement pointed out that the two delegations forked a timetable on “specific defence exchanges for 2019”.
  • The sources confirmed that the regular hand-in-hand joint military exercise between India and China will be held before the year-end.

How will this move impact India-China relations?

  • The move is a bid to strengthen communication between both the armies.
  • Reciprocal high-level visits and joint training exercises for the military – two of the world’s largest – will also be enhanced.
  • It will help strengthen political and strategic mutual trust.
  • It is the first step to maintaining peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas. And also in improving bilateral defence ties post the Doklam standoff.

In order to continue to strengthen the ties, both the countries should establish a regular border meeting mechanism for the generals of the respective theatre commands.

C. GS3 Related

Category: ECONOMY

1. Fitch retains rating for India at ‘BBB-’

Context:

Fitch Ratings has retained India’s sovereign rating at ‘BBB-‘

Details:

  • ‘BBB-‘ is the lowest investment grade rating with a stable outlook.
  • Fitch has Refused to upgrade India’s credit rating for the 12th year in a row.
  • Stating a weak fiscal position continues to constrain the ratings and there were significant risks to macroeconomic outlook. 

What does the rating say?

  • The rating, said, “it balances a strong medium-term growth outlook and favourable external balances relative to peers with weak fiscal finances, a fragile financial sector and some lagging structural factors
  • Risks to the macroeconomic outlook are significant, and include a drop in credit growth, resulting from further problems in the banking or shadow-banking sector.
  • Risks to the macroeconomic outlook are significant, and include a drop in credit growth, resulting from further problems in the banking or shadow-banking sector.
  • A weak fiscal position continues to constrain India’s sovereign ratings.
  • Government debt at close to 70 per cent of GDP, a difficulty to meet deficit target of 3.3 per cent of GDP in the current financial year (2018-19) due to lower revenues including from GST in first half, and expenditures being difficult to control in the run-up to general elections were main reasons for the weak fiscal position.
  • The Indian economy continues to exhibit some structural weaknesses relative to peers and is less developed on a number of metrics.
  • Governance standards continue to be weak, as illustrated by a low score for the World Bank governance indicator (47th percentile versus the ‘BBB’ median of 59th percentile). India’s ranking on the United Nations Human Development Index (31st percentile versus the ‘BBB’ median of 68th percentile) also indicates relatively low basic human development
  • It listed recent defaults by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services and some public-sector banks to highlight risks in a sector that in recent years supplied around a third of total credit growth.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. ‘Super-Earth’ found orbiting Sun’s nearest single star

Context:

Astronomers have discovered a frozen planet with a mass over three times that of the Earth, orbiting the closest solitary star to the Sun.

Details:

  • The potentially rocky planet, known as Barnard’s star b, is a ‘super-Earth’ and orbits around its host star once every 233 days.
  • The planet lies at a distant region from the star known as the ‘snow line’ This is well beyond the habitable zone in which liquid water, and possibly life, could exist, researchers said.
  • The planet’s surface temperature is estimated to be around -170°C. However, if the planet has a substantial atmosphere the temperature could be higher and conditions potentially more hospitable.

Barnard’s star:

  • Barnard’s star is an infamous object among astronomers and exoplanet scientists, as it was one of the first stars where planets were initially claimed but later proven to be incorrect.
  • At nearly six light-years away Barnard’s star is the next closest star to the Sun after the Alpha Centauri triple system.
  • It is a type of faint, low-mass star called a red dwarf. Red dwarfs are considered to be the best places to look for exoplanet candidates, which are planets outside our solar system. 
  • Barnard’s star b is the second closest known exoplanet to our Sun. The closest lies just over four light-years from Earth. That exoplanet, Proxima b, orbits around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.
  • The researchers used the radial velocity method during the observations that led to the discovery of Barnard’s star b. This technique detects wobbles in a star which are likely to be caused by the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet. These wobbles affect the light coming from the star.

2. Ice age crater discovered beneath Greenland glacier

Context:

Scientists have uncovered an asteroid impact crater, bigger than the area of Paris, buried beneath a kilometre of snow and ice in northern Greenland.

Details:

  • This is the first time that a crater of any size has been found under one of Earth’s continental ice sheets.
  • The crater measures more than 31 km in diameter, placing it among the 25 largest impact craters on Earth
  • It was formed when a kilometre-wide iron meteorite smashed into northern Greenland.
  • The finding suggests that a giant iron asteroid smashed into what is today a glacier during the last ice age, an era known as the Pleistocene Epoch that started 2.6 million years ago.
  • The discovery could lead to insights into the ice age climate, and the effects on it from the eruption of debris that would have resulted from such a cataclysmic collision.

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Searching for an elusive peace

(India and the Neighbourhood; India- Afghanistan Relations)

The News:

  • Last week, Russia had hosted a regional conference on Afghanistan to nudge the reconciliation process between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities.
  • In this regional conference, the Taliban were represented by the political council chief, Sher Mohammad Stanikzai.
  • Representatives from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, the U.S. and India were also present at the meeting, making it the first time that all stakeholders were present in the same room.

Editorial Analysis:

Background of the Meeting:

  • It is important to note that considerable political manoeuvring preceded the meeting.
    It was earlier planned for September, 2018 but failed to materialise.
    The Taliban were initially opposed to attending since the Afghan government insisted on co-chairing the meeting.
  • The diplomatic solution was to have Afghanistan represented by the High Peace Council (HPC), set up and supported by the government with the specific aim of furthering peace talks, though formally not part of government.
  • India sent two seasoned former diplomats, with the Ministry of External Affairs describing its participation as “non-official”.
  • The U.S. was represented by its Moscow embassy officials.
  • Aware of the differences, the Russians refrained from attempting a final statement or even a group photograph. Nevertheless, with this meeting, Russia has sent a clear signal that it is back in the game in Afghanistan.

A Historical Note on the involvement of the Taliban:

    • The idea of reconciliation with the Taliban has been around for over a decade.
    • From a historical perspective, as the Taliban insurgency grew 2005 onwards, the British, deployed in Helmand, soon found merit in doing side deals with local Taliban commanders by turning a blind eye to opium production in the area.
    • Further, with the help of the Germans and the Norwegians, they began to persuade the U.S. to work for a political outcome.
  • After being elected in 2008, President Barack Obama ordered a full-scale review of the U.S.’s Afghanistan policy.
  • After extracting an assurance from the generals that the insurgency would be defeated in 18 months, Mr. Obama announced a shift to counter-insurgency mode with a surge of over 40,000 troops, but added that phased drawdown of troops would begin in end-2011.
  • Operation Enduring Freedom formally ended in December 2014, handing over primary responsibility for combat operations to the Afghan security forces even as the insurgency gained ground.

A Note on Operation Enduring Freedom:

  1. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) was the official name used by the U.S. government for the Global War on Terrorism. On October 7, 2001, in response to the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush announced that airstrikes targeting Al Qaeda and the Taliban had begun in Afghanistan.
  2. Operation Enduring Freedom primarily refers to the War in Afghanistan, but it is also affiliated with counterterrorism operations in other countries, such as OEF-Philippines and OEF-Trans Sahara.
  3. After 13 years, on December 28, 2014, President Barack Obama announced the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Continued operations in Afghanistan by the United States’ military forces, both non-combat and combat, now occur under the name Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
    • Later, the U.S. soon realised that insurgency could not be contained as long as sanctuaries existed in Pakistan. They also realised that its carrot and stick policy with Pakistan had cost the U.S. $33 billion but failed to change Pakistan’s policy.
    • A total cut-off was not possible as long as U.S. troops in Afghanistan depended on supply lines through Pakistan.
  • Crucially, in 12 years, the U.S. had lost 2,300 soldiers and spent $105 billion in rebuilding Afghanistan, more than $103 billion (in inflation-adjusted terms) spent under the Marshall Plan on rebuilding West Europe after World War II.
  • Finally, war weariness demanded an exit and a political solution was unavoidable.

Growing Visibility of the Taliban:

A Look at the sequence of events:

  1. It is important to note that after prolonged negotiations, a Taliban office opened in Doha in June 2013 to promote talks and a peace process.
  2. However, when the office started flying the Taliban flag, calling itself the political bureau of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, it angered both the U.S. and Afghan governments.
  3. The office was closed down though the Qatar authorities continue to host Taliban leaders.
  • Further, coming to power in 2014 after a bitterly contested election, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani moved to improve relations with Pakistan.
  • He had even called on the then Army Chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, at the GHQ, to push for reconciliation.
    Preliminary talks were held in Murree but derailed in July 2015 when Mr. Ghani asked for a supportive audio/video (instead of a written statement) by Taliban leader Mullah Omar and learnt that he had died over two years earlier.
  • It is also important to note that an internal power struggle within the Taliban erupted with Mullah Akhtar Mansour emerging as the leader.
  • Insurgency grew with the Taliban briefly taking over Kunduz and Ghormach districts and threatening Ghazni. Mr. Ghani felt betrayed and lashed out, accusing Pakistan of “waging war”.

Quadrilateral Coordination Group:

  • The Quadrilateral Coordination Group is a new initiative involving the U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This was launched in January 2016.
  • After a couple of meetings, there was a roadmap; Pakistan was to use its influence to get the Taliban to the negotiating table.
  • Hopes were dashed when the Taliban demanded exit of foreign troops, release of detainees from Guantanamo, and removal of its leaders from international blacklists. Frustrated with Pakistan’s inability to get Mullah Mansour to fall in line, the U.S. eliminated him in a drone strike in May 2016 in Balochistan. Maulvi Haibatullah was appointed as his successor.

Concluding Remarks

  • Mr. Ghani launched the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation, and in February, 2018 made an unconditional dialogue offer to the Taliban.
  • The Taliban rejected his overture, declaring that they were ready to engage in direct talks only with the Americans.
  • Mr. Ghani persisted, resulting in a three-day ceasefire during Eid.
  • In conclusion, it is important to note that today, the Afghan government controls barely half the country, with one-sixth under Taliban control and the rest contested.
  • However, most significant is the ongoing depletion in the Afghan security forces because of casualties, desertions and a growing reluctance to join.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump’s South Asia policy announced last August aimed at breaking the military stalemate by expanding the U.S. and NATO presence, putting Pakistan on notice and strengthening Afghan capabilities has clearly failed. Experts believe that it is because of this failure that multiple processes are underway.
  • Finally, everyone agrees that the war has to end; the question for the U.S. is how to manage the optics of the exit while not conceding victory to the Taliban.
  • Lastly, since, July 2011, when the former President and Chair of the HPC, Burhanuddin Rabbani, visited Delhi, India has supported an ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned’ peace process. Last month, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s India visit, both countries expressed their commitment to the Moscow Format.
  • India doesn’t have the leverage to play spoiler but its presence is recognition that its economic cooperation programmes make it the most widely accepted development partner.
  • It is important to note that pragmatism dictates that India remains engaged with the multiple processes underway. Peace remains elusive but India’s engagement demonstrates commitment to the idea of a stable, independent and peaceful Afghanistan.

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Another orbit(ISRO, GSAT29)

The News:

    • In a recent development, the Indian Space Research Organisation has marked a big milestone by successfully testing its heavy-lift launcher while launching an advanced communication satellite.
  • It plans to use this for the Chandrayaan-II moon mission in the early months of 2019.

Editorial Analysis:

A Look at Some Specifics:

  • From a historical perspective, the first successful experimental flight of the GSLV MkIII was in 2014 when it carried a dummy crew module as a payload. This proved its capacity in the atmospheric flight regime. Its first developmental flight was on June 5, 2017, when it launched GSAT19, weighing 3,136 kg.
  • On 14th November, 2018, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII) launched GSAT29, which is an advanced communications satellite, into a geosynchronous transfer orbit where the satellite’s closest approach to earth would be 190 km and the farthest 35,975 km.
  • The launcher bearing the 3,423 kg satellite took off from a launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.
  • Seventeen minutes after the launch, after various stages, the vehicle injected the satellite into the transfer orbit.
  • Taking over smoothly, ISRO’s master control facility at Hassan assumed the command and control of the satellite, and it will be manoeuvred into a geostationary orbit, its final destination, in days. Once placed, the satellite’s solar panels and antennae will unfold and work will begin.
  • With a liftoff mass of 640 tonnes, the GSLV MkIII is the heaviest launch vehicle made in India, and GSAT29 is the heaviest satellite to take off from Indian soil. Both launcher and satellite have other characteristics that make them stand out. The launcher can carry payloads up to 4 tonnes to the geosynchronous transfer orbit and up to 10 tonnes to a low-earth orbit. The multi-band, multi-beam satellite can cater to the communication needs of people in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.
    • GSLV Mk III is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Two massive boosters with solid propellant constitute the first stage, the core with liquid propellant form the second stage and the cryogenic engine completes the final stage.
  • GSAT-29 is a multiband, multi-beam communication satellite, intended to serve as test bed for several new and critical technologies. Its Ku-band and Ka-band payloads are configured to cater to the communication requirements of users including those from remote areas especially from Jammu & Kashmir and North-Eastern regions of India.
  • In addition, the Q/V-Band communication payload onboard is intended to demonstrate the future high throughput satellite system technologies. Geo High Resolution Camera will carry out high resolution imaging. Optical Communication Payload will demonstrate data transmission at a very high rate through optical communication link.
  • After the successful launch, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said: “India has achieved significant milestone with our heaviest launcher lifting off the heaviest satellite from the Indian soil. The launch vehicle has precisely placed the satellite in its intended orbit. I congratulate entire ISRO team for this achievement.”
  • Declaring GSLV MKIII operational, Dr Sivan announced that Chandrayaan-2 and Gaganyaan missions will be launched by this heavy-lifter.
  • Experts believe that the GSAT-29 will help to bridge the digital divide.
  • Lastly, it is important to note that the success of GSLV MkIII-D2 marks an important milestone in Indian space programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites. The success of this flight also signifies the completion of the experimental phase of GSLV Mark III.

Concluding Remarks

  • In conclusion, the present launch marked the second developmental flight of the MkIII.
  • With these two successes, the launcher is declared ‘operational’ and joins the ranks of the working vehicles, the PSLV and the GSLV.
  • It is important to note that this is far fewer than the number of developmental flights the older launch vehicles were subjected to. This is because the solid and liquid propellant stages had been tested before. The third cryogenic stage could establish its performance in just two developmental flights.
  • Obviously these were preceded by numerous experimental flights and ground-based tests.
  • Lastly, this success sets the stage for trying out variations such as other types of engines, different fuel combinations and higher launch capacity. The GSLV MkIII has not just boosted the satellite into its orbit, but also restored morale at ISRO, which had been dented by the GSAT 6A setback.

Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

1. When judges legislate

The News:

There have been many recent judgments, where the Supreme Court has become hyper-activist in making laws. However, having said this, an important question that arises is: can judges legislate?

Editorial Analysis:

A Look at Some Specifics:

  • Experts point out that this question has already been answered in the past by the court.
    • As a matter of fact, in the Ram Jawaya v. The State of Punjab (1955) case, the court observed: “Our Constitution does not contemplate assumption, by one organ or part of the state, of functions that essentially belong to another.”
    • This implies that there should be a broad separation of powers in the Constitution of the three organs of the state, and that one organ should not encroach into the domain of another.
    • If one organ encroaches into the domain of another, the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset and there will be chaos.
  • It is important to note that making laws is the function of the legislature.
  • As observed in Union of India v. Deoki Nandan Aggarwal (1991), “The power to legislate has not been conferred on the courts.” In Suresh Seth v. Commissioner, Indore Municipal Corporation (2005), the court observed: “Under our Constitutional scheme, Parliament and Legislative Assemblies exercise sovereign power to enact laws.”
  • Experts ask an important question: Is judicial discipline being observed?

The following section will examine some recent decisions of the court:

  1. Firstly, in Arun Gopal v. Union of India (2017), the Supreme Court fixed timings for bursting Diwali fireworks and prohibited the use of non-green fireworks, although there are no laws to that effect.
  2. Secondly, in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (2018), the court annulled the statutory Rule 115(21) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, when it directed that no BS-4 vehicle should be sold after March 30, 2020, and that only BS-6 vehicles can be sold after that date.
  3. Thirdly, in Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra (2018), the court amended the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, by annulling Section 18 which said that no anticipatory bail will be granted to persons accused under the Act; by requiring a preliminary enquiry; and by prohibiting arrest under the Act except with permission in writing by the appropriate authority.
  4. Fourthly, in Rajesh Sharma v. The State of Uttar Pradesh (2017), the court felt that Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code was being misused. So it amended that Section by requiring complaints under that provision to be sent to a Family Welfare Committee constituted by the District Legal Services Authority, although there is no such requirement in Section 498A.
  5. Lastly, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered that no 15-year-old petrol-driven or 10-year-old diesel-driven vehicle will ply in Delhi, and the Supreme Court has directed impounding such vehicles, though neither the NGT nor the Supreme Court are legislative bodies.

In conclusion, it is important to note that if judges are free to make laws of their choices, not only would that go against the principle of separation of powers, it could also lead to uncertainty in the law and chaos as every judge will start drafting his own laws according to his whims and fancies.

F. Tidbits

1. Himachal CM flags off ‘Startup Yatra’

 

  • Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur flagged off a “Startup Yatra”.
  • The programme is aimed at turning the State’s educated youth into job providers from jobseekers.
  • The State government, under Startup Yatra would provide all possible help to the youth to develop entrepreneurship under the scheme.

2. 4 Indian authors shortlisted for DSC Prize

 

  • Four Indian authors and two authors of Pakistani origin have made it to the shortlist of the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2018.
  • Founded in 2010 by Surina Narula and Manhad Narula, the DSC Prize has helped raise the profile of South Asian writing.
  • Now in its eighth year, the DSC Prize is an international literary award focussed on South Asian fiction writing.
  • The prize received submissions also from publishers based in the U.K., the U.S., Canada, and Australia, highlighting the growing interest in South Asian writing.

G. Prelims Fact

1. FAME India Scheme

 

  • FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) subsidy.
  • The subsidy is given to electric scooters, three-wheelers and electric and hybrid cars.
  • The FAME India Scheme was implemented with effect from 1st of April 2015.
  • The objective of the scheme is to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and Manufacturing eco-system. The scheme has 4 focus areas i.e. Technology development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure. 
  • The FAME India Scheme is aimed at incentivising all vehicle segments i.e. 2 Wheeler, 3 Wheeler Auto, Passenger 4 Wheeler Vehicle, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses.
  • The scheme covers Hybrid & Electric technologies like Mild Hybrid, Strong Hybrid, Plug in Hybrid & Battery Electric Vehicles.

H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. With reference to the Anti-microbial resistance, consider the following statements:
  1. Antimicrobial resistance, which is also referred to as drug resistance, results in formation of Super bugs.
  2. It happens when microorganisms change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs used to treat the infections they cause.
  3. India is home to several drug-resistant bugs which are spreading fast and have been noticed even in the operation theatres and intensive care units (ICUs) of several well-regarded hospitals

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

See

Answer
Question 2. Consider the following statements:
  1. Devaluation and Depreciation refer to reduction in the value of domestic currency.
  2. Both are performed by the Government or Central Bank.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

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

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements with regard to Biosphere:
  1. Biosphere includes both biotic and abiotic components that are present in the lithosphere, hydrosphere and the atmosphere.
  2. In a biosphere there are established pathways for movement of energy and matter.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. According to the wetland distribution map of India, which of the following regions is 
considered as the largest wetland system in India?
  1. Himalayan wetlands
  2. Indo-Gangetic wetlands
  3. Coastal wetlands
  4. Deccan wetlands

See

Answer

I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam

  1. The existence of a large number of pending cases hampers the ability of judges to deal with fresh cases. Suggest some measures to deal with the pendency of cases in the judiciary.
  2. Discuss the role played by India in the peace process of Afghanistan. How different is India’s contribution from other countries involved in the peace process?

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

 

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