Expected Most Important Topics for UPSC - 2018 (Part - 24) (Download PDF)


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FoSCoRIS – FSSAI launches online platform: To bring in transparency in food safety inspection and sampling, food regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has put in place a nationwide online platform called ‘FoSCoRIS’.

  • It has asked states to adopt this system as it would help eliminate discrepancy and make food safety officers accountable.

  • Helps to verify compliance of food safety and hygiene standards by food businesses as per government norms.

  • System will ease out the process of sample collection, make it transparent and traceable and controls quality of compliance.

Assam Forms ‘State Capital Region’ Around Guwahati

  • In line with the National Capital Region, Assam will have a State Capital Region encompassing Guwahati.

  • Its peripheral areas with passing of a bill in state Assembly.

  • Recently, assembly passed Assam State Capital Region Development Authority (ASCRDA) Bill 2017 to set up regional authority for preparation of a plan for rapid development of SCR.

  • ASCRDA will be the overall authority to direct, implement and monitor development of SCR.

Whip in Parliament

  • Recently, issuing of whip by political parties on multiple issues has been questioned.

  • Every Political Party has its own whip, who is appointed by the party to serve as an assistant floor leader.

  • He regulates and monitors their behaviour in the Parliament.

  • Office of Whip: In India, is mentioned neither in the Constitution nor in the rules of the house, nor in the Parliamentary statutes.

  • In India, concept of the whip was inherited from colonial British rule.

Representation of the People Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017

  • Private member’s bill proposes MPs also declare assets after term ends.

  • Bill for parliamentarians to declare their assets at the end of their tenure has been proposed.

  • Bill will be presented in the winter session of Parliament this year.

  • This bill aims to ensure accountability and transparency.

  • Bill proposes that Members of Parliament declare their assets within 90 days after their tenure ends.

Hybrid Electoral System

  • Various political parties told a Parliamentary panel that the existing first - past – the-post-system needs to be replaced with a hybrid format.

  • A hybrid/mixed system refer to an electoral system.

  • In which, 2 systems are merged into one combining positive features from more than 1 electoral system.

  • In mixed system, there are 2 electoral systems using different formulae running alongside each other.

  • Votes are cast by the same voters and contribute to the election of representatives under both systems.

  • There are two forms of mixed system: Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system and Parallel system.

Women’s Reservation Bill

  • The centre is planning to introduce the Women’s Reservation Bill in the upcoming session of the parliament.

Highlights of Bill:

  • Constitution (One Hundred and Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2008.

  • Allocation of reserved seats determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament.

  • Total reservation: 1/3rd of the total number of seats reserved for SC/ST shall be reserved for women of those groups in Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies.

  • Rotation: Reserved seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in the state/UT.

Contribution of the Cooperative Sector in Indian Society

  • Prime Minister talked about importance and contribution of Cooperative Sector in Indian society.

  • Cooperative Movement in India is one of the biggest cooperative movements in the World.

  • Over 8 Lakh Cooperative Societies in India.

  • A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs.

  • Aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

Tonga Race

  • HC rejects plea to restart Tonga race in Nagaur.

  • Court says event involves cruelty towards horses.

  • Rajasthan High Court dismissed State government’s petition seeking modification of its January 2016 order banning the controversial Tonga race.

  • Tonga race would be held every year in the Jatdominated Nagaur region.

  • The race formed a part of fairs dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Tejaji.

What is Leninism and Marxism? What Was October Revolution? Who is Vladimir Lenin?

  • Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov or Lenin was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist.

  • He served as head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924.

  • Under his administration, Russia and then the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state, governed by the Russian Communist Party.

  • Ideologically a Marxist, he developed political theories known as Leninism.

Union Government Launches E-Sansad and E-Vidhan in Parliament and State

  • Union Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA) proposed e-Sansad in Parliament and e-Vidhan in State Legislatures to digitize and make their functioning paperless.

  • They are environment-friendly initiatives in line with Go Green initiative of the government.

  • E-Sansad and E-Vidhan Mission: Mission made projects of Union Government under Digital India to make the functioning of Parliament and State Legislatures paperless.

What Are the Tests to Determine “Office of Profit”? What is Office of Profit?

  • The Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs for holding an Office of Profit as parliamentary secretaries to the Ministers of the National Capital Territory.

  • President of India accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify the MLAs.

  • ECI examined the rich jurisprudence of office of profit and disqualification of a Member of Legislative Assembly and enlisted three determinative tests:

    • Test of pecuniary gain

    • Executive nature of office

    • Test of exercise of constitutional/executive powers while functioning as parliamentary secretary.

What is NRC? 1.9 Crore Legal Citizens in First National Register of Citizens Draft

  • Total of 1.9 crore names were released by Assam in the first draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) from total number of applicants 3.29 crores.

  • The rest of the names after verification will be out in another draft.

  • The verification process will be completed in 2018.

  • NCR contains names of Indian citizens of Assam first prepared in 1951, after the Census of 1951.

  • Assam was the only state, which has prepared NRC in 1951.

  • The process in being repeated in 2017.

  • Supreme Court, which is monitoring the entire process, had ordered first draft of the NRC to be published by December 31.

What is Red Corridor? Why Are Anti-Maoist Strategies Successful in Recent Times?

  • Anti-Maoist strategies are the strategies taken to counter the Maoist and their supporters.

  • Red Corridor is the region in the eastern, central and the southern parts of India that experience considerable Naxalite–Maoist insurgency.

  • In 2017, red corridor has been reduced to 58 districts across 4 states.

  • Naxalite group mainly consists of the armed cadres of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

  • These are also areas that suffer from the greatest illiteracy, poverty and overpopulation in modern India.

Secularism: Why Nehru Dropped and Indira Inserted the Word in the Constitution

  • Nehru along with the chair of the drafting committee of the constitution, B. R. Ambedkar were opposed to the idea of including the word ‘secular’ in the preamble of the constitution.

  • In the discussions- members agreed that nature of the Indian state would be secular but word ‘secular’ was dropped from the preamble.

  • Word was added 3 decades later, when the Indira Gandhi included as part of the 42ndAmendment of the constitution.

  • On November 15, 1948, Prof. K. T. Shah made an intervention demanding the inclusion of the word ‘secular’ in the preamble.

What are Sarkaria Commission Punchhi Commission? 12th Standing Committee

  • 12th meeting of Standing Committee of Inter-State Council under Chairmanship of Union Home Minister discussed the recommendations of Punchhi Commission on Centre-state relations.

  • Sushma Swaraj (Minister of External Affairs) Members of the 12th standing Committee.

  • Sarkaria Commission:

    • To review the existing arrangements between Union and States in changed socio-economic scenario.

    • Government in June 1983 constituted commission under chairmanship of Justice R. S. Sarkaria with Shri B. Sivaraman and Dr. S. R. Sen as its members.

  • Punchhi Commission:

    Government of India constituted Punchhi Commission on Centre-State Relations under chairmanship of Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi, former Chief Justice of India on 27thApril 2007.

Polity and Governance

India and the Rohingya Crisis

  • Indian government plans to deport Rohingya refugees.

  • Maximum concentration of Rohingya refugees is reported to be in Jammu.

  • India has approximately 16000 registered Rohingya refugees.

  • India has no refugee specific law.

  • So, there are large numbers of illegal Rohingya refugees.

  • India should conduct a census to assess the socio - economic conditions of Rohingya refugees in India.

The Constitutional Status of Article 35A

  • Article 35A of the Constitution of India, unknown to the public domain till recent times.

  • Gained up an intense debate in the country.

  • Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is an article that:

    • Empowers the J&K state’s legislature to define permanent residents of the state.

    • Provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.

Why Article 35A recently in news?

  • Refugees from West Pakistan migrated to India during Partition.

  • A Kashmiri woman Charu Wali Khanna filed a petition against the provision in the article.

Cooling off Period in Hindu Divorce Can Go: SC

  • Hindu couples who have mutually agreed to separate need not wait anymore for the mandatory.

  • Cooling off period of six months before divorce.

  • The proceedings can be done through video-conferencing, the court observed.

  • The application for waiver of waiting period can be filed in court within a week of their first motion for separation.

Handling Pendency in Court

  • Lower courts in Kerala, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Chandigarh disposed of almost all cases that had been pending for a decade.

  • Law Commission of India in its 230th report has also offered a long list of measures to deal with the pendency of cases.

  • These include:

    • Providing strict guidelines for the grant of adjournments.

    • Curtailing vacation time in the higher judiciary.

    • Reducing the time for oral arguments.

    • Framing clear and decisive judgment to avoid further litigation.

    • Polity (Health, Education, hunger, poverty)

Granting Citizenship Rights to Chakma and Hajong Refugees

  • Indian Government’s taken initiative to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees.

  • The Chakma and Hajongs were inhabitants of the Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan).

  • The Government must stand firm on its initiative to grant citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong Tribes.

  • Initiatives taken to eradicate the fear that Chakmas and Hajongs are a threat to their cultural identity and social fabric of the local people.

Section 498A and Its Misuse

  • The apex court had recently highlighted that misuse of IPC Section 498A needs to be addressed by instituting welfare committees to look into cases before action is taken.

How is it misused?

  • Police often visit the office premises of men in order to shame them and jeopardize their job situation.

  • Police also pick up relatives of men who are not even named in the complaint, they are illegally detained by police and forced to give their statements.

  • Judges grant interim bail and then keep on extending the bail for every 5 or 7 days.

  • After giving interim bail, the cases are referred to mediation.

What steps can government take?

  • Drop the move for amending 498A to make it compoundable.

  • Make Section 498A bailable and non- cognizable.

  • Form committees of innocent men, who have been acquitted.

  • Insert a special provision to those police and judicial officers who do not follow the law properly.

  • Stop the extortion and blackmailing of men in the name of mediation and counseling.

Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1987 and the Need to Amend It

  • Cyber Violence against women is increasing.

  • There is an urgent need to address the problem by amending the existing legislation against the indecent portrayal of women.

Why is there need for new law?

  • Objectification of women has been increasing.

  • A need had been felt to amend the existing law to broaden its scope.

  • Bring within its ambit all other forms of media and publication introduced with the technological revolution.

  • Changes were drawn up by the National Commission for Women in 2009.

Power Generation in India

  • Government moved beyond village electrification to 24×7 power for all by 2022.

  • 99.5 % of India’s villages are considered electrified, a fifth of the country’s population.

  • To achieve the target by 2022, India needs to increase the rate of household electrification by at least four times.

  • India ranks third among 40 countries in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index.

  • India moved up 73 spots to rank 26th in the World Bank’s list of electricity accessibility in 2017.

Leg up for PM’s Pet Housing Project

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) – Housing for all (Urban).

  • Why is it in the News?

    • People purchasing a low end house from a private developer.

    • It will be eligible for financial help under the ‘Housing For All’ scheme of the Union government.

  • PMAY will help in meeting the housing requirements for all targets.

  • This policy aims to attract investments from developers through the PPP mode.

Is the Sardar Sarovar Dam Boon or Bane?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat on his 67thbirthday.

  • Addressing a public meeting after the event, PM Modi called the dam an engineering marvel.

  • It is a multipurpose project with irrigation, power and drinking water benefits.

  • Accorded environmental clearance in 1987.

  • This project was a vision of the first deputy prime minister of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

  • Polity and Constitution

Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right Now

  • Privacy is a constitutionally protected right.

  • Emerging primarily from the guarantee of life and liberty in Article 21 of the Constitution (Important for GS-1 Preparation).

  • The nine - judge Constitutional Bench of SC ruled that individual privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty.

  • An inherent part of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Article 21 of the Constitution.

  • Right to Privacy has different meaning Including:

    • spatial control

    • decisional autonomy

    • informational control

LGBT Community Cheerful After Supreme Court Ruling on Right to Privacy

  • Section 377 of IPC has been under discussion after recent SC verdict on the “Right to Privacy”.

  • Court noted that sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy.

  • Right to privacy and protection of sexual orientation lie at the core of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 15 and 21.

  • No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.

  • Court held 2014 verdict upholding section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is flawed.

  • Ruled that individual privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty.

  • Ruling has a bearing on constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which criminalises acts against the order of nature.

Triple Talaq in India and World- Supreme Court Decision Regards It as Unconstitutional

  • Triple Talaq is a form of Islamic divorce, which allows any Muslim man to legally divorce his wife by stating the word talaq (the Arabic word for “divorce”) three times in oral, written, or more recently electronic form.

  • On 22 August 2017, Supreme Court deemed instant triple talaq unconstitutional.

  • Practice of triple Talaq objected on issues of justice, gender equality, human rights, and secularism.

  • Debate is also closely tied to uniform civil code in India.

  • Centre to come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims with the ‘triple talaq’ now invalid and unconstitutional.

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act- Uttar Pradesh

  • Uttar Pradesh became first state to endorse Union Government’s draft law- Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act making the practice of instant “triple Talaq” or Talaq-e-biddat a cognizable and non-bailable criminal offence.

  • As the marriage and divorce are included in concurrent list, the Union Government sent the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act for consideration of the states.

  • Sarkaria Commission in 1988 recommended that centre should consult state before legislation on concurrent list.

Urgent Requisite to Lookout for Rohingyas

  • In Myanmar/Burma, the Rohingya are living with very limited access to basic services and almost negligible livelihood opportunities due to strict movement restrictions.

  • Statelessness of and discrimination against Rohingya must urgently be addressed.

  • Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority group living primarily in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

  • Rohingya differ from Myanmar’s dominant Buddhist groups ethnically, linguistically, and religiously.

In Constitution, a Range of ‘special Provisions’ for States Other Than J&K Too

  • Article 370: Grants special autonomous status to state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has always been debated.

  • Hence, Jammu & Kashmir is not the only state for which special provisions have been laid down in Indian Constitution.

  • India Constitution has laid down a large number of safeguards to as many as 11 other states.

  • It provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy.

  • Art 35A, which empowered the J&K Constitution to define “permanent residents” of the state.

The Role of Press in Strengthening Democracy in India

  • A senior Kannada journalist, Gauri Lankesh known for her criticism of Hindu extremism, was recently shot dead.

  • Indian constitution guarantees the “freedom of speech and expression” as a fundamental right of every citizen of India.

Why freedom of press in necessary?

  • Duty of a free press is to raise voice against any social ill or wrong.

  • Strengthening the sovereignty and integrity of a nation.

  • Building an environment.

  • Checks on Government and Administrators.

  • A free press is fundamental to a democratic society.

  • Providing information to the people about social and economic evils.

Behind SC Verdict on Places of Worship, Article on Taxpayers’ Money and Religion

  • Supreme Court last week upheld a state government compensation scheme while setting aside Gujarat High Court order.

  • Government was liable to pay compensation for the loss in view of “principles of public wrong”.

  • Court directed government to collect money spent on restoration from the persons found guilty of the destruction.

  • Supreme Court ruled that “substantial part of taxpayers’ money cannot be granted for repairing religious structures”.

- Published/Last Modified on: June 10, 2018

Policy/Governance, Economy, Govt. Schemes/Projects, Bills

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