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Current Affairs 13th April 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Peace Conference


  • Switzerland will host a peace conference in mid-June as the first step towards ending the Russia-Ukraine war.
  • The conference aims to create a framework and roadmap for peace, although it is not expected to result in a peace deal immediately.


  • Initiated by Switzerland at the request of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.
  • Aims to create a platform for dialogue on achieving peace in Ukraine.
  • Follows Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC) in July 2022 and National Security Advisors Meeting in January 2023, both hosted by Switzerland.

Switzerland’s Role in Mediation

  • Switzerland has a long history of neutrality and mediation in conflicts.
  • Acted as protecting power during wars and for hostile nations.
  • Hosted talks between Sri Lanka and LTTE, and took peace initiatives in Nepal and Middle East,
  • Switzerland represented India’s interests in Pakistan and Pakistan’s in India between 1971 and 1976.
  • Engaged in around 20 peace processes since 2000.
  • During the Russia-Ukraine war, however, Switzerland has leaned towards Ukraine, and has joined the Western sanctions regime against Russia.


  • Finding common ground between Russia’s demands and Ukraine’s peace formula.
  • Russia controls nearly a fifth of Ukraine and claims four regions.
  • Convincing Russia to participate in the peace process.

Involvement of India and Other Nations

  • India’s Diplomatic Role: Balanced approach between Russia and Ukraine, significant in shaping global discourse on the conflict.
  • BRICS and Global South: Participation of Brazil, India, China, and South Africa considered crucial for inclusive dialogue.
  • India’s Position: Supports dialogue and diplomacy, and is ready to contribute to the peace process.
  • Swiss Engagement: Swiss foreign ministry has been in contact with nations influential in the Global South to encourage a comprehensive dialogue.

India’s Role

  • India has maintained a neutral stance between Russia and Ukraine.
  • Abstained from voting against Russia at the UN Security Council.
  • Prime Minister Modi has spoken to both Putin and Zelenskyy multiple times.
  • India is seen as a credible non-partisan player and is willing to contribute to the peace process.
  • The conference presents an opportunity for India to shape global discussions on the issue.

Learning Outcomes

Context: The ASER 2023 Survey conducted in 28 rural districts across 26 states, focusing on the activities, abilities, and aspirations of 14-18-year-olds reflected district-level trends.


  • Low Literacy Rates Among Adolescents: A significant portion of the adolescent population struggles with basic literacy.
    • 26% of 14-18-year-olds cannot read a standard two-level text in their regional language, highlighting persistent foundational learning gaps.
  • Insufficient School Attendance: Many adolescents are either not enrolled in educational or vocational institutions or do not attend regularly.
    • Attendance in secondary grades (standards nine and ten) in rural areas was as low as 60%, as per the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 75th round in 2017-18.
  • Negative Perceptions of Vocational Education: Vocational education is often viewed negatively, which can deter students from pursuing these valuable paths.
    • In places like Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, vocational education is seen as a last resort, whereas, in Himachal Pradesh, vocational courses related to local industries like tourism are viewed more positively.
  • Underutilization of Digital Tools for Education: Despite increasing access to smartphones, their use for educational purposes among adolescents remains limited.
    • Access to smartphones is rising, but they are primarily used for entertainment and social media, rather than for educational enhancement.

Proposed Solutions

  • Strengthening Foundational Literacy and Numeracy: Implement early intervention programs focused on improving foundational skills in literacy and numeracy from the primary grades.
  • Improving School Attendance: Develop incentive programs for students and families to enhance school attendance and engagement, particularly in rural areas.
  • Enhancing the Image and Appeal of Vocational Education: Use successful case studies and role models to improve the perception of vocational education and align courses with local industry needs.
  • Leveraging Technology for Educational Purposes: Promote the use of digital tools for learning by integrating relevant online resources into the curriculum and providing necessary training to students.

President’s Rule

Context: The party leader of AAP alleged that the Central government is trying to impose the President’s rule in Delhi.

About President’s Rule

  • Article 356: It allows for the imposition of the President’s Rule in a state if there is a failure in the constitutional machinery, enabling the central government to take control.
  • Grounds for Imposition: The President’s Rule can be invoked if the President receives a report from the state’s Governor, or if the President is otherwise convinced that governance in the state cannot be carried on by the Constitution.
    • Additionally, under Article 365, President’s Rule may be imposed if a state fails to comply with or execute the directions of the Union Government regarding any matter.
  • Mechanism of Administration
    • During President’s Rule, the state government is suspended and the central government administers the state directly through the Governor.
    • The Governor, assisted by the Chief Secretary and other appointed advisors, manages the state administration.
  • Parliamentary Approval: The imposition of the President’s Rule must be approved by both Houses of Parliament within two months of its issue.
    • Approval requires a simple majority.
  • Duration and Extension: The initial duration of the President’s Rule is six months.
    • It can be extended for up to three years with parliamentary approval every six months, subject to certain conditions stipulated by the 44th Amendment.
  • Conditions for Extension beyond One Year (44th Amendment): Extension beyond one year is permissible only if:
    • There is a national emergency.
    • The Election Commission certifies that conducting assembly elections in the state is not feasible.
  • Legislative Powers and Actions
    • The state legislature may be suspended or dissolved.
    • Parliamentary powers are exercised over the state during this period.
    • The President can promulgate ordinances relating to the state’s administration when Parliament is not in session.
  • Revocation of President’s Rule: The President’s Rule can be revoked at any time by a subsequent proclamation by the President, depending on the improvement or resolution of the circumstances that led to its imposition.

Supreme Court Judgements

S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India (1994):

  • The Supreme Court laid down explicit guidelines for the proper use of the President’s Rule.
  • It stated that the power of the President to dismiss a state government is not absolute and should be exercised only when there is irrefutable evidence of a situation where governance according to the Constitution is not possible.
  • This case also held that the imposition of the President’s Rule is subject to judicial review, and the reasons for its imposition must be convincing to the Court, thereby placing a significant check on arbitrary dismissals of state governments.

CM Jagan Mohan Reddy vs. the judges (Andhra Pradesh High Court)

  • In 2020, the Andhra Pradesh High Court took suo moto cognizance to investigate allegations of a breakdown in constitutional machinery within the Andhra Pradesh government.
  • The Governor of Andhra Pradesh opined that the state government should be dismissed and suggested the imposition of President’s Rule.
  • The case was escalated to the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Supreme Court observed that the actions of the Andhra Pradesh High Court constituted judicial overreach.
  • The Supreme Court further noted that the High Court’s actions were arbitrary.

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