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Current Affairs 19th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 19th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

TeLEOS-2 Satellite

Context: Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch Singapore’s TeLEOS-2 satellite on board Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)  on April 22, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

About TeLEOS-2 Satellite

  • It is a 750kg earth observation satellite that has synthetic aperture radar capable of providing data in 1-metre resolution.
  • In 2015, ISRO launched TeLEOS-1, the first Singapore commercial Earth Observation Satellite, which was launched into a low Earth orbit for remote sensing applications.
  • The ISRO has so far launched nine satellites belonging to Singapore.

About PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle)

  • It is an indigenously-developed expendable launch system of the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).
  • It comes in the category of medium-lift launchers with a reach up to various orbits, including the Geo Synchronous Transfer Orbit, Lower Earth Orbit, and Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
  • Description: PSLV has a four-stage system comprising a combination of solid and liquid-fuelled rocket stages.
    • The first stage at the very bottom is solid fuelled having six strap-on solid rocket boosters wrapped around it.
    • Second stage is liquid fuelled whereas the third stage has a solid fuelled rocket motor.
    • At the fourth stage, the launcher uses a liquid propellant to boost in the outer space.

Performance of PSLV

  • TeLEOS-2 Satellite launch will be the 57th launch of PSLV which has proven to be one of ISRO’s most reliable vehicles, having launched hundreds of satellites and only three failures or partial failures since 1993.
  • PSLV has also carried onboard India’s missions like Chandrayaan-1, Mangalyaan, and AstroSat.

Current Affairs 18th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam



Context: Rajasthan topped the country in terms of person days generation under MGNREGA.


  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was passed in 2005 and aimed at enhancing the livelihood security of households in rural areas.
    • MGNREGS is a demand-driven scheme that guarantees 100 days of unskilled work per year for every rural household that wants it, covering all districts in the country except those with a 100% urban population.
  • Objective: Enhancement of livelihood security to the households in rural areas of the State by providing round the year employment with minimum guarantee of one hundred days of wage employment in a financial year to every household volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
    • Creation of assets for development of rural areas. The types of projects undertaken for employment generation under MGNREGA include those related to water conservation, land development, construction, agriculture and allied works.
  • Cost Sharing: Financial assistance shall be provided by Central and State Governments in the ratio of 90:10 respectively.
  • Unemployment Allowance: Unemployment allowance shall be payable if employment is not provided within 15 days of the receipt of the application. The rate of unemployment allowance shall be one fourth of the wage rate for the first thirty days and not less than one half of the wage rate for the remaining period.
    • Unemployment allowance shall not be paid if the applicant does not report for work within fifteen days or adult members of the household received atleast one hundred days of work during the financial year.
  • Wage and Material Ratio: 60:40 wage and material ratio to be maintained at District level.


National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

Context: National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved eight projects worth around 638 crore rupees.

About National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

  • It is registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
  • Objective: To reduce pollution and ensure rejuvenation of the Ganga river.
    • This can be achieved by promoting inter-sectoral co-ordination for comprehensive planning & management and maintaining minimum ecological flow in the river, with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga is undertaken across three phases:
    • Entry-level activities: include immediate, visible-impact activities such as river surface cleaning, rural sanitation to prevent pollution entering the river through rural sewage drains, renovation, modernisation and construction of crematoria & ghats to improvise the human-river connect.
    • Medium-term activities: comprise activities that arrest municipal and industrial pollution entering the river.
    • Long-term activities: consist of providing adequate flow to the river, enhancing usage efficiency and improving efficiency of surface irrigation.

About Namami Gange Programme

  • It is an integrated conservation mission, approved as ‘flagship programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs 20,000 crore.
  • This project is aimed at accomplishing the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.

Environment Protection Act (EPA), 1986, envisages a five-tier structure at national, state and district levels to undertake measures to prevent, control and abate environmental pollution in the Ganga river.  According to the act, the model structure will comprise the following:

  • National Ganga Council under the chairmanship of Honourable Prime Minister of India.
  • Empowered Task Force (ETF) under the chairmanship of Honourable Union Minister of Jal Shakti (Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation).
  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
  • State Ganga Committees.
  • District Ganga Committees in every specified district abutting Ganga river and its tributaries in states.


Special Marriage Act

Context: The Supreme Court is hearing petitions to modify Special Marriage Act of 1954.

What is the Special Marriage Act?

  • Special Marriage Act of 1954 enables inter-faith or inter-caste couples to marry without giving up their religious identity or resorting to conversion.
  • Goal of the law: Currently, personal laws such as marriage, divorce, adoption are governed by religious laws. These laws require spouses to convert before marriage.
    • Under SMA, spouse need not convert to another religion for the sake of marriage.
  • Who is Eligible?
    •  The law is applicable to the people belonging to all faith, including Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jain, and Buddhist communities.
  • Minimum age: The minimum age to get married under the SMA is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.

Procedure to follow:

  • The parties involved will have to give a notice in writing to the “Marriage Officer” of the district, in which one of the parties has resided for 30 days preceding the notice.
  • The marriage will only be solemnized if the parties and three witnesses sign a declaration form before the Marriage Officer.
  • The parties will be a given a “Certificate of marriage” once the declaration is accepted.
  • This certificate is the proof of the marriage, giving it a legal recognition.

Pros and Cons of Special Marriage Act

Advantages Drawbacks
  • Couple need not convert for the sake of marriage, thus giving them freedom to practice their religion.
  • SMA gives legal recognition to inter-religious marriage and provides other legal benefits and protections to the couple.
  • The law does not recognize polygamy and can declare a marriage null and void if an already married spouse has cheated.
  1. Individuals married under SMA will be severed from the family in terms of rights like the right to inheritance.
  2. Some provisions of the SMA are violative of the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  3. Couples married under SMA may face social stigma and discrimination.



Context: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the Kerala train fire tragedy case from Kerala Police, which has been probing the case under UAPA.

About the National Investigation Agency (NIA)

  • The NIA is the Central Counter-Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency of India.
  • Origin: It was constituted under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008, aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
  • Parent agency: It functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi. It has branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur, Jammu, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Chennai, and Imphal.
  • The agency is empowered to deal with the investigation of terror-related crimes across states under written proclamation from the Ministry of Home Affairs without special permission from the states.
  • Functions of NIA: It is a central agency to investigate and prosecutes offences:
    • Affecting the sovereignty, security, and integrity of India, security of State, and friendly relations with foreign States.
    • Against atomic and nuclear facilities.
    • Smuggling in High-Quality Counterfeit Indian Currency.
  • Jurisdiction of NIA:
    • The agency has been empowered with all the powers and privileges to conduct investigations under the various acts specified in the Schedule book of the NIA act.
    • State government authorities can request an investigation by NIA upon approval of the Central government within the limits of law specified under the NIA Act.
    • The central government can hand over cases for investigation to NIA anywhere in India and the officials involved in the handling of these cases are from the IPS and IRS cadre.
    • The agency needs sanction from the central government for the prosecution of the accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) and certain other scheduled offences.

The NIA (Amendment) Act, 2019

  • The Act seeks to allow the NIA to investigate the following additional offences:
    • Human trafficking
    • Offences related to counterfeit currency or banknotes
    • Manufacture or sale of prohibited arms
    • Cyber-terrorism, and
    • Offences under the Explosive Substances Act, 1908
  • The amendment also expands the jurisdiction of NIA: 
    • The officers of the NIA have the same powers as other police officers in relation to the investigation of such offences, across India.
    • The officers of the NIA will have the power to investigate scheduled offences committed outside India, subject to international treaties and domestic laws of other countries.
    • The central government may direct the NIA to investigate such cases if the offense has been committed in India. The Special Court in New Delhi will have jurisdiction over these cases.

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967

  • Aim: The act aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities and associations in India.
    • Unlawful activity refers to any action taken by an individual or association intended to disrupt the territorial integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • Key provisions of the UAPA, 1967:
    • Section 3 of UAPA: It empowers the central government to declare an association as unlawful if it believes that the association is involved in unlawful activities that threaten the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of India.
    • Section 43D (5) of the Act: It leaves very little room for judicial reasoning, and makes the grant of bail virtually impossible under UAPA.
  • It requires the court to provide an opportunity to the public prosecutor to oppose the bail application and to not release the accused on bail if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation is prima facie true.
    • It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
    • Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.
  • Applicability: Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged. It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
  • 2004 Amendment Act: The 2004 amendment, added “terrorist act” to the list of offences to ban organizations for terrorist activities.
    • Till 2004, “unlawful” activities referred to actions related to secession and cession of territory.
  • 2019 Amendment Act:
    • It allows the government to label people as terrorists if they commit or participate in terrorist acts, plan terrorist attacks, promote terrorism, or are otherwise involved in terrorism.
    • The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
    • The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.
    • A new item has been added to the list of circumstances in which terrorism is committed: The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).


Article 371

Context: The traditional tribal bodies of Nagaland have threatened to boycott the civic polls in Nagaland unless the government guarantees that reserving 33% of the seats would not violate the provisions of Article 371A of the Constitution of India.

What is Article 371?

  • Articles 369 through 392 (including some that have been removed) appear in Part XXI of the Indian Constitution, titled ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’.
  •  It extends to 11 states, six of them are from the Northeast, where the provisions aim to preserve tribal culture.
  •  Articles 371, 371A, 371B, 371C, 371D, 371E, 371F, 371G, 371H, and 371J define special provisions with regard to another state (or states).
  • Article 371, Maharashtra and Gujarat: Governor has “special responsibility” to establish “separate development boards” for “Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of Maharashtra”, and Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat; ensure “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said areas”, and “equitable arrangement providing adequate facilities for technical education and vocational training, and adequate opportunities for employment” under the state government.
  • Article 371A (13th Amendment Act, 1962), Nagaland: This provision was inserted after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963. Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, and ownership and transfer of land without concurrence of the state Assembly.
  • Article 371B (22nd Amendment Act, 1969), Assam: The President may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Assembly consisting of members elected from the state’s tribal areas.
  • Article 371C (27th Amendment Act, 1971), Manipur: The President may provide for the constitution of a committee of elected members from the Hill areas in the Assembly, and entrust “special responsibility” to the Governor to ensure its proper functioning.
  • Article 371D (32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”. He may require the state government to organise “any class or classes of posts in a civil service of, or any class or classes of civil posts under, the State into different local cadres for different parts of the State”. He has similar powers vis-à-vis admissions in educational institutions.
  • Article 371E: Allows for the establishment of a university in Andhra Pradesh by a law of Parliament. But this is not a “special provision” in the sense of the others in this part.
  • Article 371F (36th Amendment Act, 1975), Sikkim: The members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People. To protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.
  • Article 371G (53rd Amendment Act, 1986), Mizoram: Parliament cannot make laws on “religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law, ownership and transfer of land… unless the Assembly… so decides”.
  • Article 371H (55th Amendment Act, 1986), Arunachal Pradesh: The Governor has a special responsibility about law and order, and “he shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken”.
  • Article 371J (98th Amendment Act, 2012), Karnataka: There is a provision for a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. There shall be “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said region”, and “equitable opportunities and facilities” for people of this region in government jobs and education. A proportion of seats in educational institutions and state government jobs in Hyderabad-Karnataka can be reserved for individuals from that region.

Significance of Article 371

  •  It aims to provide an equitable justice to the citizens of certain States of India that the same Preamble guarantees.
  • The intention behind the provisions of Article 371 is to safeguard the interest and aspirations of certain backward regions or to protect cultural and economic interests of the tribal people or to deal with the disturbed law and order in some parts.
  • The legislative intent behind Article 371 is to allow and accommodate the special needs of different States. This is the touchstone of the cooperative federal structure of the Indian Constitution.
  • The provisions under Article 371 are empowering and enabling specially enacted to safeguard the way of life and culture of those states. Those provisions are directly for the benefit of the residents.

Why is there Opposition to Urban Local Bodies (ULB) Polls in Nagaland?

  • Nagaland is the only State where ULB seats are not reserved for women as mandated by clause IV of the 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India.
  • The State government amended the 2001 Municipal Act of Nagaland in 2006 to include 33% reservation for women in line with the 74th Amendment. This triggered widespread opposition.
  • Most of the traditional tribal and urban organisations oppose the 33% reservation of seats for women as they argue that such reservation would violate the special provisions granted by Article 371A of the Constitution to Nagaland.
  • The Hohos (apex tribal bodies) of Nagaland point out that women have traditionally not been part of decision-making bodies.
    • According to them, the reservation of the office of the ULB chairperson for women would deprive the rightful candidate and was thus unacceptable.


Civil Union and its difference from Marriage

Context: Recently, A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India, began hearing a batch of petitions seeking legal recognition of same sex marriage.

About Civil Union:

  • A “civil union” refers to the legal status that allows same-sex couples specific rights and responsibilities normally conferred upon married couples.
  • These civil unions would be accompanied by rights such as inheritance rights, employment benefits to spouses, joint parenting or joint ownership rights, and the right to abstain from testifying against one’s partner — similar to the spousal privilege given under Section 122 of the Indian Evidence Act, when it comes to disclosure of communication between two spouses.

How is a Civil Union different from Marriage?

  • Though they have many of the same legal protections as a marriage, civil unions are only recognized by individual states rather than by federal law, like a marriage.
  • The benefits and rights granted by civil unions vary from state to state, and not all states recognize civil unions.

More Information:

  • In the year 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) legalised same-sex marriages across the nation with its landmark ruling in “Obergefell v. Hodges”.
  • Prior to the 2015 ruling, a majority of the US states had civil union laws that allowed same-sex couples to marry, without providing them formal recognition of the same.


JC Bose and Plant Distress

Context: Recently, Researchers have picked up ‘distress’ calls from plants in difficulty, such as when they need water—More than a century ago, a pioneering Indian scientist had demonstrated that plants can ‘feel’ pleasure and pain.

About JC Bose (1858-1937):

  • Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, born November 30, 1858, Bengal, India (now in Bangladesh).
  • Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose was a biologist, physicist, botanist and an early writer of science fiction.
  • He was a Plant Physiologist and physicist who invented the crescograph, a device for measuring the growth of plants.
  • He for the first time demonstrated that plants have feelings and were able to feel pleasure and pain just like animals.
  • Scientific Contribution:
    • Bose discovered wireless communication and was named the Father of Radio Science by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
    • He was responsible for the expansion of experimental science in India.
    • Bose is considered the father of Bengali science fiction. A crater on the moon has been named in his honour.
    • He founded Bose Institute, a premier research institute of India and also one of its oldest.
      • Established in 1917, the Institute was the first interdisciplinary research centre in Asia.
      • He served as the Director of Bose Institute from its inception until his death.
    • To facilitate his research, he constructed automatic recorders capable of registering extremely slight movements, these instruments produced some striking results, such as quivering of injured plants, which Bose interpreted as a power of feeling in plants.
  • Books:
    • His books include Response in the Living and Non-Living (1902) and The Nervous Mechanism of Plants (1926).

Plant Distress

  • Plant distress is a term used to describe a set of symptoms or conditions that indicate that a plant is not healthy and may be experiencing some form of stress or damage.
  • These symptoms can include wilting, yellowing or browning of leaves, stunted growth, abnormal spots or discoloration on leaves, and the presence of pests or diseases.
  • It’s important to identify and address the causes of plant distress as soon as possible, as untreated stress or damage can eventually lead to plant death.
  • The causes of plant distress can vary and may include environmental factors such as drought or extreme temperatures, nutrient deficiencies, pest infestations, or diseases.

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