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Current Affairs 29th January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Aadhar Card

Context: Recent Aadhaar cards and PDFs explicitly state they serve as proof of identity, not citizenship or date of birth. This clarification aims to direct government agencies and other organisations towards appropriate usage.

More In News

  • Citizenship Eligibility: Foreign nationals residing in India for 180 days can get Aadhaar, highlighting it’s not solely for citizens.
  • Election Commission’s acceptance under scrutiny: The Election Commission using Aadhaar for voter enrollment’s age verification might be challenged by these clarifications.
  • Offline Verification: Scanning the QR code or using a UIDAI-issued XML file are the only valid ways to verify Aadhaar offline.
  • Recent Practice: The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has removed Aadhaar from its list of acceptable documents for date of birth proof. This sets a precedent for other organisations.

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Golden Tiger

Context: On National Tourism Day (January 25), Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma shared the stunning image on X (formerly Twitter).

About Golden TIger

  • A Bengal tiger with a golden hue, often referred to as a golden tabby tiger, displays this unique coloration due to a recessive genetic trait.
  • The distinctive colour of the golden tiger is attributed to a recessive gene called ‘wideband’ that affects the creation of black pigments in the hair growth process.
  • Rather than being a distinct subspecies, golden tigers represent a genetic anomaly found within the Bengal tiger population.
  • These tigers are exceedingly rare in their natural habitat and even more uncommon in zoos and wildlife preserves.


Context: The Indian Space Research Organisation announced that the six-magnetometer boom was deployed shortly after the spacecraft entered orbit around the L1 point.

About Magnetometer

  • A magnetometer measures magnetic fields, focusing on their strength and direction.
    • Example: Compass (determines the Earth’s magnetic field direction.)
  • Some magnetometers assess magnetic dipole moments, akin to the effect observed in a ferromagnet, where the magnetic material influences the current in a surrounding coil by its magnetic properties.

How Magnetometers Work?

There are different types of magnetometers, but they all work on the same basic principle: they convert a magnetic field into an electrical signal.

This can be done in a few different ways, but some common methods include:

  • Induction: A changing magnetic field can induce a current in a coil of wire. The strength of the current is proportional to the strength of the magnetic field.
  • Hall effect: When a conductor is placed in a magnetic field, a voltage is created across the conductor. The strength of the voltage is proportional to the strength of the magnetic field.
  • Magnetoresistive effect: The electrical resistance of some materials changes in the presence of a magnetic field. The change in resistance can be used to measure the strength of the magnetic field.

Applications of Magnetometers

  • Miniaturised Compasses: Magnetometers, now compact enough for integrated circuits, serve as miniaturised compasses in devices like smartphones (MEMS magnetic field sensors).
  • Geophysical Surveys: Utilised in measuring Earth’s magnetic field, identifying magnetic anomalies, and determining magnetic materials’ dipole moments.
  • Aviation: Used for heading reference in their navigation systems.
  • Military and Defense: Employed in submarine activities and detection, with sensitive magnetometers classified under military technology by countries like the US, Canada, and Australia.
  • Oil and Gas Exploration: Integrated into drilling sensors to guide drilling direction.
  • Space and Planetary Studies: Used to examine solar wind and planetary magnetic fields.
  • Archaeology: Applied in exploring archaeological sites and detecting buried artefacts.
  • Metal Detection and Mining: Effective in detecting ferrous metals at depths and identifying geological features in coal mining.
  • Pipeline Monitoring: Utilised to inspect underground pipeline corrosion and monitor structural integrity.
  • Healthcare: Employed in non-invasive cardiac diagnostic systems to measure heart functions.
  • Educational Projects: Commonly used with Raspberry Pi for coding and engineering projects, such as robots, drones, and weather stations, with popular sensors like the HMC5883L for educational applications.

ISRO’s Magnetometer Deployment on Aditya-L1: Key Points

  • Purpose: This experiment aims to examine the subtle interplanetary magnetic fields in space.
  • Sensor Configuration: The boom hosts two advanced magnetometer sensors placed 3 and 6 metres apart on a rod extending from the spacecraft, designed to reduce interference from the spacecraft’s own magnetic field and enhance measurement accuracy.
  • Boom Structure: Made from carbon fibre reinforced polymer, the boom comprises five interconnected segments with spring-driven hinges, enabling it to fold during transit and unfold in orbit.

What is the legal dispute over AMU’s minority status?

Context: A seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court (SC) led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud is currently hearing the 57-year-long dispute over the minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

Understanding ‘Minority Character’ in Educational Institutions

  • Constitutional Foundation: Article 30(1) of the Constitution grants religious and linguistic minorities the fundamental right to establish and administer their educational institutions.
  • State Equality Principle: Article 30(2) mandates equal treatment by the State in providing aid to educational institutions, regardless of their minority status, encompassing all levels of education from primary to professional.
  • Exemptions and Reservations: These institutions are exempt from implementing reservations for SC, ST, and OBC in admissions and employment, and can reserve up to 50% of seats for their community members.
  • Autonomy in Administration: They possess enhanced autonomy, particularly in managing employment matters, compared to non-minority institutions.
  • Demographic Determination: The Supreme Court in the M.A Pai Foundation case (2002) ruled that a ‘minority’ status is determined by the demographic makeup of the State, not by national statistics.

Background of the Aligarh Muslim University Case

  • Foundation of MAO College: In 1877, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan established the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh to enhance Muslim education and uphold Islamic values.
  • Establishment of AMU: The Aligarh Muslim University Act of 1920 integrated MAO College and the Muslim University Association into Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
  • Early Amendments: The 1951 amendment to the AMU Act abolished mandatory Islamic education for Muslims and the requirement for exclusively Muslim representation in the University Court. Further changes in 1965 redistributed the Court’s powers, with the Indian President appointing members to the governing bodies.
  • Azeez Basha vs. UOI (1967): The Supreme Court examined the 1951 and 1965 amendments, concluding that AMU was established by legislation, not by the Muslim community, thereby upholding the amendments.
  • Nationwide Protests and 1981 Amendment: The 1967 ruling led to protests, resulting in a 1981 amendment to the AMU Act, which reaffirmed the university’s minority status.
  • 2005 Reservation Policy Challenge: AMU’s decision to reserve 50% of postgraduate medical seats for Muslims was overturned by the Allahabad High Court in Dr. Naresh Agarwal vs. UOI, declaring the 1981 amendment unconstitutional.
  • Supreme Court Appeal (2006): The University and the Union of India appealed the High Court’s decision. However, in 2016, the Union of India withdrew its support, no longer recognizing AMU’s minority status, leaving the University to continue the appeal independently.

Key Issues Before the Apex Court in the AMU Case

  • Minority Status Criteria: The Supreme Court is deliberating on how to define the minority status of educational institutions and whether an institution created by a statute can claim this status.
  • AMU’s Minority Claim: Petitioners are advocating for Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) right to minority status, opposing the Union of India’s (UOI) support for the S. Azeez Basha verdict, which negated such status for AMU.
  • Arguments for AMU: Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan referenced the T.M.A Pai Foundation ruling to argue that AMU’s minority character isn’t negated by statutory regulations or state aid. He differentiated between the university’s ‘incorporation’ by legislative act and its ‘establishment’ by the minority community, underlining Article 30 rights.
  • UOI’s Position: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta described AMU as a ‘loyalist’ institution that relinquished its rights to the British and adopted a secular nature post the 1920 Act. He implied that this historical context undermines its claim to minority status.
  • Court’s Consideration: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) noted that AMU’s alleged political leanings are irrelevant to its claim for minority status, focusing the debate on legal and constitutional grounds.
  • Implications of the Judgment: The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will be significant, establishing a legal precedent that will influence the rights and recognition of minority educational institutions across India.

Higher Education Enrollment

Context: The 12th edition of the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2021-22 was released by the Ministry of Education.

Key Data and Stats from the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2021-22

Overall Enrolment:

  • Total enrolment: 4.33 crore (up from 4.14 crore in 2020-21)
  • Female enrolment: 2.07 crore (up from 2.01 crore in 2020-21)
  • Increase in female enrolment since 2014-15: 50 lakh
  • Increase in total enrolment since 2014-15: 91 lakh

Science Stream:

  • 2 lakh students enrolled in science stream (undergraduate, postgraduate, Ph.D., and M.Phil levels)
  • Female students outnumbering male students in science stream (29.8 lakh vs. 27.4 lakh)

Ph.D. Enrolment:

  • Total Ph.D. enrolment: 2.12 lakh (up from 1.17 lakh in 2014-15)
  • Female Ph.D. enrolment:99 lakh (doubled from 0.48 lakh in 2014-15)

Social Groups:

  • OBC student enrolment: 1.63 crore (up from 1.13 crore in 2014-15)
  • ST student enrolment: 27.1 lakh (up from 16.41 lakh in 2014-15)

Northeast States:

  • Total student enrolment: 12.02 lakh (up from 9.36 lakh in 2014-15)
  • Female enrolment: 6.07 lakh (higher than male enrolment of 5.95 lakh)

Levels and Disciplines:

  • 9% of students enrolled in undergraduate courses
  • 1% of students enrolled in postgraduate courses
  • Highest undergraduate enrolment in arts (34.2%)
  • Highest postgraduate enrolment in social science (21.1%)

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