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Current Affairs 3rd July 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 3rd July 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Artemis Accords

Context: In a significant development during the recent visit of the Indian Prime Minister to the US, India signed the Artemis Accords.

What are Artemis Accords?

  • The Artemis Accords were drafted and introduced by the US in 2020, together with seven other founding member nations, to foster safe and sustainable exploration of the Moon and other celestial bodies like Mars and beyond.
    • Those other founding member nations include France, Japan, Israel, Brazil, the UAE, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
  • These are a set of non-legally binding principles, statements, and best practices that have been derived from the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
    • The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 sets out the fundamental principles of space law.
    • It prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons in space, establishes that outer space is free for exploration and use by all nations, and prevents the appropriation of celestial bodies by any country.
  • They are aimed at international cooperation in space exploration and allowing all nations to benefit from the scientific data obtained in space, even those without space programs.
  • The immediate objectives seem to be towards achieving a collaborative approach towards the Artemis Moon mission of the US.

Treaties of Outer Space

  • With respect to the Outer Space, there are five key treaties commonly referred to as the “five United Nations treaties on outer space”. They are:
    • The Outer Space Treaty 1967,
    • Rescue Agreement 1968,
    • Liability Convention 1972,
    • The Registration Convention 1976,
    • The Moon Agreement 1979.
  • India is a signatory to all five of these treaties but has ratified only four. India did not ratify Moon agreement.

NASA’s Artemis Moon Mission at a Glance

  • The Artemis programme is a series of ongoing space missions run by NASA.
  • Three Artemis missions are currently in progress: 
  • Artemis 1, an uncrewed test flight completed 11 December 2022 which circled and flew past the Moon;
  • Artemis 2, a crewed flight beyond the Moon, which will take humans the furthest they’ve ever been in space; and
  • Artemis 3, which will land the first female astronaut and first astronaut of colour on the Moon, and involve spending a week performing scientific studies on the lunar surface.
Short-term goal
  • With the Artemis programme, NASA aims to land humans on the moon by 2024.
Long-term goal
  • NASA will establish a permanent Artemis Base Camp on the Moon surface and a gateway (the lunar outpost around the Moon) in lunar orbit to aid exploration by robots and astronauts and ultimately facilitating human missions to Mars.
Collaborations Other space agencies are also involved in the Artemis programme.

  • The Canadian Space Agency has committed to providing advanced robotics for the gateway,
  • The European Space Agency will provide the International Habitat and the ESPRIT module, which will deliver additional communications capabilities among other things.
  • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to contribute habitation components and logistics resupply.

Current Affairs 1st July 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam


Santhal Rebellion

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about Santal rebellion (Hul Diwas) on June 30, remembering the sacrifice of Adivasis in their fight against British colonial authorities.

About the Santals Rebellion

  • The Santhals: The Santal people or Santalis were not the original inhabitants of modern day Santhal Pargana.
    • They had migrated from the Birbhum and Manbhum regions (present-day Bengal), starting around the late 18th century.
    • The 1770 famine in Bengal caused the Santals to begin moving and soon, the British turned to them for help.
    • With the enactment of the Permanent Settlement Act of 1790, the East India Company was desperate to bring an ever-increasing area in its control under settled agriculture and thus, chose the area of Damin-i-Koh, at the time heavily forested, to be settled by the Santals, in order to collect a steady stream of revenue.
    • Today, the Santal community is the third largest tribal community in India, spread across Jharkhand-Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal.
  • Santhal Rebellion (1855-57): The social conditions which drove the peasants to rebel against the British.
    • The area of concentration of the Santhals was called Daman-i-Koh or Santhal Pargana.
    • Santhals like other tribes worked hard to maintain their lives in the forests and wild jungles.
    • They cultivated their land and lived a peaceful life which continued till the British officials brought with them traders, moneylenders, zamindars and merchants.
    • Santhals were made to buy goods on credit and forced to pay back with a heavy interest during harvest time.
    • As a result, they were sometimes forced to give the mahajan not only their crops, but also plough, bullocks and finally the land.
    • Very soon they became bonded labourers and could serve only their creditors.
    • The peaceful tribal communities took up in arms against the British officials, zamindars and money lenders who were exploiting them.
      • Moneylenders and zamindars were executed or forced to flee, and police stations, railway construction sites and dak offices – all symbols of colonial rule – were attacked.
      • As per some accounts, approximately 60,000 Santhals took part in this rebellion.
  • Leaders of the Rebellion:  Sidhu and Kanu led the Santhal rebel leaders.
  • Nature of the Rebellion:
    • Organized Rebellion: A prevalent theory about the ‘Hul’ suggests that it was merely an an “unorganised chaotic uprising”. However, this is incorrect.
      • There is evidence of a highly organised rebellion in Ashwini Pankaj’s book , 1855 Hul Documents.
      • The book presents evidence of preparations related to the war such as formation of guerrillas and military teams, appointment of detectives, fixing of secret bases, logistics, network of message carriers for mutual coordination, etc. which shows that the Hul was not unorganised, unplanned, or chaotic, but a “deliberate and well planned political war”.
    • Participation of Other Communities: Ashwini Pankaj also says that many non-Adivasi Hindu castes too participated in the Hul and thus, calling it just a Santhal rebellion would never be appropriate.
      •  The Rebellion saw participation from 32 communities (tribals and non-tribals both).
    • Participation of Women: The sisters Phulo-Jhano had led an army of 1,000 women whose jobs included providing food supply, gathering information and also attacked the East Indian camps during the night.
    • Defeat of East India Army: The East India army was defeated twice during the rebellion. The first was in Pirpainti and the second in Birbhum–all part of lower Bengal then–and the narrative that the East India Company’s army could not be defeated was exposed.
  • Narratives of the British:
    • Frederick Halliday, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, account said: “…To the wild Sonthal, justice was far off and very difficult of access at Bhagalpur courts…It was no wonder that the ignorant and helpless Sonthals should fall easy victims to the unscrupulous Mahajan”.
    • Bidwell, who was the Special Commissioner for the suppression of the ‘Hul’ said: “For the causes of insurrection…the manifestos of the insurgents (say) that there were grievances of…excessive taxation…prevalence of falsehood, negligence of Sahibs(Britishers), extortion of Mahajans, corruption and oppression.”
      • However, after examining various accounts, he said that he found there were no signs of over taxation(land rent), but he felt more needed to be done to obviate the sufferings inflicted by ‘Mahajans’(money lending).
  • Impact of Santhal Rebellion:
    • The uprising prompted the British government to pass the Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act in 1876, providing some protection to tribal members against exploitation.
    • The region between Bhagalpur and the Rajmahal hills in Singhbhum district was separated and designated as Santhal Pargana which was declared a non-regulation
    • district.
    • The Santhal Rebellion shed light on the harshness of the zamindari system imposed by the British East India Company on the local indigenous populations.
    • It also exposed the exploitative practices of moneylenders, who took advantage of the Santhals’ unfamiliarity with monetary systems and charged exorbitant interest rates on loans.


Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

Context:  The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has issued a ‘red alert’ cautioning authorities against organised hunting gangs in the outer areas of tiger reserves including Uttarakhand’s Jim Corbett and Rajaji National Parks.

About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

  • Definition: Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • Aim: It aims to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • Functions: Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated:
    •  To collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State for immediate action.
    • To establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank.
    • Co-ordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act.
    • Assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.
    • Capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes.
    • Advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
    • It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
  • Head Office: The Bureau has its headquarter in New Delhi and five regional offices at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Jabalpur.


Governor’s Power over State Bills

Context:  Owing to the constitutional crisis following the Kerala Governor “sitting” on nine Bills passed by the State Legislature, the Kerela Government is all set to move the Supreme Court.

More on News

  • The Supreme Court in its recent decision has reminded Governors that when they decide to return a Bill to the State Assembly for reconsideration, they must do so “as soon as possible” in accordance with Article 200 of the Indian Constitution.
    • This decision was prompted by apparent inaction by the Telangana Governor on several Bills, which led to a petition being filed with the Court.
  • This recent apex court order has come as a shot in the arm for the Kerala government and it will also approach the top court once it resumes functioning after the vacation.
    • As per the State, the Governor holding the Bills indefinitely would lead to the collapse of the parliamentary democracy system and derail the constitutional framework laid down for the governments to function.

Constitutional power of the Governor related to State Bills: 

  • Article 200 says that the Constitution provides certain options for the Governor to exercise when a Bill reaches him from the Assembly.
  • It deals with the Governor’s powers in relation to assenting to legislation enacted by the State legislature and other functions of the Governor such as reserving the bill for consideration by the President.
  • There are four possible scenarios:
    • Assent: He may give assent.
    • Reconsider: He can send it back to the Assembly requesting it to reconsider some provisions of the Bill, or the Bill itself. In this case, if the Assembly passes the Bill without making any change and sends it back to the Governor, he will have to give assent to it.
    • Reserve: The third option is to reserve the Bill for the consideration of the President.
    • Withhold: The fourth option, of course, is to withhold the assent.

Veto over State Bills:

  • The governor is empowered to reserve certain types of bills passed by the state legislature for the consideration of the President.
  • Then, the Governor will not have any further role in the enactment of the bill.
  • The President can withhold his assent to such bills not only in the first instance but also in the second instance.
  • Thus, the President enjoys absolute veto (and not suspensive veto) over state bills.
  • Further, the President can exercise pocket veto in respect of state legislation also.

About the Governor

  • About Governor:
    • Governor is a nominal executive head of the state.
    • He forms an important part of the state executive where he acts as the chief executive head.
  • Appointment of Governor:
    • The Governor is neither directly elected by the people nor indirectly elected by a specially constituted electoral college as is the case with the President.
    • He/she is appointed by the President of India by warrant under his hand and seal (Article 155).
  • Qualifications:
    • The Constitution lays down only two qualifications for the appointment of a person as a governor.
      • He/she should be a citizen of India.
      • He/she should have completed the age of 35 years.
  • Constitutional Position of the Governor:
    • Article 153: Article 153 of the Indian Constitution mandates the appointment of a Governor in each state. The 7th Amendment to the Constitution, however, allows for the appointment of the same person as Governor of two or more states.
    • Article 154: The Governor shall have executive power over the state, which he shall exercise either directly or through officers subordinate to him in conformity with this Constitution.
    • Article 163: There shall be a council of ministers, led by the Chief Minister, to assist and advise the Governor in the exercise of his powers, except when he is compelled to execute his functions at his discretion.
    • Article 164: The council of ministers is collectively responsible to the state’s legislative assembly. This provision is the cornerstone of the state’s parliamentary system of governance.


Population Census

Context:  The office of the Registrar General of India has issued an order stating the date of freezing of boundaries for the ensuing Census has been extended and will now be frozen with effect from January 1, 2024.

About Population Census

  • Census:  Population Census provides basic statistics on state of human resources, demography, culture and economic structure at local, regional and national level.
  • Aim:  The data collected through the census are used for administration, planning and policy making as well as management and evaluation of various programmes by the government, NGOs, researchers, commercial and private enterprises, etc.
  • Legality: A Census is Constitutionally mandated in India.
    • The population census is a Union subject under Article 246 of the Indian Constitution.
    • It is listed as serial number 69 of the seventh schedule of the constitution.
    • Census in India is conducted on the basis of Census Act enacted in 1948.
  • Duration: It is conducted at an interval of 10 years (decennial Census).
  • Nodal Ministry: It is conducted by the Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Process: The Census is carried out in two phases: the House listing and Housing Census and Population Enumeration phase, which typically takes around 11 months.
    • The housing Census collects data on housing conditions, household amenities, and household assets.
    • The Enumeration phase collects data on population, education, religion, economic activity, Scheduled Castes and Tribes, language, literacy, migration, and fertility.
    • The National Population Register (NPR) is to be updated with the first phase of Census.
  • First Census in India:  In India, the census was first started under British Viceroy Lord Mayo in 1872 and the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881.
  • Last Census in India: The last decennial population Census of India was conducted during 9th–28th February 2011 with a revisional round during 1st -5th March, 2011.
    •  Population Projections for India and States/Union Territories for 2011-2036, based on Census 2011 data, are available in the ‘Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections’ published by National Commission on Population, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
      • The report said that the population of India is expected to increase from 121.1 crore to 151.8 crore during 2011-2036 period, an increase of 25% in 25 years at the rate of 1.0% annually.
      • Consequently, the density of population will increase from 368 to 462 persons per square kilometre.
      • Earlier, the United Nations had said that India’s population was expected to reach 142 crore people by the end of April, surpassing that of China.
    • The next Census was due in 2021 but the same has been postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Advantages of Census:
    • Administration and Policy: The population census provides the basic data for administrative purposes like the demarcation of constituencies and the allocation of representation on governing bodies.
      • Detailed information on the geographic distribution of the population is indispensable for this purpose.
      • The Census also gives information on the demographic and economic characteristics of the population at the district level.
    • Research Purposes: The population census provides indispensable data for scientific analysis and appraisal of the composition, distribution and past and prospective growth of the population.
    • Business and Industry: The census data has many important uses for individuals and institutions in business and industry. It is very difficult to make a full assessment of the multiplicity of ways in which trade and business make use of the census data.
    • Planning: The Planning Commission utilises the Census data on the distribution of population by age, sex classified by rural and urban regions, cities, town areas and social groups to analyse the growth of consumer demand and savings in the process of development.
  • First Digital Census: The next Census in India will be the first digital Census.
    • The exercise can be fast-tracked through digital census, with a provision for self-enumeration. The amended census rules now allow a person to fill-up, complete and submit the census schedule.
    • Data collection through a mobile app will reduce the overall time taken to process the census data and to publish the results in time.
      • Experts point out that the government is planning to use GPS to mark the enumeration block boundaries, but these technologies are still evolving in India and are very costly.
    • High internet penetration, widespread computer literacy and accessibility are also important in the digitally driven census.

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