Home   »   Current Affairs 6th October, 2023

Current Affairs 6th October 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 6th October 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Freedom on the Net 2023 Report

Context: Global internet freedom declined for a thirteenth consecutive year in 2023, according to the Freedom on the Net 2023 Report.

About the Freedom on the Net 2023 Report

  • It’s an annual report published by the Freedom House.
    • Freedom House is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.
    • It conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights.
    • Freedom House also publishes the Freedom in the World report annually.
  • The report assessed the state of internet freedom in 70 countries based on the following five censorship methods:
    • Internet connectivity restrictions,
    • blocks on social media platforms,
    • blocks on websites,
    • blocks on VPNs, and
    • forced removal of content.

Major Findings of the Report

Decline in internet freedom
  • Global internet freedom declined for the 13th consecutive year.
  • In 55 of the 70 countries assessed for the report, people faced legal repercussions for online expression.
  • And in 41 of the countries, people were assaulted or killed as a result of what they said online.
AI and online freedom
  • Advances in AI contributed to declining online freedom in two major ways:
    • First, AI-based tools have been increasingly used to spread disinformation.
    • Second, AI has also been used to make content censorship more efficient.
Global Rankings
  • China was the world’s worst environment for internet freedom for the eighth consecutive year, followed by Myanmar.
  • The sharpest rise in digital repression was witnessed in Iran, where authorities shut down Internet service, blocked WhatsApp and Instagram, and increased surveillance to suppress anti-government protests.
Internet freedom in India
  • According to the report, India’s internet freedom score improved by 2 points.
  • India is now at 51st position (49 position in 2021) in the global ranking following efforts to bridge the digital divide in the country.
  • As per the report, ways in which internet freedom curbed in India:
    • India engaged in all censorship methods except one (VPN blocking).
    • The Information Technology Rules of 2021 require social media companies to use AI-based tools to remove content deemed illegal under local law.
    • The report warned that as the country prepares for the general elections in 2024, the government’s expanding censorship regime is creating an uneven playing field by silencing criticism.

Current Affairs 5th October 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam


Legislative Privileges

Context: A seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in the case of Sita Soren vs. Union of India, reserved its earlier judgment given in the P V Narasimha Rao case in 1998 with respect to legislative privileges.

More on the news

  • In the P V Narasimha Rao case 1988, the Supreme Court held that legislators were immune to prosecution on bribery charges for their speech or vote in Parliament.

What are Legislative Privileges?

  • Legislative Privileges are special rights and immunities enjoyed by the legislators for effective discharge of their legislative functions.
  • These privileges are modelled on the Privilege Pattern of the British Parliament.
  • Constitutional provisions: Article 105 and Article 194 of the Indian Constitution lay down the powers, privileges and immunities of Members of Parliament (MPs) and State Assemblies respectively.
    • Also, the Constitution gives the Legislature the right to define by law their powers and privileges.
      • No law has so far been enacted by Parliament (and State Legislatures) in this regard.
    • These privileges are considered as special provisions and have an overriding effect in conflict.
    • The Constitution has also extended these privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House or any of its committees. For example, the Attorney General of India.
    • However, these privileges do not extend to the President (or Governor) who is also an integral part of the Parliament (or state legislature).
  • Sources of legislative privileges in India:
    • Constitutional provisions,
    • Various laws made by Parliament,
    • Rules of both the Houses,
    • Parliamentary conventions,
    • Judicial interpretations.
    • List of Privileges Enjoyed by the Members of Legislature

The following privileges are available to members of Parliament and members of State Legislatures:

  • Freedom of Speech Article 105(1) and Article 194(1): This means that members of Parliament and State Legislatures cannot be held liable for anything they say or vote on in their respective Houses.
  • Freedom of publication of proceedings Article 105(2) and Article 194(2): This means that, the members of the Houses cannot be made liable if they publish any proceedings of the House under the Authority of the House.
  • Freedom from Arrest: Any member of the House cannot be arrested in a civil proceeding within 40 days before and after the session of the House. If he is arrested, he must be released to let him attend the Session.
    • But a member can be arrested in a criminal proceeding, but the detaining authority must notify the House the reason, time, place of his detention.
  • Right to exclude strangers: When a secret sitting is going on the presiding officer of the house to order the strangers to withdraw from the chamber, lobby. (Rule 248 Lok Sabha)
  • Right to Prohibit the Publication of proceedings: The presiding officer of the house may declare that a certain part of the proceedings is not to be published. Any person doing so may be punished under the Contempt of house as per as the rules made by the house.
  • Right to regulate internal proceedings: The Houses have the power to make rules to regulate their proceedings. No one can interfere in that even the judiciary.
    • Article 122 and 212 provides that the validity of proceedings cannot be called in question on ground of any irregularity.
  • Right to punish for contempt of the House: If any person either the member or a non-member breaks any rule of the house, he may be punished according. For example, a member may be expelled from the House.

Privileges and Fundamental Rights – Which will have supremacy?

  • In Gunpathi K. Reddi v. Nafisul Hasan, the Supreme Court held that Articles 105 and 194 are subject to Fundamental rights contained in Part III of the Constitution.
  • But in M.S.M Sharma v. S.K. Sinha, the Supreme Court held that in case of conflict between Fundamental Rights under 19(1) (a) and Article 105 (Article 194), the latter would have primacy.
  • But this is not a strict rule and applicable in all cases that Privileges would prevail over the fundamental rights. The decision in M.S.M case is only for Article 19(1)(a).



Context: The Chief Minister of Punjab has recently announced that the state will ban the cultivation of the PUSA-44 paddy variety from next year onwards .


  • Definition: PUSA-44 is a dominant rice variety grown extensively in Punjab.
    • It was developed in 1993 by the Delhi-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

Current Affairs 6th October 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1

  • Features:
    • High Yield:  Per acre yield from PUSA-44 is up to 6 quintals more than other varieties of paddy.
    • More Profit: Currently, the Minimum Support Price offered for paddy is Rs 2,205 per quintal, so if it yields farmers 7-10 quintals more than the other varieties, then it will add to farmers’ income by Rs 15,000 to 22,000 per acre.
  • Problems: 
    • More Time to Ripe: PUSA-44 is a long-duration variety, taking around 160 days to mature than recommended parmal rice (PR) varieties.
    • Water Intensive Causing Ground Water Depletion: Requiring 5-6 extra cycles of irrigation PUSA 44 stresses the groundwater, requires higher chemical load and more use of electricity to run tube wells.
    • Stubble Burning: It contributes to severe levels of air pollution in most parts of north India during the winter as due to its extended maturity period, it is harvested just before the sowing of wheat( end of October) while the ideal time for wheat sowing is November 1.
      • Farmers need 20 to 25 days between paddy harvesting and wheat sowing to manage stubble disposal properly.
      • This limited timeframe makes it challenging to manage stubble through in-situ and ex-situ methods (within the fields and outside the fields, respectively), leading to increased incidents of stubble burning.
  • Crop Residue: Post-harvest organic waste generation is higher in this variety that further contributes to pollution when stubble is burnt.
  • High Input Cost: There is also a high cost of input and machinery required for cultivation of PUSA 44.


Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11)

Context: India’s first genetically modified mustard crop Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11) has failed to meet the minimum weight criteria required for the commercial release as seed.

Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11)

  • A transgenic mustard developed indigenously  by Delhi University for its seed production and testing.
  • It is a Herbicide Tolerant (HT) mustard variety that has undergone genetic modification.
  • It has two alien genes “barnase” and “barstar“, isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus, amyloliquefaciens.
  • It has been developed by crossing a popular Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (the barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar).
  • At present, Cotton is the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in India.

Current Affairs 6th October 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam_5.1

Significance of DHARA Mustard Hybrid

  • DMH-11 is claimed to have shown an average 28% yield increase over Varuna.
  • India produces only 8.5-9 million tonnes (mt) of edible oil annually while it imports 14-14.5 mt which entailed a record foreign exchange outgo of USD 18.99 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022.
  • Further, GM mustard would make India self-reliant in oil production and help in saving forex.

Problems with Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH-11)

  • GM mustard is a herbicide-tolerant crop and toxic chemicals sprayed on the plant would impact the health of the people consuming it.
  • It is also environmentally unsustainable and does not suit Indian agricultural conditions.
  • GM mustard did not get tested as a herbicide-tolerant (HT) crop because there are no regulatory guidelines and protocols for HT crops. 

What are Transgenic Crops?

  • Transgenic crops, also known as genetically modified (GM) crops are plants that have been modified through the introduction of genetic material from a different organism.
  • The process of creating transgenic crops involves isolating a desirable gene from one organism and inserting it into the genetic material of the target crop plant.
  • This gene is selected because it imparts a specific desirable trait, such as resistance to pests, tolerance to herbicides, improved nutritional content, or enhanced productivity.

Benefits of Transgenic Crops (or GM crops)

  • Increased crop yield and productivity: GM crops are often engineered to possess traits that enhance their yield potential. This includes traits like improved resistance to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses, as well as increased tolerance to herbicides.
  • Nutritional security: Genetic engineering can be used to improve the nutritional composition of crops. For example, biofortified GM crops can be developed to have higher levels of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
  • Economic benefits: GM crops can provide economic benefits to farmers, such as increased yields, reduced input costs (e.g., pesticides, herbicides), and improved marketability of their produce.

Concerns with Transgenic Crops

  • Environmental impact: There is a possibility of gene flow from GM crops to wild relatives, leading to unintended effects on biodiversity and ecosystem balance.
  • Development of superweeds: There is a risk that genes from GM crops could transfer to related weed species, leading to the development of herbicide-resistant “superweeds.”
  • Emergence of insect resistance: The continuous cultivation of GM crops expressing insecticidal traits, such as Bt crops, can lead to the evolution of insect populations that are resistant to the specific toxins produced by the GM crops.
  • Human health concerns: Health risks associated with GM foods are concerned with toxins, allergens, or genetic hazards.
  • Socio-economic impacts: The adoption of GM crops can have differential impacts on wealthier and poorer farmers, with wealthier farmers more likely to benefit due to their greater financial resources, access to information, and market connections.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *