The Hindu Newspaper Analysis for UPSC
- Come April and it will be 50 years since the Supreme Court of India delivered its verdict in Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala. The judgment is widely recognised as a milestone in India’s history. In holding that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution was not plenary, that any change that damages the document’s basic structure would be declared void, the Court, it was understood, had helped preserve the essence of our republic.
- Over the course of the last few months, not a day has gone by without one member or the other of the political executive excoriating the Court over its apparent excesses.
- To be sure, genuine criticism of both the Collegium’s functioning and the Court’s judgment upholding the body’s legality ought to be welcomed.
- On any reasonable reading of constitutional history, one can see that the Constitution is a product of a collective vision.
- That vision was built on distinct, if interwoven, ideals: among others, that India would be governed by the rule of law, that our structure of governance would rest on Westminster parliamentarianism, that the powers of the legislature, the executive and the judiciary would be separate, that the courts would be independent of government, and that our States would have absolute power over defined spheres of governance.
- Since its judgment in Kesavananda, the Supreme Court has identified several features that are immutable. There is no doubt that on occasion, the Court’s interpretation of these features has suffered from incoherence. But to suggest that the basic structure doctrine is by itself unsanctioned is to place the Constitution at the legislature’s whim.
- There is little doubt that the Government’s anger is towards the 2015 judgment of a Constitution Bench striking down the formation of a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). While few would disagree that the Collegium system needs reform, the Government’s motive in carrying on a campaign against the judiciary in the name of seeking reform in the appointments process is questionable.
- The answers to some of the issues raised by the Government are quite simple, and has been repeatedly pointed out by the Court, as well as the political opposition. It can address the need for a more transparent and independent process by making a fresh legislative effort to establish a neutral mechanism that does not impinge on the independence of the judiciary.
- The deaths of five men in Tamil Nadu in as many events of jallikattu and manjuviratu — in Madurai, Tiruchi, Sivaganga, Pudukottai and Karur districts — and injuries to dozens of persons this week, though unfortunate, are no surprise.
- Ever since the event resumed in January 2017 after a three-year ban and a massive agitation, participants and spectators alike have been its victims.
- According to the Animal Welfare Board of India, between 2008-14, there have been 43 deaths and thousands of injuries.
- The Supreme Court of India has reserved its judgment on a batch of petitions questioning the validity of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act of 2017.
What is Jallikattu?
- The bull-taming sport is popular in Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts known as the Jallikattu belt.
- Jallikattu is celebrated in the second week of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.
- A tradition over 2,000 years old, Jallikattu is a competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull owners who rear them for mating.
- It is a violent sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.
- One of the most disquieting puzzles the Indian strategic community has been confronted with since 2020 are the sources of New Delhi’s underbalancing behaviour towards China.
- To begin with, there is a growing consciousness within the government and the larger strategic community in India that China is a threat to India’s national security.
- New Delhi’s China strategy is akin to closing one’s eyes and pretending it is dark around.
- To begin with, it is neither possible nor desirable for India to actively man the entire LAC with China.
- Secondly, responding to China could potentially spread the fight, thereby creating more flashpoints on the LAC, something New Delhi wants to avoid. Thirdly, India’s underbalancing behaviour is also a result of the uncertain outcomes of a military escalation with a superior power.
- There seems to be a strong strand of thinking in New Delhi that we should wait to build our capability to take on the China threat. But such a strategy of ‘threat postponement’ is based on misplaced optimism as China will continue to grow stronger than India.
- One, potential strategy is calibrated escalation. New Delhi could employ a tit-for-tat strategy and consider occupying unmanned areas on the Chinese side.
- Two, New Delhi could further raise the economic costsfor China by reducing high tech Chinese imports in select areas.
- Three, it is perhaps an opportune moment for New Delhi to consider nuclear modernisation and perhaps even develop low yield weapons.
- As schools reopened after nearly two years of closure due to COVID-19, student enrolments increased to more than pre-pandemic levels, but the learning gap widened for foundational skills in reading and arithmetic, reversing several years of improvement, finds the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2022, released by Pratham, a non-governmental organisation, on Wednesday.
- The national-level study shows that despite school closures during the pandemic, the overall enrolment figures, which have been above 95% for the past 15 years for the six-to-14 age group, increased from 97.2% in 2018 to 98.4% in 2022.
- The ASER is a household survey conducted across 616 rural districts covering 6.9 lakh children in the three-to-16 age group to record their schooling status and assess their basic reading and arithmetic skills.
- The report is being brought out after four years and records the impact of school closures in 2020 and 2021, as well as the return to school of children in 2022.
- The proportion of children in the three-to-16 age group who are not currently enrolled dropped to its lowest level ever from 2.8% to 1.6% in 2018, when the last full-scale ASER survey was conducted.
- Government schools have seen a sharp increase in children enrolled from 65.6% in 2018 to 72.9% in 2022, reversing another trend of a steady decrease in student enrolments seen since 2006, when it was at 73.4%.
- basic literacy levels of children have taken a big hit, with their reading ability, as compared with numeracy skills, worsening much more sharply and dropping to pre-2012 levels
- While families withdrew students from private schools to save money on fees, they invested in private tuitions, which increased as the proportion of such students rose from 26.4% in 2018 to 30.5% in 2022 in private and government schools. This may be the reason learning gaps are sharper in reading because students typically choose to study maths and science in tuition classes.
Q) Exercise VARUNA is a joint Navy exercise between which countries?
- India and France
- India and Thailand
- India and Seychelles
- India and Indonesia
अभ्यास वरुण किन देशों के बीच एक संयुक्त नौसेना अभ्यास है?
- भारत और फ्रांस
- भारत और थाईलैंड
- भारत और सेशेल्स
- भारत और इंडोनेशिया
Recently the 21st Edition of the Bilateral Naval Exercise Varuna-2023 commenced on the Western Seaboard.
- It is the Bilateral Naval Exercise between India and France.
- This bilateral exercise between the two navies was initiated in 1993.
- It was named ‘VARUNA’ in 2001 and has become a hallmark of India France strategic bilateral relationship.
- This edition will witness the participation of indigenous guided missile stealth destroyer INS Chennai, guided missile frigate INS Teg, maritime patrol aircraft P-8I and Dornier, integral helicopters and MiG29K fighter aircraft.
- The French Navy will be represented by the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, frigates FS Forbin and Provence, support vessel FS Marne and maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique.
- The exercise will be conducted over five days from 16 to 20 January 2023 and will witness advanced air defence exercises, tactical manoeuvres, surface firings, underway replenishment and other maritime operations.
Q) With reference to the Snow leopard, consider the following statements:
- It is only found in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- It is categorized as a vulnerable species under the IUCN Red List.
Which of the above statements is/are Incorrect?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
हिम तेंदुए के संदर्भ में निम्नलिखित कथनों पर विचार कीजिये:
- यह केवल हिमाचल प्रदेश राज्य में पाया जाता है।
- इसे IUCN रेड लिस्ट के तहत एक कमजोर प्रजाति के रूप में वर्गीकृत किया गया है।
उपरोक्त में से कौन सा/से कथन गलत है/हैं?
- केवल 1
- केवल 2
- 1 और 2 दोनों
- न तो 1 और न ही 2
Recently 4 snow leopards were spotted in a rare sighting in Himachal Pradesh.
- It is found in the mountainous regions of central and southern Asia.
- In India, it is seen in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
- The Hemis National Park has a good presence of Snow Leopard.
- They play a key role as a top predator, an indicator of the health of their high-altitude habitat, and, increasingly, an important indicator of the impacts of climate change on mountain environments.
What is the Conservation status?
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
- Under CITES: It is listed in Appendix I
- Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule I
Q) What is the main purpose of the Governor’s Address to the State Legislature?
- To outline the legislative agenda for the upcoming session
- To discuss the state’s budget and financial plans
- To review the state’s progress and achievements in the previous year
- All of the above
राज्य विधानमंडल में राज्यपाल के अभिभाषण का मुख्य उद्देश्य क्या है?
- आगामी सत्र के लिए विधायी एजेंडा की रूपरेखा तैयार करना
- राज्य के बजट और वित्तीय योजनाओं पर चर्चा करना
- पिछले वर्ष में राज्य की प्रगति और उपलब्धियों की समीक्षा करना
- उपरोक्त सभी
- The Governor’s Address to the State Legislature is a formal speech given by the Governor of a state in India at the beginning of the legislative session.
- The speech outlines the legislative agenda for the upcoming session, discusses the state’s budget and financial plans, and reviews the state’s progress and achievements in the previous year.
Q) What is the main goal of India’s National Clean Air Programme?
- To reduce air pollution in urban areas
- To increase the use of renewable energy sources
- To improve water quality in India
- To promote sustainable transportation
भारत के राष्ट्रीय स्वच्छ वायु कार्यक्रम का मुख्य लक्ष्य क्या है?
- शहरी क्षेत्रों में वायु प्रदूषण को कम करने के लिए
- नवीकरणीय ऊर्जा स्रोतों के उपयोग को बढ़ाने के लिए
- भारत में पानी की गुणवत्ता में सुधार करने के लिए
- टिकाऊ परिवहन को बढ़ावा देने के लिए
Explanation: The mandate of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP); –
- The goal of NCAP (annual average ambient air quality standards at all locations in the country): 20%–30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by taking 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
- Under NCAP, 132 non-attainment cities have been identified across the country based on the Air Quality data from 2014-2018.
- Preparation of the city-specific action plans including measures to strengthen the monitoring network, reduce vehicular/industrial emissions, and increase public awareness.
- Implementation of the city-specific action plans to be regularly monitored by Committees at the Central and State level namely Steering Committee, Monitoring Committee and Implementation Committee.
Q) Magh Bihu is a harvest festival of
माघ बिहू फसल कटाई का त्योहार है
Explanation: About Magh Bihu:
- It is a harvest festival of Assam where people express gratitude for a good harvest and marks the end of the harvest season.
- It believes in sharing the gifts of nature as a community and strengthening a sense of identity and belonging.
- The festival of Bihu has three forms: Bohag Bihu, Kati Bihu, and Magh Bihu. Each of these falls in the agriculture calendar.
Mains Practice Question:
Q) For India to be heard as the ‘Voice of the Global South at the G20’, it must reflect on the aspirations of the other nations and amplify them. Explain (150 words)
भारत को ‘जी20 में वैश्विक दक्षिण की आवाज’ के रूप में सुने जाने के लिए, इसे अन्य देशों की आकांक्षाओं को प्रतिबिंबित करना चाहिए और उन्हें बढ़ाना चाहिए। समझाना (150 शब्द)