1st May 2023 Current Affairs
May 1, 2023
3rd May 2023 – Current Affairs
May 3, 2023
Show all

2nd May 2023 – Current Affairs

GS 2 : Indian Constitution – historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

Re-examination of Sedition Law –

The Centre has informed Supreme Court that it has initiated the “process of re-examination” of Section 124A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code and consultations are in its “final stage”.

What is the Sedition Law?

  1. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code lays down the punishment for sedition. The IPC was enacted in 1860, under the British Raj.
  2. The then British government in India feared that religious preachers on the Indian subcontinent would wage a war against the government.
  3. Particularly after the successful suppression of the Wahabi/Waliullah Movement by the British, the need was felt for such law.
  4. Throughout the Raj, this section was used to suppress activists in favor of national independence, including Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi, both of whom were found guilty and imprisoned.

What is Sedition?

The Section 124A defines sedition as: An offence committed when “any person by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India”.

  1. Disaffection includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
  2. However, comments without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, will not constitute an offense.
  3. Sedition is a non-bailable offense.
  4. Punishment under Section 124A ranges fromimprisonment up to three years to a lifeterm with/without a fine.

Sedition as a cognizable offense –

Sedition was made a cognizable offense for the first time in history in India during the tenure of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1973, that is, arrest without a warrant was now permissible.

In 1962 the Supreme Court of India interpreted the section to apply only if there is, say, “incitement to violence” or “overthrowing a democratically elected government through violent means”.

Is it constitutionally valid?

  1. Violative of FRs:Two high courts had found it unconstitutional after Independence, as it violated the freedom of speech and expression.
  2. Reasonable restrictions:The Constitution was amended to include ‘public order’ as one of the ‘reasonable restrictions’ on which free speech could be abridged by law.
  3. Kedar Nath Case:Thereafter, the Supreme Court, in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar (1962) upheld its validity.
  4. Limited use:At the same time, it limited its application to acts that involve “intention or tendency to create disorder” or incitement to violence.
  5. Strong criticism doesn’t amount to sedition:Thus, even strongly worded remarks, as long as they do not excite disloyalty and enmity, or incite violence, are not an offence under this section.

Why the controversy now?

  1. Frequent use:In recent times, the resort to this section is seen as disturbingly frequent.
  2. Curbing dissent:Activists, cartoonists and intellectuals have been arrested under this section, drawing criticism from liberals that it is being used to suppress dissent and silence critics.
  3. Misuse for propaganda: Authorities and the police who invoke this section defend the measure as a necessary step to prevent public disorder and anti-national activities.
  4. Irrelevance:Many of them have also been detained under the National Security Act and UAPA.

What is being debated about it?

  1. Demand for its scrapping:Liberals and rights activists have been demanding the scrapping of Section 124A.
  2. Provision is outdated:It is argued that the provision is “overboard”, i.e., it defines the offence in wide terms threatening the liberty of citizens.
  3. Various calls for its reconsideration:The Law Commission has also called for a reconsideration of the section.
  4. Tyranny of the law:It has pointed that Britain abolished it more than a decade ago and raised the question of whether a provision introduced by the British to put down the freedom struggle should continue to be law in India.
  5. Doctrine of severability: Some argue that a presumption of constitutionality does not apply to pre-constitutional laws as those laws have been made by foreign legislature or bodies.

Need for such law

  1. There are some tendencies exist even today who wish to overthrow the state apparatus and constitutional scheme of India.
  2. It falls on the judiciary to protect Articles 19 and Article 21 of the Constitution.
  3. Undue exercise of free speech has led to overture of ordinary dissent into an anti-national insurrection or uprising.
  4. There are areas in the country that face hostile activities and insurgencies created by rebel groups, like the Maoists.
  5. There must be restrictions on expressing unnecessary contempt or ridiculing of the Government beyond certain limits.

Way forward

  1. India is the largest democracy in the world and the right to free speech and expression is an essential ingredient of democracy.
  2. The sedition law should not be abolished as some measures are needed to check communal violence & insurgency activities like Naxals.
  3. The definition of sedition should be narrowed down, to include only the issues pertaining to the territorial integrity of India as well as the sovereignty of the country.
  4. Section 124A should not be misused as a tool to curb free speech.


GS 3 : Security of India – Defence Forces

DRDO & Indian Navy conducts successful maiden test trial of Air Droppable Container -150 in Goa

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Navy conducted the successful maiden test trial of ‘Air Droppable Container -150 (ADC) from IL 38SD aircraft off the coast of Goa.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said that ADC-150’ is an indigenously designed and developed Air Droppable Container with 150 kg payload capacity. The Ministry said the trial was conducted to enhance the naval operational logistics capabilities by providing quick response to meet the requirement of critical engineering stores to ships, which are deployed more than 2,000 kms from the coast.

It reduces the requirement for ships to come close to the coast to collect spares and stores. Three DRDO laboratories, Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam; Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra and Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru have been involved in the development of ADC-150 container.


GS 3 : Indian Economy

India achieves highest ever GST revenue collection of over one lakh 87 thousand crore rupees in April 2023 –

The gross Goods and Services Tax, GST revenue collected in April this year is the highest ever at over one lakh 87 thousand crore rupees. Out of the total revenue, Central Goods and Services Tax, CGST is 38 thousand 440 crore rupees, State Goods and Services tax, SGST is 47 thousand 412 crore rupees, Integrated Goods and Services Tax, IGST is 89 thousand 158 crore rupees and cess is over 12 thousand crore rupees. The Finance Ministry said, the revenues for the month of April this year are 12 per cent higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year.


GS 3 : Indian Economy – Issues related to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

India & China expected to contribute nearly half of global growth this year, says IMF report –

The International Monetary Fund has said the growth in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region largely led by India and China is projected to increase to 4.6 per cent this year from that of 3.8 per cent recorded in 2022.
In its Regional Economic Outlook – Asia and Pacific report released on Tuesday, the Washington-based fund said the region would contribute around 70 per cent of global growth. Asia and Pacific will be the most dynamic of the world’s major regions in 2023, predominantly driven by the buoyant outlook for China and India,” the IMF report said, adding that the two largest emerging market economies of the region are expected to contribute around half of global growth this year, with the rest of Asia and Pacific contributing an additional fifth. Asia’s dynamism will be driven primarily by the recovery in China and resilient growth in India, while growth in the rest of Asia is expected to bottom out in 2023, in line with other regions,” it added.

Meanwhile, IMF said 2023 looks to be a challenging year for the global economy, with global growth decelerating as the effects of monetary policy tightening and Russia’s war in Ukraine continue to weigh on economic activity. Also, persistent inflationary pressures, and recent financial sector problems in the US and Europe, inject additional uncertainty into an “already complex economic landscape”, it said.


GS 2 : International Relations – effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests

India’s Diplomacy amid Ukraine war –

The war in Ukraine has had a ripple effect on global political and financial systems, leading to shortages of essential commodities and rising prices. The conflict is rooted in Putin’s revanchist claims that Ukraine is an inalienable part of Russia’s history, culture, and spiritual space. On the other hand, Putin accuses the US and Europe of violating their assurance to Gorbachev that NATO would not advance eastward. The crisis poses a dilemma for India, which must balance its partnerships with Russia and China in the BRICS and SCO formats while maintaining strategic autonomy.

Two Essential Facets of the Conflict?

  1. Putin’s Assertion of Russia’s Dominance:Vladimir Putin argues that Ukraine is not a sovereign nation and that it is an inalienable part of Russia’s history, culture, and spiritual space. He makes revanchist claims to camouflage Russia’s quest for dominance. Such claims are echoed in China’s Nine-dash line in the South China Sea, its occupation of India’s Aksai Chin, and blatant claims on Arunachal Pradesh.
  2. Alleged Violation of NATO’s Assurance:Putin accuses the US and Europe of bad faith, citing the assurance given to a worried Gorbachev that NATO would advance not an inch eastward. This solemn undertaking was allegedly violated when NATO enlisted 10 former Warsaw Pact members in the next decade. With Finland as the latest entrant, NATO is now 31-strong, and Russia feels truly cornered.

Impact of the war in Ukraine on global political and financial systems

  1. Shortages of Essential Commodities:Ukraine is a key contributor of grain, edible oil, and fertilizers to the world’s supply chains, and Russia is a major exporter of natural gas and crude oil. The war has disrupted the production and transportation of these commodities, leading to shortages and rising prices.
  2. Falling Stock Markets:The war in Ukraine has caused a decline in global stock markets as investors become increasingly nervous about the economic impact of the conflict.
  3. Public Discontent and Political Upheaval:The shortages of essential commodities and rising prices have led to public discontent and even political upheaval in some countries. For example, in India, rising fuel prices have led to widespread protests and political unrest.
  4. Realignment of Global Alliances:The war in Ukraine has led to a realignment of global alliances as countries seek alternate sources of food, energy, commodities, and arms. This has resulted in a polarisation of the global community and realignments in diplomatic relations.
  5. Economic Sanctions:The international community has imposed economic sanctions on Russia in response to its actions in Ukraine, which have had a significant impact on the Russian economy.
  6. Threat of Nuclear War: The conflict in Ukraine has raised concerns about the possibility of a nuclear war, particularly given Putin’s reckless nuclear sabre-rattling.

What is the Dilemma for India?

  1. India’s Engagement with Russia and China:India is engaged with Russia and China in various multilateral forums, including the BRICS format and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). At the same time, India is partnering with the US in the Quad and Malabar groupings. The conflict in Ukraine has created a complex situation for India as it seeks to maintain strategic autonomy while engaging with multiple partners.
  2. Security Environment:India’s security environment is of paramount concern, given the recent Poonch ambush and persistent cross-border terrorism by the Pakistan army-ISI combine. In addition, there is stonewalling of Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh’s demarche about the violation of existing agreements by his Chinese counterpart, Li Shangfu.
  3. Lack of Defense Technology:India is a nuclear-weapon state and space power with the world’s fourth-largest military. However, the lackadaisical performance of its military-industrial complex has rendered it abjectly import-dependent for weaponry. India seeks to promote its atmanirbharta (self-reliance) policy, but technology has long gestation periods, and India needs to acquire defense technology from its partners.

How Quad and Malabar Groupings can help India? 

  1. Convergence of strategic interests:The Quad and Malabar groupings represent a convergence of strategic interests between India and the US, which can help India strengthen its security and diplomatic ties with the US, Japan, and Australia.
  2. Military-diplomatic purpose:These forums serve a useful military-diplomatic purpose, allowing India to deepen its military cooperation with the US and other Quad members, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.
  3. Power-balancing:India needs to accord priority to power-balancing on its diplomatic agenda, and the Quad and Malabar Groupings can play a significant role in this regard. India can leverage these groupings to balance China’s growing influence in the region.
  4. Technology acquisition:India is abjectly import-dependent for weaponry and needs to acquire advanced technologies to address its security concerns. The Quad and Malabar Groupings can help India access advanced military technologies from the US, Japan, and Australia, which can enhance India’s defense capabilities.

Way ahead: Self-reliance in defence production and reduce dependence ?

  1. Invest in R&D:India should invest heavily in research and development (R&D) to develop cutting-edge military technologies indigenously. This can help reduce India’s dependence on imports and enhance its military capabilities.
  2. Promote Public-Private Partnership (PPP):India can promote PPPs to encourage private sector participation in defence production. This can help bring in much-needed investment, innovation, and expertise into the defence sector, thereby enhancing India’s defence capabilities.
  3. Facilitate Technology Transfer:India can facilitate technology transfer from foreign defence manufacturers to domestic firms to enhance their technological capabilities. This can help Indian companies acquire critical technologies and expertise, which can be leveraged to develop advanced military systems indigenously.
  4. Focus on Export: India should focus on promoting defence exports to enhance its defence manufacturing base and generate much-needed revenue. This can help reduce the cost of domestic production and make Indian defence products globally competitive.


GS 2 : Structure, organization & functioning of the Executive & Judiciary

Supreme Court uses its plenary power under Article 142 for speedy Divorce by mutual consent –

Supreme Court has ruled that it can dissolve a marriage on the ground of irretrievable breakdown, using its power under Article 142(1), without referring the parties to family court for waiting period of 6-18 months for mutual consent divorce.

What is Article 142?

Article 142 titled ‘Enforcement of decrees and orders of the Supreme Court and orders as to discovery, etc.’ has two clauses:

[1] Article 142(1)

  1. The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
  2. Any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.
  3. It may be in such manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such manner as the President may by order prescribe.

[2] Article 142(2)

  1. The Supreme Court shall have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person, the discovery or production of any documents, or the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself.

History of Article 142

  1. When a draft Constitution was prepared by the drafting committee and placed before the Constituent Assembly, Article 142 was actually numbered as Article 118.
  2. It was placed before the Constituent Assembly on May 27, 1949 for debate but got adopted on the same day without any debate.
  3. This was possibly because everyone agreed that in order to ensure judicial independence, the highest court of the country must be empowered with plenary power to do complete justice.

Article 142 in Divorce Cases –

(1) Current Divorce Process

  1. The Hindu Marriage Act allows for “divorce by mutual consent.”
  2. Both parties must file a petition to the district court, citing that they have been living separately for at least one year and mutually agree to dissolve the marriage.
  3. The parties must then move a second motion before the court, no earlier than six months after filing the first petition and no later than 18 months after the same date.

(2) Factors considered for irretrievable breakdown

The Court must be convinced that the marriage is “totally unworkable, emotionally dead, and beyond salvation.” The following factors can be considered:

  1. The period of time that the parties had cohabited after marriage
  2. When the parties had last cohabited
  3. Nature of allegations made by the parties against each other and their family members
  4. Orders passed in the legal proceedings from time to time
  5. Cumulative impact on the personal relationship
  6. Whether and how many attempts were made to settle the disputes by a court or through mediation, and when the last attempt was made.
  7. The period of separation should be sufficiently long, and anything above six years or more will be a relevant factor.
  8. It is necessary to evaluate the factors according to the economic and social status of the parties, including their educational qualifications, whether they have any children, their age, and whether the spouse and children are dependents.


GS 2 : Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India

India – ASEAN maritime exercise in South China Sea –

India is increasing military cooperation with ASEAN countries, with a special emphasis on the upcoming ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME) in the South China Sea.

ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise –

  1. The first ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME) is set to commence on May 2, 2023, with war games to be held in the South China Sea.
  2. INS Satpura and INS Delhi will participate in the exercise.
  3. The exercise is divided into two phases: ‘Harbour Phase’ and ‘Sea Phase.’
  4. The exercise is aimed at fostering close cooperation and conducting seamless operations in the maritime domain between the Indian Navy and ASEAN navies.

Why such exercise?

1. Defying territorial claims: The South China Sea is a critical waterway that connects the Indian Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, and it is also a contested region where multiple countries have territorial claims.

  1. Support freedom of navigation:Conducting exercises in this region allows India to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining freedom of navigation and upholding international maritime laws.
  2. Indo-Pacific Strategy:India’s growing strategic ties with ASEAN are part of its broader Indo-Pacific strategy, which seeks to promote a rules-based order and ensure stability in the region.
  3. Counterbalancing China:As China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific grows, India sees ASEAN as a key partner in balancing China’s assertiveness and promoting regional stability.

India’s stakes in South China Sea –

The South China Sea plays a critical role in India’s security and well-being as-

  1. Global common:The SCS is not China’s sea, but a global common.
  2. Unimpeded navigation:It has been an important sea-lane of communication for centuries, and passage has been unimpeded. Indians have sailed these waters for well over 1,500 years with a continuous trading presence.
  3. Global trade chokepoint:Nearly $200 billion of India’s trade passes through the South China Sea, and thousands of Indian citizens study, work and invest in ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Key significance: India’s Responsiveness to ASEAN –

India needs to be responsive to ASEAN’s expectations.

  1. Meeting ASEAN’s aspirations:While strategic partnerships and high-level engagements are important, ASEAN expects longer-lasting buy-ins by India in their future.
  2. History of lesser importance given by India:ASEAN has taken the initiative time and again to involve India in Indo-Pacific affairs, even though India’s current level of trade or investment with ASEAN does not make a compelling argument.
  3. Broader perception of India as key partner:ASEAN has deliberately taken a longer-term view, given the importance of regional arrangements for economic recovery and rejuvenation.


GS 1 : Arts & Culture

Copper plates decoded reveal new information on Shilabhattarika –

The discovery of new information on the celebrated ancient Sanskrit poetess Shilabhattarika through the decoding of copper plates by the Pune-based Bhandarkar Institute.

Who was Shilabhattarika?

  1. Shilabhattarika was a 9th-century Sanskrit poet from India.
  2. She lived near the Narmada River and the Vindhya mountains.
  3. Her poetic skills were praised by medieval Sanskrit literary critics.
  4. It is speculated that she may be the same as Shilamahadevi, the queen of 8th-century Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruv.
  5. According to recent research, she was the daughter of Chalukya ruler Pulakeshin II.

Her literary works –

  1. Shilabhattarika is known to have written at least 46 poems on various topics, such as love, morality, politics, nature, beauty, the seasons, insects, anger, indignation, codes of conduct, and the characteristic features of various kinds of heroines.
  2. Shilabhattarika is considered a leading figure of thePanchali literary style, which maintains “a balance between words and meaning”.
  3. According to Rajashekhara, the Panchali style can be traced to the works of Shilabhattarika, and possibly in some of the works of the7th-century poet Bana.
  4. Sharangadhara-paddhati, a 14th-century anthology, praises her and three other female poets for their great poetic genius and erudition.
  5. One of the most iconic songs of the noted Marathi poetessShanta Shelke, “toch chandrama nabhat” (it is the same moon in the sky), draws inspiration from the verses of Shilabhattarika.

Key findings of the recent research

  1. The research analyzed a copperplate charter consisting of 5 copper plates dating back to the reign of Badami Chalukyan ruler Vijayaditya (696-733 CE).
  2. The plates were held together by a copper ring that bore thevaraha (boar) seal, which is the trademark of theBadami Chalukyas.
  3. The Sanskrit text inscribed in late-Brahmi script contained a total of 65 lines.
  4. The charter revealed thatKing Vijayaditya Chalukyahad donated the village of Chigateri to a scholar named Vishnu Sharma, based on the recommendation of Mahendravarma, Shilabhattarika’s son.
  5. Shilabhattarika’s husband, Dadiga, was deputed as the governor of Kogali, while his elder brother Polavira succeeded their father Mokkara as the ruler of the Western Ganga dynasty, which acted as subordinates to the Chalukyas of Badami and fought against the Pallavas of Kanchi.
  6. The plates also mentioned the names of Shilabhattarika’s father-in-law, Mokkara (or Mushkara), and his father, Durvinita, who was a proficient composer and had patronized Bharavi, the author of the classical epic Kiratarjuniya.


GS 2 : Issues related to Health

A total of 117 passengers of Indian Origin that have arrived from Sudan are currently quarantined because they were not vaccinated against Yellow Fever –

  1. Yellow fever is often associated with jaundice, hence the name yellow.
  2. Yellow fever occurs in 47 endemic countries in Africa in Central and South America. Around 90% of cases reported every year occur in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  3. The yellow fever virus is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, most commonly from the Aedes species – the same mosquito that spreads the Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue virus. Haemogogus mosquitoes also spread it and are mostly found in the jungle.
  4. The disease cannot be spread by contact from one person to another.
  5. Once contracted, the yellow fever virus incubates in the body for 3 to 6 days. Symptoms usually present themselves in 2 phases.
  6. The first, “acute”, phase usually causes fever, muscle pain or vomiting. Most patients improve and their symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days.
  7. However, a small percentage of people enter a second, more toxic phase within 24 hours of the initial remission.
  8. They will experience high fever, JAUNDICE, and abdominal pain with vomiting and deteriorating kidney function.
  9. Yellow fever can be prevented by a vaccine that is protective for life. As single dose of yellow fever vaccine, known as 17D, provides life-long immunity against the disease.
  10. There is no specific treatment for yellow fever but good supportive treatment of symptoms, such as dehydration, fever and infection, improves survival rates.


GS 3 : Cyber security

Bluebugging : Increase In Cybercrime –

Concerned over an increase in instances of cybercrime, Andhra Pradesh police recently asked the people to be wary of “bluebugging.”

  1. It is a form of hacking that lets attackers access a device through its discoverable Bluetooth connection.
  2. Once a device or phone is bluebugged, a hacker can listen to the calls, read and send messages and steal and modify contacts.
  3. It started out as a threat for laptops with Bluetooth capability. Later hackers used the technique to target mobile phones and other devices.
  4. This attack is often limited due to the range of Bluetooth connections, which goes up to only 10 meters.
  5. Bluebugging attacks work by exploiting Bluetooth-enabled devices.
  6. The device’s Bluetooth must be in discoverable mode, which is the default setting on most devices.
  7. The hacker then tries to pair with the device via Bluetooth.
  8. Once a connection is established, hackers can use brute force attacks to bypass authentication.
  9. They can install malware in the compromised device to gain unauthorised access to it.


GS 2 : Issues related to Health

The Union Cabinet has approved the National Medical Devices (NMD) Policy, 2023 –

Policy lays down a roadmap for accelerated growth of the medical devices sector to achieve the following missions viz, Access & Universality, Affordability, Quality, Patient Centred & Quality Care, Preventive & Promotive Health, Security, Research and Innovation and Skilled manpower.

NMD Policy 2023 :

  1. “Single Window Clearance System” for licensing medical devices will be created.
  2. This system will involve all relevant departments and organizations, such as MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology), and DAHD (Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying).
  3. Large medical device parks with world-class infrastructure facilities will be established, near economic zones.
  4. It will be done as envisioned under the National Industrial Corridor Program and the proposed National Logistics Policy 2021 under the ambit of PM Gati Shakti, and in collaboration with state governments and the industry, to improve convergence and integration with the medical device industry.
  5. The policy aims to promote Research & Development in India, complementing the proposed National Policy on R&D and Innovation in the Pharma-MedTech sector.
  6. It also aims at establishing Centres of Excellence in academic and research institutions, innovation hubs, ‘plug and play’ infrastructures and support to start-ups.
  7. The policy encourages private investment and Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to complement existing schemes such as Make in India, Ayushman Bharat program, Heal-in-India, and Start-up mission.
  8. The policy aims to ensure a skilled workforce in the medical device sector by providing skilling, reskilling and upskilling programs through the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
  9. It will also support dedicated courses for medical devices in existing institutions to produce skilled manpower for futuristic technologies, manufacturing and research.
  10. The policy envisages the creation of a dedicated Export Promotion Council for the sector which will be an enabler to deal with various market access issues.