Current Affair



1. Context

The fragile security situation in the South China Sea, in addition to violations of established Codes of Conduct or Confidence Building Measures, poses a clear and present danger to order at sea, Admiral R Hari Kumar

2. About the National Medical Commission

  • The National Medical Commission (NMC) is a statutory body in India that regulates medical education and medical professionals.
  • It was established by the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, which came into force on 25 September 2020.
  • The NMC replaced the Medical Council of India (MCI), which had been criticized for corruption and inefficiency.
  • The NMC is composed of 25 members, including doctors, medical educators, and government officials.
  • The members are appointed by the central government for a term of four years.

3. The role of the National Medical Commission

The NMC has several important roles, including:

  • The NMC sets the standards for medical colleges and courses and ensures that they are met. It also conducts regular inspections of medical colleges and takes action against those that do not meet the standards.
  • The NMC conducts several medical examinations, including the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for undergraduate medical admissions and the National Eligibility Test (NET) for postgraduate medical admissions. It also issues medical licenses to qualified doctors.
  • The NMC approves the establishment of new medical colleges and assesses existing ones. It evaluates the infrastructure, faculty, curriculum, and other essential criteria before granting recognition to medical institutions.
  • The NMC assesses and accredits medical institutions and their programs to ensure they meet the prescribed standards for medical education. This process helps maintain and improve the quality of medical education.
  • The NMC maintains a register of all medical professionals in India. This register helps to ensure that only qualified doctors are practising in the country.
  • NMC supports and promotes research and innovation in the medical field. It encourages medical professionals to engage in research activities and contribute to advancing healthcare and medical knowledge.
  • The commission serves as an advisory body to the central and state governments on various matters related to medical education, healthcare policies, and the regulation of the medical profession.
  • The NMC enforces ethical standards in the medical profession. It also investigates complaints against medical professionals and takes disciplinary action against those who are found to have violated the ethical code.
  • The NMC redresses grievances from patients and medical professionals. It also provides information and guidance on medical education and practice.

4. Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

  • Universal health coverage (UHC) is the vision that all people have access to quality health services, where and when they need them, without financial hardship.
  • It is about ensuring that everyone can obtain the health care they need, without going broke.
  • UHC is a fundamental human right, and it is essential for sustainable development.
  • It is also a key component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to achieve a more just and equitable world by 2030.

UHC has three key dimensions:

  1. Everyone who needs health services should get them, not only those who can pay for them.
  2. People should not fall into debt paying for treatment and care.
  3.  Services should be adequate and effective.

To achieve UHC, countries need to have strong, efficient, and equitable health systems. This includes having a well-trained health workforce, accessible health facilities, and a reliable supply of essential medicines and vaccines.

5. The ratio of 100 MBBS seats for a 10 lakh population

  • The ratio of 100 MBBS seats for a 10 lakh population means that there should be 100 MBBS seats for every 1 million people.
  • This ratio was recommended by the National Medical Commission (NMC) in India in 2023 to ensure that there are enough doctors to meet the needs of the population.
  • The NMC's recommendation is based on the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendation of 1 doctor per 1,000 people.
  • However, the WHO also acknowledges that this ratio may vary depending on the specific needs of a country or region.
  • In India, the current ratio of doctors to population is about 0.8 per 1,000 people.
  • This is below the WHO's recommended ratio, and it is also below the ratio of 100 MBBS seats per 1 million people.

6. The new guidelines by the National Medical Commission (NMC)

The NMC has released several new regulations, such as the National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023. These regulations set out the standards of professional conduct that medical practitioners in India must adhere to.
  • The NMC has introduced a new competency-based medical curriculum, which will be implemented in all medical colleges in India from the academic year 2023-24.
  • The new curriculum is focused on developing the skills and knowledge that doctors need to provide high-quality care to patients.
  • The NMC has streamlined the process for obtaining a medical license. Doctors can now apply for a license online, and the processing time has been reduced.
  • The NMC has established an online portal for medical professionals to register and renew their licenses. The portal also provides information on medical education and practice.
  • The NMC has increased the number of medical seats in India by 10%. This will help to increase the number of doctors in the country and improve the quality of healthcare.
  • The NMC has taken several steps to improve the quality of medical education and research in India. This includes conducting regular inspections of medical colleges and taking action against those that do not meet the standards. The NMC has also increased funding for medical research.
  • These guidelines outline the ethical standards that medical practitioners are expected to uphold in their practice.
For Prelims: National Medical Commission, National Medical Commission Registered Medical Practitioner (Professional Conduct) Regulations, 2023, Sustainable Development Goals, Universal Health Care, NET, NEET, Medical Council of India, 
For Mains:
1. Discuss the role of the National Medical Commission in regulating medical education and practice in India. (250 Words)


Previous Year Questions

1. Consider the following statements (UPSC CSE 2016)
1. The Sustainable Development Goals were first proposed in 1972 by a global think tank called the 'Club of Rome
2. Sustainable Development goals has to be achieved by the year 2030
Which of the statements given above is/ are correct
A. 1 Only            B. 2 Only                   C. Both 1 and 2                 D. Neither 1 Nor 2
Answer: B

2. With reference to Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2022)

1. Private and public hospitals must adopt it.
2. As it aims to achieve universal health coverage, every citizen of India should be part of it ultimately.
3. It has seamless portability across the country.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 and 2 only      B. 3 only           C. 1 and 3 only           D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: B
Source: indianexpress


1. Context
Chinese President Xi Jinping left for the US  for a “meeting of great importance” with his American counterpart Joe Biden on Wednesday, amidst frosty ties between the two largest global economies. The Biden-Xi bilateral will take place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which the US is hosting in San Francisco from November 11 to 17 2023
2. What is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)?

APEC stands for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation. It's a forum created in 1989, primarily aimed at promoting economic cooperation and trade among its member nations located in the Asia-Pacific region. The organization comprises 21 member economies, including countries like the United States, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, and others.

APEC's goals revolve around reducing barriers to trade and investment, promoting sustainable economic growth, facilitating economic and technical cooperation, and enhancing the overall prosperity of the region. Member economies use APEC as a platform to discuss and address regional economic issues, foster closer economic ties, and work toward greater integration and collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region

3. Origin and Development of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

  • The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has its roots in discussions among Pacific Rim countries in the late 1980s. The concept was initially proposed by Australia's Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who suggested creating a forum for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The first step towards formalizing this idea was taken in 1989 when Australia hosted an informal ministerial meeting called the Ministerial Meeting on Economic Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region in Canberra. This gathering included representatives from 12 economies: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States.
  • During this meeting, the groundwork was laid for a more formal organization focused on enhancing economic cooperation and trade in the region. In November 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was officially established with the signing of the Declaration of Common Resolve by its 12 founding member economies.
  • Since its inception, APEC has evolved and expanded both in terms of membership and its focus areas. Over time, more economies joined, increasing the total to 21 member economies. APEC has become a platform for discussing a wide range of economic issues, including trade liberalization, sustainable development, economic and technical cooperation, connectivity, and fostering closer ties among member economies.
  • The organization operates through annual ministerial meetings and leaders' summits, where discussions, negotiations, and agreements take place. APEC's primary goal remains to promote economic growth, trade, and investment across the Asia-Pacific region while addressing various challenges and opportunities in the global economy.

4.Why is India not a part of the APEC grouping?

India's absence from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping is primarily due to several factors, despite its geographical location in the Asia-Pacific region. When APEC was established in 1989, India was not among the founding members

Reasons contribute to India not being part of APEC:

  • At the time of APEC's formation, India's focus was more inward-looking. Its economic policies were centered around self-reliance and were not as oriented toward regional economic integration as some of the other economies that became founding members.
  • India pursued a different economic trajectory, particularly until the early 1990s. It followed policies that were not in line with the trade liberalization and economic openness advocated by APEC during its early years.
  • APEC membership is not automatic based solely on geographical location. The organization has its criteria and a selective approach to expansion. Economies that seek membership must demonstrate a commitment to certain principles, including trade liberalization, economic openness, and other specific criteria that India might not have fully aligned with in the past.
  • India has been actively engaged in other regional groupings like SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and has also sought participation in the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). These engagements might have been prioritized over APEC membership due to different geopolitical and economic considerations
5.Why APEC needs India?
  • India is one of the world's largest and fastest-growing economies. Its inclusion in APEC could significantly contribute to the economic dynamism of the region. India's market size, burgeoning middle class, and diverse economy could offer substantial opportunities for trade and investment among APEC member economies
  • India's participation could enhance the regional geopolitical balance within APEC. It could help in diversifying and broadening the perspectives and interests represented within the organization, fostering greater inclusivity and representation of South Asian concerns
  • India's strategic position in the Indian Ocean and its relationship with countries in South and Southeast Asia add a layer of strategic importance to the region. This could contribute to discussions on security, connectivity, and cooperation in the wider Asia-Pacific area.
  • India is known for its advancements in technology and innovation. Its inclusion could bring valuable expertise and collaboration opportunities in areas such as IT, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and other high-tech industries.
  • For APEC members, India's inclusion could offer expanded market access. India's diverse economy spans various sectors, including services, manufacturing, agriculture, and technology, providing new trade opportunities for APEC nations.
  • This is despite the fact that the US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region issued in 2015 states that “The United States welcomes India’s interest in joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, as the Indian economy is a dynamic part of the Asian economy.”
6. Way forward
While India's inclusion could be beneficial, it also depends on India's readiness to align its economic policies and priorities with those of APEC. India would need to demonstrate commitment to the principles of open trade, economic integration, and liberalization to facilitate smoother integration within the APEC framework.
For Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
For Mains:  General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting
Previous Year Questions
1.APEC stands for ______ (Delhi Forest Gaurd 2021)
A.Association Pacific Economic Cooperation
B.Association Pacific Economic Community
C.Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
D.Asia-Pacific Economic Community
Answer (C)
Source: Indianexpress


1. Context

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. recently approved the world's first chikungunya vaccine, marking a significant milestone in the fight against this viral infection. Developed by European vaccine manufacturer Valneva, the vaccine, known as Ixchiq, has been deemed a crucial tool for preventing this debilitating disease.

2. About Chikungunya

  • Chikungunya is characterised by severe joint pain and impaired mobility and comes with fever.
  • It is a viral infection (CHIKV) transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. It has been described as "an emerging global health threat."
  • The WHO fact sheet says Chikungunya is prevalent in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
  • Sporadic outbreaks have been reported in other regions.
  • Since 2004, outbreaks of CHIKV have become more frequent and widespread.
  • This is partly due to viral adaptations allowing the virus to be spread more easily by the Aedes albopictus mosquitoes.

3. Clinical Manifestations of Chikungunya

  • The joint pain is often debilitating and varies in duration. It can last for a few days, but also be prolonged over months.
  • Other symptoms include joint swelling, muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue, and rash.
  • While severe symptoms and deaths from chikungunya are rare, they are usually related to other coexisting health problems.
  • It is believed that the numbers are generally underestimated because chikungunya is often misdiagnosed as dengue or zika, as symptoms can seem similar. As of now, there is no cure, only symptomatic relief.
  • This includes analgesics to help with the pain, antipyretics for the fever, rest, and adequate fluids.
  • Prevention includes mosquito control activities, primarily falling under public health outreach and routine civic maintenance.
  • Individuals are also advised to use medicated mosquito nets and ensure that there is no water stagnation in any containers at home in order to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
4. Vaccine Composition and Effectiveness
  • Ixchiq is administered as a single dose by injection into the muscle.
  • It contains a live, weakened version of the chikungunya virus and may cause symptoms in the vaccine recipient similar to those experienced by people who have the disease.
  • Its safety was evaluated in two clinical studies conducted in North America.
  • About 3,500 participants, 18 years of age and older, received a dose of the vaccine.
  • The other study included about 1,000 participants receiving a placebo.
  • The most reported side effects by vaccine recipients were headache, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, fever, nausea, and tenderness at the injection site.
  • The effectiveness of the vaccine was based on immune response data from a clinical study conducted in the U.S. in individuals 18 years of age and older.
  • In this study, the immune response of 266 participants who received the vaccine was compared to the immune response of 96 participants who received the placebo.
  • The level of antibody evaluated in study participants was based on a level shown to be protective in nonhuman primates that had received blood from people who had been vaccinated.

5. Significance of Vaccine

  • Vaccines are designed to prevent diseases by stimulating the immune system to recognize and combat specific pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria. They help the body develop immunity without causing the disease itself.
  • Vaccines have been instrumental in eradicating or significantly controlling many infectious diseases worldwide. Diseases like smallpox have been completely eradicated, and others, such as polio and measles, have seen drastic reductions in cases due to vaccination efforts.
  • Vaccines protect not only individuals but also communities and populations by establishing herd immunity. When a significant portion of a population is vaccinated against a contagious disease, it becomes more challenging for the disease to spread, thereby protecting even those who aren't vaccinated, such as individuals who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons.
  • Vaccines help reduce the burden on healthcare systems by preventing illness, hospitalizations, and long-term medical care associated with infectious diseases. This, in turn, saves healthcare costs and resources.
  • In the context of global health security, vaccines play a crucial role in combating infectious diseases that can rapidly spread across borders. They are essential tools in managing pandemics and preventing the emergence of new public health crises
  • By preventing illnesses and their associated complications, vaccines contribute to a better quality of life for individuals and societies. They allow people to live healthier lives, attend school regularly, and contribute more fully to the economy
  • Vaccine development involves significant scientific research and innovation. Advances in vaccine technology have not only improved the efficacy and safety of vaccines but have also paved the way for new methods of disease prevention and treatment. 

6. Types of vaccines

There are many different types of vaccines, but they can be broadly categorized into the following types:

  • Live attenuated vaccines contain a weakened form of the live virus that causes the disease. The weakened virus is not strong enough to cause the disease, but it can stimulate the body's immune system to produce antibodies that can protect against the disease. Examples of live attenuated vaccines include the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the varicella vaccine.
  • Inactivated vaccines contain a killed form of the virus or bacteria that causes the disease. The killed virus or bacteria is not able to cause the disease, but it is still able to stimulate the body's immune system to produce antibodies. Examples of inactivated vaccines include the polio vaccine and the hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Subunit vaccines contain only a part of the virus or bacteria that causes the disease, such as a protein or sugar. The subunit is not able to cause the disease, but it is still able to stimulate the body's immune system to produce antibodies. Examples of subunit vaccines include the hepatitis B vaccine and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
  • Toxoid vaccines contain the toxin produced by a bacterium, rather than the bacterium itself. The toxin is modified so that it is not able to cause disease, but it is still able to stimulate the body's immune system to produce antibodies that can neutralize the toxin. Examples of toxoid vaccines include the tetanus vaccine and the diphtheria vaccine.
  • mRNA vaccines contain messenger RNA (mRNA) that instructs cells to make a protein. The protein is then recognized by the immune system, which produces antibodies to protect against the disease. Examples of mRNA vaccines include the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Viral vector vaccines use a modified virus to deliver a gene from another virus or bacterium into human cells. The gene then instructs the cells to make a protein that is recognized by the immune system, which produces antibodies to protect against the disease. Examples of viral vector vaccines include the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
  • DNA vaccines contain DNA that instructs cells to make a protein. The protein is then recognized by the immune system, which produces antibodies to protect against the disease. DNA vaccines are still in development, but they have the potential to be a more effective and long-lasting way to protect people from infectious diseases.
For Prelims: chikungunya vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine, Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization, dengue, Zika, National Centre for Vector Borne Diseases Control, 
For Mains: 
1. Critically analyze the effectiveness of current mosquito control strategies in preventing chikungunya transmission in India. (250 Words)


Previous Year Questions

1. With reference to recent developments regarding ‘Recombinant Vector Vaccines’, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2010)

1. Genetic engineering is applied in the development of these vaccines.
2. Bacteria and viruses are used as vectors.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only      (b) 2 only        (c) Both 1 and 2          (d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

2. Chikungunya is transmitted by: (MPPEB Group 2  2021) 
A. Aedes mosquitoes       B. Female Anopheles       C. Cockroach         D. Rat
Answer: A
3. In the context of vaccines manufactured to prevent COVID-19 pandemic, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022) 
1. The Serum Institute of India produced COVID-19 vaccine named Covishield using mRNA platform.
2. Sputnik V vaccine is manufactured using vector based platform.
3. COVAXIN is an inactivated pathogen based vaccine.
Which of the statements given above are correct?
A. 1 and 2 only       B.  2 and 3 only       C.  1 and 3 only       D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: B
4. Covid-19 is which of the following? (Rajasthan Police Constable 2020) 
A. An under study vaccine for the corona virus.
B. Drug used to treat corona virus.
C. Another name for the corona virus that created the epidemic in 2019.
D. All diseases in 2019.
Answer: C
5. Which of the following facts about Covid - 19 virus is / are wrong? (TNPSC Group 1 2021)
(a) People who have been infected by the virus but do not have symptoms do not spread virus. (b) Reinfection is not possible. 
(c) Anosmia (loss of smell) is a symptom.
(d) Babies do not get infected by Corona virus.
A. (a) and (b) only    B. (a), (b), and (d)    C.  (c) only        D.  (d) only   E. Answer not known Answer: B
6. As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation of a balanced diet, to avoid unhealthy weight gain, total fat should NOT exceed _______ of total energy intake. (UPSSSC Mandi Inspector 2019) 
A. 20%        B. 30%         C. 10%          D. 40%
Answer: B
7. Dengue is caused by- (MP Police Constable 2022)
A. Bacteria       B. Virus         C.  Fungus         D. Pollution
Answer: B

8. Which of the following diseases can be transmitted from one person to another through tattooing? (2013)

  1. Chikungunya
  2. Hepatitis B

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only    (b) 2 and 3 only       (c) 1 and 3 only        (d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: B

9. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2017)
1. In tropical regions, Zika virus disease is transmitted by the same mosquito that transmits dengue.
2. Sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only          B. 2 only          C.  Both 1 and 2             D. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: C
 Source: The Hindu


1. Context

In a recent election rally in Telangana, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to examine the sub-categorization of Scheduled Castes (SCs) to identify and uplift the most backward among them. 

2. Sub-categorisation of castes

  • The sub-categorisation of castes refers to the process of dividing the broad category of Castes into smaller sub-groups, to provide more targeted benefits and representation to the most marginalized communities within the group.
  • Scheduled Castes (SCs), also known as Dalits, are officially designated as the most disadvantaged and socially ostracized community in India. They are a diverse group with varying customs, languages, and traditions, but they share a common history of discrimination and marginalization.
  • The sub-categorization of SCs and STs is due to various complexities. Unlike OBCs, SCs and STs do not have a creamy layer, and addressing backwardness among them involves dealing with untouchability issues.
  • Sub-categorization may exacerbate differences within these communities and lead to competition for affirmative action. There is already a demand for OBC status from groups like Marathas, Patels, and Jats, making the situation more challenging.
  • Some SC communities, like Madigas in Telangana, feel marginalized and seek a separate quota.
  • According to the 2011 census, SCs constitute about 16.6% of India's population. They are predominantly found in rural areas, where they face significant challenges in accessing education, employment, and healthcare. Despite progress in recent decades, SCs continue to be among the poorest and most vulnerable groups

3. Legal Implications

  • The question of whether SC sub-categorization is legally permissible has been debated for over two decades.
  • Several states, including Punjab, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu, have attempted to implement state-level reservation laws to sub-categorize SCs and allocate separate quotas within the existing SC reservation framework.
  • However, these plans have been stalled in court as the Supreme Court awaits the formation of a larger Constitution Bench to address the matter.
  • The issue first arose in 1996 when the Andhra Pradesh government established a one-man Commission headed by Justice Ramachandra Raju.
  • The Commission recommended sub-categorizing SCs in the state based on evidence of significant disparities in backwardness and representation among different SC communities.
  • The state government's attempt to implement this recommendation led to a legal challenge that ultimately reached the Supreme Court.
  • In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled that states lacked the unilateral authority to sub-categorize communities within the SC or Scheduled Tribes (ST) lists.
  • The Constitution mandates that these lists can only be amended by Parliament and notified by the President.
  • However, in a 2020 judgment, a five-judge Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra held that determining the quantum of benefits within the existing SC/ST lists did not constitute "tinkering" with the lists and that states could undertake such measures.
  • This judgment contradicted the 2004 ruling, and the matter has been referred to the larger Bench for a definitive resolution.

4. Government Efforts

  • Despite the ongoing legal uncertainty, the 2004 judgment prompted the Union government to explore legal avenues for SC sub-categorization.
  • The government initiated discussions with the Law Ministry, and in 2005, the Attorney-General of India (AGI) opined that sub-categorization could be permissible under specific conditions.
  • The AGI emphasized the need for "unimpeachable evidence" to demonstrate the necessity of such a measure.
  • The AGI also suggested the possibility of a constitutional amendment to facilitate sub-categorization.
  • Based on the AGI's opinion, the Union government formed a National Commission to examine the feasibility of SC sub-categorization in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The then Cabinet recommended an amendment to Article 341 of the Constitution to enable sub-categorization.
  • However, both the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) advised against a constitutional amendment.
  • They maintained that Article 16(4) of the Constitution already empowered states to enact special laws for any backward classes deemed to be under-represented.

5. Arguments For and Against Sub-Categorization

  • The primary argument in favour of SC sub-categorization centres on the existence of graded inequalities among SC communities.
  • Proponents argue that even within the marginalized SC category, there are groups with limited access to basic amenities.
  • As a result, the more advanced SC communities have consistently benefited from reservation policies, while the more backward ones have been marginalized.
  • Sub-categorization, they argue, would address this issue by providing separate reservation quotas for the more backward SC communities within the overall SC reservation framework.
  • However, both the NCSC and the NCST have expressed concerns about the effectiveness of sub-categorization in addressing the root causes of inequality.
  • They argue that allotting separate reservations within SC categories would not adequately address the underlying disparities.
  • The internal note prepared by the NCST explained that the most backward SCs are so far behind their more advanced counterparts that a separate quota would be insufficient.
  • The NCST emphasized the need for broad-based measures to ensure representation at all levels, arguing that even with separate quotas for higher-level positions, the most backward SCs would still lack the candidates to fill these positions.
  • Both commissions recommended focusing on ensuring that existing schemes and government benefits reach these marginalized groups before considering sub-categorization.

6. The Way Forward

Legal experts underscore the need for concrete data to support SC sub-categorization.  There is nothing that prohibits the Parliament from being competent to do this. But what is primarily needed is concrete population numbers of each community and sub-community and their respective socio-economic data, which are the only thing that can provide a reasonable ground to decide how castes can be categorised, how much percentage should be given, etc."

For Prelims: sub-categorization of Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Article 16(4), Article 341, one-man Commission
For Mains: 
1. Discuss the challenges in navigating the roles of state governments and the central government in implementing sub-categorization. How can a balance be achieved to address regional concerns while ensuring national consistency? (250 Words) 
Previous Year Questions 

1. Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, who shall be the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both? (UPSC 2013)

A. State Forest Department
B. District Collector/Deputy Commissioner
C. Tahsildar/Block Development Officer/Mandal Revenue Officer
D. Gram Sabha

Answer: D

2. Based on the Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution, with respect to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram Which of the following can the Governor of a State do?  (DSSSB PRT General Section Officer 2019)
1. Can create a new autonomous district
2. The area of atonomous district can be increased
A. 1 Only     B. 2 Only        C. Both 1 and 2         D. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: C
3. If a particular area is brought under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which one of the following statements best reflects the consequence of it? (UPSC 2022)
A. This would prevent the transfer of land of tribal people to non-tribal people.
B. This would create a local self-governing body in that area.
C. This would convert that area into a Union Territory.
D. The State having such areas would be declared a Special Category State.
Answer: A
4. Article _____ of the Constitution of India deals with provisions related to the administration and control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes. (SSC CGL 2020)
A. 222(1)         B. 244(1)          C. 244(2)            D.  222(2)
Answer: B
5. The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was formed by insertion of Article ______ in the Constitution of India. (SSC CGL 2020) 
A. 328B         B.  338A            C. 338B            D. 328A
Answer: B
6. National Commission of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have been replaced by National Commission of Scheduled Castes and National Commission of Scheduled Tribes by which of the following amendment? (KPSC AE 2017)
A. 37th Amendment       
B. 88th Amendment
C. 89th Amendment
D. 92nd Amendment
Answer: C
7. Every year, a month long ecologically important campaign/festival is held during which certain communities/tribes plant saplings of fruit-bearing trees. Which of the following are such communities/ tribes? (UPSC 2014)

(a) Bhutia and Lepcha
(b) Gond and Korku
(c) Irula and Toda
(d) Sahariya and Agariya

Answer: B

8. The provisions in Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule in the Constitution of India are made in order to (UPSC 2015)

(a) protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes
(b) determine the boundaries between States
(c) determine the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats
(d) protect the interests of all the border States

Answer: A

9. Under which Schedule of the Constitution of India can the transfer of tribal land to private parties for mining be declared null and void? (UPSC 2019)

(a) Third Schedule
(b) Fifth Schedule
(c) Ninth Schedule
(d) Twelfth Schedule

Answer: B

10. The provisions of reservation for O.B.C. is made in the Constitution under which Articles? (UKPSC 2016) 
A. Article 13 (II) & 14    B. Article 14 & 15    C. Article 15 (IV) & 16 (IV) D.  Article 17 & 18 Answer: C
11. The constitutional authority, vested with the power of declaring castes and tribes as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, is the (UPPSC 2016) 
A. President of India                            B. Prime Minister of India   
C. Minister of Social Welfare              C. Chairman, SC / ST Commission
Answer: A
1. In 2001, RGI stated that Dalits who converted to Islam or Christianity are not a single ethnic group as they belong to different caste groups. Therefore, they cannot be included in the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) as per Clause (2) of Article 341, which requires a single ethnic group for inclusion. (UPSC 2014)
2. Whether the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine. (UPSC 2018)
3. What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)? (UPSC 2017)
Source: The Hindu


1. Context
Schools in Delhi this year will continue to admit students to Class 1 below the age of 6 years. This is contrary to recent letters from the Union government to all states, urging them to align the age of entry to Class 1 with the new National Education Policy 2020.
2. National Education Policy about Minimum age
  • The updated NEP proposes a structure labeled as "5+3+3+4" for the formal education system, corresponding to specific age groups: 3-8 years (referred to as the foundational stage), 8-11 years (known as the preparatory stage), 11-14 years (referred to as the middle stage), and 14-18 years (designated as the secondary stage).
  • This reform integrates early childhood education, typically considered as preschool education for children aged 3 to 5 years, into the formal schooling system. Consequently, a child is expected to be 6 years old to qualify for admission into Class 1 after completing a three-year early childhood education program
3. Why is it being debated now?
  • Since the introduction of NEP 2020, the Union Education Ministry has been urging States and Union Territories to standardize the age for enrollment in Class 1 to six years, aligning with the new national education policy.
  • Across states, the age of entry into Class 1 varies—some enroll students at 5 years old, while others wait until they turn 6. Whenever the Central government reiterates this alignment requirement according to NEP guidelines, it often becomes newsworthy.
  • For instance, there was a legal challenge last year when Kendriya Vidyalayas adjusted their admission age from five to six years for Class 1, aiming to comply with NEP 2020 recommendations.
  • Some parents contested this change in court, arguing that it was abrupt, just before the February 2022 admission process. Despite their plea, the Delhi High Court dismissed the challenge, a decision later upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • Subsequently, after another reminder from the Education Ministry to synchronize entry ages, the Delhi government decided, at least for the ongoing academic year, to follow its existing guidelines based on the Delhi School Education Rules (DSEAR 1973), allowing admission to Class 1 for children below 6 years old.
4. What does the Right to Education Act say about the age of entry
  • The Right to Education (RTE) Act ensures education for children between the ages of 6 and 14. This implies that a child is anticipated to commence primary education, specifically Class 1, at the age of 6.
  • Academics involved in formulating the Right to Education legislation indicated that the age of 6 was chosen, aligning with the common global practice in most countries to enroll children in grade one at ages 6 or 7.
  • RTE Act had to specify the entry age for enforcement of formal compulsory education which has been ignored even now by many States leading to the confusion of the actual age for admitting students grade1
5. Research about minimum age
  • David Whitebread, an academic from the Faculty of Education at Cambridge University, in his paper titled ‘School starting age: the evidence,’ discussed the potential need for children to have more time for development before embarking on formal education.
  • Whitebread's research highlighted that when comparing groups of children in New Zealand who commenced formal literacy lessons at ages 5 and 7, the outcomes revealed that initiating formal learning approaches to literacy early did not enhance children’s reading development and could even have negative effects.
  • By the age of 11, there was no discernible difference in reading ability between the two groups. However, those who started at 5 exhibited less favorable attitudes toward reading and displayed weaker text comprehension compared to those who commenced later.
  • Additionally, in a separate study examining reading achievement in 15-year-olds across 55 countries, researchers found no significant correlation between reading proficiency and the age at which students entered school
6. Way forward
Six is the standard age for starting primary school across East Asia, not just in Japan. This age is also common in most European countries. It is usual (though not compulsory) for younger children in these societies to attend some sort of preschool. In this regard, the USA and the UK, where children generally start school at 5, appear to be outliers
Source: Indianexpress


1. Context
Raising concerns over the use of World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators in ratings assessment by credit ratings agencies, especially for emerging economies, Chief Economic Adviser V Anantha Nageswaran on Wednesday said there is a need for the World Governance Index to be more transparent and less subjective.
2. What is the World Governance Index?
  • Produced by the World Bank, this index provides aggregate governance indicators for over 200 countries. It assesses six dimensions of governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, and Control of Corruption.
  • This World Governance Index itself is a composite of several sub-indices, which are purely based on the subjective opinions of some so-called expert institutions which do not have presence on the ground nor do they understand whether the context in which they are making these judgements is appropriate or apt for the member countries
  • But these indices become an important part of the assessment methodology of the credit rating agencies and they do not reveal the extent to which these indices are implanted in their assessment process, the weights they carry, because there seems to be qualitative overlays on top of qualitative assessments
  • So, in other words the easiest way in which multilateral development banking system can help their member countries to access capital for global challenges and development needs is to ensure that their World Governance Index is transparent, less subjective and less arbitrary, more suited to the context, involves participation of developing countries, and also make sure that it’s limitations are very well understood by the credit rating agencies
3. Worldwide Governance Indicators?

The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) are a set of six aggregate indicators developed by the World Bank to assess the quality of governance in countries. These indicators cover different aspects of governance and are used to analyze and compare governance performance across nations. The six indicators are:

  1. Voice and Accountability: This indicator measures the extent to which a country's citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, association, and the media.

  2. Political Stability and Absence of Violence/Terrorism: It assesses perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including terrorism.

  3. Government Effectiveness: This indicator evaluates the quality of public services, the capacity of the civil service, the government's credibility, and the implementation of policies.

  4. Regulatory Quality: It measures the ability of the government to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that promote private sector development.

  5. Rule of Law: This indicator assesses the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, including the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, and the courts, as well as the likelihood of crime and violence.

  6. Control of Corruption: It measures perceptions of the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both petty and grand forms of corruption, as well as "capture" of the state by elites and private interests.

4. Way forward
So, in other words the easiest way in which multilateral development banking system can help their member countries to access capital for global challenges and development needs is to ensure that their World Governance Index is transparent, less subjective and less arbitrary, more suited to the context, involves participation of developing countries, and also make sure that it’s limitations are very well understood by the credit rating agencies
Source: Indianexpress

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