Current Affair



1. Context

Seeking funds to the tune of $65 billion via infrastructure investment, Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar completed a five day trip to Beijing. He was also attempting to allay China's demands regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project spearheaded by Beijing from 2015

2. About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a bilateral project between China and Pakistan that aims to connect the Gwadar Port in Balochistan, Pakistan to Kashgar in Xinjiang, China via a network of highways, railways, and pipelines.
  • The project is part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is a massive infrastructure development program that aims to create new trade and investment links between China and the rest of the world.

2.1. Objectives of CPEC

  • CPEC aims to enhance economic cooperation between China and Pakistan by promoting trade, investment, and economic growth.
  • It seeks to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries.
  • Pakistan faces chronic energy shortages, and CPEC addresses this issue through the development of energy projects, including coal, hydro, and solar power plants.
  • These projects are vital for meeting Pakistan's growing energy demands.
  • CPEC includes the construction of new highways, railways, and pipelines.
  • This improved infrastructure is essential for facilitating the movement of goods and people, reducing transportation costs, and promoting regional connectivity.

2.2. Components of CPEC

  • Gwadar Port is a central component of CPEC. It is located in Balochistan and is being developed into a deep-sea port and regional trade hub.
  • Gwadar's strategic location provides China with access to the Arabian Sea, which is significant for its maritime trade.
  • CPEC involves the construction and upgrading of transportation networks.
  • This includes the development of the Karakoram Highway, the construction of the Gwadar-Ratodero Motorway, and the expansion of railway lines connecting Gwadar to China's western regions.
  • Energy infrastructure is a critical part of CPEC. Several power projects, including coal-fired, hydroelectric, and solar power plants, are being developed to address Pakistan's energy deficit.
  • These projects enhance energy security and promote economic development.
  • CPEC envisions the establishment of Special Economic Zones in various regions of Pakistan.
  • These SEZs are designed to attract Chinese and other foreign investors by offering tax incentives, infrastructure, and a conducive business environment.

2.3. Strategic Significance

  • CPEC offers China a shorter and more secure route for its energy imports from the Middle East, reducing its reliance on the longer sea route through the Strait of Malacca.
  • This enhances China's energy security, a vital consideration for its economic growth.
  • China's investments and presence in Pakistan through CPEC strengthen its geopolitical influence in South Asia.
  • It provides Beijing with a stake in the region's stability and development.
  • Gwadar Port gives China access to the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, enabling it to bypass potential chokepoints in the South China Sea.
  • This has implications for China's naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

3. Impact on India

  • CPEC has been a source of significant geopolitical tension between India and Pakistan.
  • A portion of CPEC passes through Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan, which India claims as part of its own territory.
  • India views this as a violation of its sovereignty and has protested against the project, further straining Indo-Pak relations.
  •  India perceives CPEC as part of China's broader strategy to encircle India by strengthening its presence in neighbouring countries.
  • This perceived encirclement has led to increased security concerns for India.
  • To counterbalance China's influence in the region, India has pursued its own regional connectivity initiatives.
  • These include the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Chabahar Port project in Iran.
  • India is also deepening its engagement with other South Asian countries to maintain its influence.
  • India is concerned about the security implications of CPEC. The corridor passes through regions of Pakistan that have experienced instability and terrorism, raising fears that extremist elements could target CPEC infrastructure.
  • CPEC's potential to boost Pakistan's economy and its strategic location as a trade corridor poses economic challenges for India.
  • It has the potential to divert trade away from India and impact India's economic interests in the region.
  • India has engaged in diplomatic efforts to voice its concerns about CPEC on various international platforms.
  • However, these efforts have yielded limited results, as many countries have chosen to engage with CPEC due to its economic potential.

4. Way forward

  • The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has far-reaching implications for India, affecting both its geopolitical and economic interests.
  • India's concerns about sovereignty, security, and the economic impact of CPEC have led to a complex and challenging dynamic in its relations with both China and Pakistan.
  • As CPEC continues to evolve and shape the regional landscape, India will need to carefully navigate these challenges while seeking to protect its own interests and explore alternative avenues for regional cooperation and connectivity.
For Prelims: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, energy, water management, climate change, Belt and Road Initiative, Special Economic Zones, International North-South Transport Corridor, Chabahar Port, 
For Mains: 
1. Discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by CPEC for India in the context of regional cooperation and economic competitiveness. How can India navigate these challenges effectively? (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions

1. Belt and Road Initiative’ is sometimes mentioned in the news in the context of the affairs of (UPSC CSE 2016)

(a) African Union
(b) Brazil
(c) European Union
(d) China

Answer: D

2. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently published the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, in 2020. Which of the following statements is correct about EIA? (Punjab Civil Service 2020)
1. It predicts the effect of a proposed industrial/infrastructural project on the environment.
2. It prevents the proposed activity/project from being approved without proper oversight or taking adverse consequences into account.
3. It compares various alternatives for a project and seeks to identify the one which represents the best combination of economic and environmental costs and benefits.
4. As per the new notification, Coal and non-Coal mineral prospecting and solar photovoltaic projects do not need prior environmental clearance.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A. Only 1 and 2
B. Only 2, 3 and 4
C. Only 1, 2 and 3
D. Only 1, 2 and 4
Answer: D
3. In the context of India’s preparation for Climate -Smart Agriculture, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2021)
1. The ‘Climate-Smart Village’ approach in India is part of a project led by the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), an international research program.
2. The project of CCAFS is carried out under the Consultative Group on International Agricultural (CGIAR) headquartered in France.
3. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in India is one of the CGIAR’s research centers.
Which of the statements given above is correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only                (b) 2 and 3 only              (c) 1 and 3 only                      (d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer: D


4. With reference to the water on the planet Earth, consider the following statements : (UPSC 2021)
1. The amount of water in the rivers and lakes is more than the amount of groundwater.
2. The amount of water in polar ice caps and glaciers is more than the amount of groundwater.
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
5. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2020)
1. 36% of India's districts are classified as "overexploited" or "critical" by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).
2. CGWA was formed under the Environment (Protection) Act.
3. India has the largest area under groundwater irrigation in the world.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 2 only
D. 1 and 3 only
Answer: B
6. Consider the following statements:
1. On the planet Earth, the freshwater available for use amounts to less than 1% of the total water found.
2. Of the total freshwater found on the planet Earth 95% is bound up in polar ice caps and glaciers.
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: A
7. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) have been created first time in the: (OPSC OAS 2019)
A.  EXIM Policy, 2000       
B.  EXIM Policy, 2005
C. Industrial Policy, 1956
D. Industrial Policy, 1991
Answer: A
8. Consider the statement: "India wants Chabahar port to be included in the 13-nations International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that extends from India to Russia." Which of the following country/countries is/are members of INSTC? (Haryana Civil Services 2021) 
1. Iran
2. Iraq
3. China
4. Mongolia
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A. 1 only        B. 2 and 3 only          C. 3 and 4 only         D.  1, 3 and 4
Answer: A
9. What is the importance of developing Chabahar Port by India? (UPSC CSE 2017)
A. India's trade with African countries will enormously increase.
B. India's relations with oil-producing Arab countries will be strengthened.
C. India will not depend on Pakistan for access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
D. Pakistan will facilitate and protect the installation of a gas pipe between Iraq and India.
Answer: C

1. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is viewed as a cardinal subset of China’s larger ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. Give a brief description of CPEC and enumerate the reasons why India has distanced itself from the same. (UPSC CSE 2018)

2. China and Pakistan have entered into an agreement for the development of an economic corridor. What threat does this pose for India’s security? Critically examine. (UPSC CSE 2014)

3. “China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia”. In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbour. (UPSC CSE 2017)

Source: Indianexpress



1. Context
The Water level in the four reservoir in Karnataka's Cauvery basin has dipped to nearly half of their cumulative gross capacity and is pointer to the unfolding crisis in the weeks ahead
2.About Cauvery river
  • The Cauvery River, also spelled as Kaveri, is one of the major rivers in South India. It originates from the Western Ghats in Karnataka and flows through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The river and its tributaries have significant cultural, historical, and ecological importance.
  • The Cauvery River originates at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka.
  • It flows eastward through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The river traverses a distance of approximately 765 kilometers
 Here are some details about the Cauvery River and its important tributaries:
Hemavati River: One of the main tributaries of the Cauvery, the Hemavati River originates in the Chikmagalur district of Karnataka and joins the Cauvery near Krishnarajasagar Dam.
Arkavati River: Rising from the Nandi Hills in Karnataka, the Arkavati River is another important tributary that meets the Cauvery near Kanakapura.
Kabini River: The Kabini River, also known as Kapila, originates in the Wayanad district of Kerala and flows through Karnataka. It joins the Cauvery near Tirumakudal Narasipura.
Shimsha River: This tributary flows through the state of Karnataka and joins the Cauvery near Shivanasamudra, which is known for its picturesque waterfalls.
Bhavani River: Originating in the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu, the Bhavani River flows through Kerala and Tamil Nadu before merging with the Cauvery near Kodumudi
The Cauvery River is a vital source of water for irrigation, drinking, and industrial use. It is also an important source of hydroelectric power. The Cauvery River is a major economic and cultural resource for the people of South India
Map showing the Kaveri River and its tributaries, south India.... |  Download Scientific Diagram
Image Source: Research Gate
3. Cauvery Basin
The Cauvery basin refers to the geographical area through which the Cauvery River and its tributaries flow. It spans across southern India, specifically covering parts of the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry.
The Cauvery basin is crucial for agriculture, providing irrigation to vast agricultural lands in the region. The river also holds cultural and ecological significance, supporting diverse flora and fauna along its course. The distribution of its water resources often leads to disputes among the states sharing its basin, particularly concerning water allocation for agriculture, drinking water, and industrial purposes
4. Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)
  • The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) is a statutory body constituted by the Government of India under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956.
  • The CWMA is responsible for the implementation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) Award, as modified by the Supreme Court of India
  • The CWMA has its headquarters in New Delhi. It has a governing council, which is headed by the Union Minister for Water Resources. The governing council also has representatives from the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry.
  • The CWMA is a critical institution for the management of the Cauvery River basin. It is responsible for ensuring that the river's water is shared in a fair and equitable way, and that the river is managed in a sustainable manner.
Source: indianexpress.
For Prelims: Cauvery river, Tributaries, CWMA
For Mains: 1.The Cauvery River water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has been a recurring issue. Discuss the historical background, key points of contention, and the legal and political measures taken to address this interstate water dispute
2.The Cauvery basin has played a significant role in the agricultural economies of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Examine the challenges and opportunities associated with the irrigation practices and water management strategies in the region
Previous Year Questions
1.Which of the following Protected Areas are located in Cauvery basin? (UPSC GS1, 2020)
1. Nagarhole National Park
2. Papikonda National Park
3. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve
4. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 and 4 only
(c) 1, 3 and 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Answer (c)
Source: indianexpress


1. Context 

Water levels in the reservoirs of India’s southern states are set to fall further in the next few months, leading to concerns amid the stocks already being at a low this year. 

2. About Central Water Commission

  • CWC is an attached office of the Ministry of Jai Shakti Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. 
The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation with the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.
  • It undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.
  • It is headed by a chairman, with the status of Ex Officio Secretary to the Government of India. Its headquarters at New Delhi.
  • The Work of the Commission is divided among 3 wings namely, the Designs and Research (D & R) Wing, River Management (RM) Wing and Water Planning and Projects (WP & P) Wing.
  • A separate Human Resources Management Unit headed by Chief Engineer deals with Human Resources Management or Development, Financial Management, Training and Administrative matters of the CWC.
  • National Water Academy located in Pune is responsible for the training of Central and State in-service engineers and it functions directly under the guidance of the Chairman.

3. Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) Project

  • The Project was launched in 2012 by the CWC with financial aid from the World Bank.
  • It is an externally-aided project with 80 per cent of the total project provided by the World Bank as loan/ credit and the remaining 20 per cent being borne by the states/ Central government.
  • The total cost of the Project was Rs 2100 crores and the amount allocated for Phase II and III is Rs. 10, 211 crores.
  • The project was launched in 2020, with DRIP Phase II and III, with similar objectives on a larger scale.
  • There were 225 dams which were covered for rehabilitation and improvement in terms of safety measures.

3.1. Objectives

  • To improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner.
  • To strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at the central level.
  • To explore the alternative incidental means at a few selected dams to generate the incidental revenue for sustainable operation and maintenance of dams.

3.2. Components

  • Rehabilitation of selected dams and their appurtenances 
  • Institutional Strengthening 
  • Project Management
  • The formation of the International Centre of Excellence for Dams (ICED) will empower 'Make in India' in dam safety, plus augment advanced research and developing technologies and application products.
  • The ICED is being set up at 109 Crore, being borne by the Department of Water Resources, Ganga Rejuvenation & River Development, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India as a non-recurring grant in six tranches.
  • ICED, Roorkee will provide specialized technical support in investigations, modelling, research and innovations, and technical support services to the Indian and overseas dam owners.
  • IITR will endeavour to reach a level of self-sufficiency within ten (10) years by generating income streams through the knowledge and capabilities developed on dam safety & rehabilitation in general and in the core areas of reservoir sedimentation and seismic hazard mapping and analysis in particular.
  • The Centre will work for agreed dam safety areas to support and provide solutions to various emerging challenges faced in dam safety through scientific research and the latest technology and digital innovations.
  • IITR will endeavour to reach a level of self-sufficiency within ten (10) years by generating income streams through the knowledge and capabilities developed on dam safety & rehabilitation in general and in the core areas of reservoir sedimentation and seismic hazard mapping and analysis in particular.

For Prelims & Mains

For Prelims: DRIP Project, Dams,  Central Water Commission, Central Water Academy, Ministry of Jai Shakti Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, International Centre of Excellence for Dams. 
For Mains:
1. What is Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project and discuss how it will improve the irrigation system in India. (250 Words)
Source: PIB


1. Context

President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended warm wishes to the nation on the occasion of Chhath Puja. This significant festival, celebrated on November 19, 2023, holds deep roots in Bihar, parts of eastern Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal. Notably, Chhath Puja has gained increased visibility nationwide in recent years, with images of its celebration even reaching international shores.

2. About Chhath Puja

  • Chhath Puja is a four-day elaborate celebration in honour of the Sun, which involves a long fast without water, and making offerings to Usha and Pratyusha, the light of the rising and the setting Sun, while standing in a water body.
  • Several beliefs are prevalent about why Chhath is observed. Some believe that it is a carryover from the time that man worshipped nature.
  • After Lord Ram and Goddess Sita returned victorious to Ayodhya from Lanka, they are said to have observed a fast and conducted a yagna for the Sun god.
  • In the Mahabharata, when the Pandavas were in exile, Draupadi went to sage Dhaumya for help, who advised her to observe a fast and pray to the Sun, and eventually, all her prayers were answered.
  • Karna also organized an elaborate ceremony in honour of Surya (the Sun), his father.
Image Source: Her Zindagi

3. How Chhath is Celebrated

Chhath Puja kicks off on the sixth day of the Kartik month, extending to October-November.
Some people celebrate it in the month of Chaitra also (in April), which is called the Chaiti Chhath. Devotees honour Chhathi maiyya, the Sun's sister, following strict rules for spiritual gains. The festival involves cleansing rituals, the preparation of special offerings, and the creation of thekuas, a significant element in Bihari cuisine.
  1. The first day of the festival is called naha kha, where those observing it take a meal (khana) only after a ceremonial bath in a river, a pond, or the sea (nahana).
  2. The second day is called kharna, on which the one observing the fast takes only one meal in the evening, of roti and kheer (rice pudding). This is also the day friends and family gather to prepare thekuas, which are essentially flour cakes with sugar or jaggery fried in ghee.
  3. The third day is called Sanjh ka Arghya, devotees go to the banks of a water body. Those who can't, build a temporary pool in their homes. The banks are decorated with diyas, rangoli, and sugarcane stalks
  4. The fourth day is called Bhor ka Arghya, the same ritual is conducted at dawn, for the rising Sun, called the Bhor ka Arghya, and the community returns home from the riverbanks, grateful for the successful conclusion of a difficult festival and for having taken part in it.

4. Conclusion

Chhath Puja holds a unique place in the hearts of Purvanchalis for several reasons. It serves as a symbol of community coming together, drawing Bihari migrants back to their roots. Notably, the festival transcends caste boundaries, with no involvement of priests. Both men and women observe the fast, emphasizing devotion to a visible and equal God. The festival's simplicity and inclusivity, regardless of one's social or economic standing, underscore its significance, delivering a powerful message of equality and reverence for nature.

For Prelims: Chhath Puja, Purvanchal, Bihari migrants, Sun god, Mahabharata, sage Dhaumya, Kartik, Chaitra
For Mains: 
1. Evaluate the ethical considerations surrounding the practice of fasting and its potential impact on individual health. (250 Words)


Previous Year Questions

1.  Chhath Puja, the famous traditional festival of India is dedicated to which of the following Gods? (SSC GD 2021) (UPSSSC VDO 2019)

A. Moon        B. Lord Brahma       C. Sun          D. Lord Shiva

Answer: C

2. 'Purvanchal Express Way' in Uttar Pradesh will not pass through which of the following cities? (UPPSC 2018)

A. Faizabad       B. Basti          C. Azamgarh            D. Mau

Answer: B

3.  Which of the following is/are famous for Sun temples? (UPSC 2017) 

1. Arasavalli
2. Amarakantak
3. Omkareshwar

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

A. 1 only     B. 2 and 3 only       C. 1 and 3 only       D. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: A

4. The Sun temple at Konark, is popularly known as the __________. (RRB NTPC 2022)

A. White Pagoda        B. Black Pagoda         C. Golden Pagoda       D. Bronze Pagoda

Answer: B

5. According to the Mahabharata, in which Mahajanapada did the Pandavas live during their exile? (Rajasthan Police Constable 2020) 

A. kuru         B. kaushal         C.  mall             D. matsya

Answer: D

6. Chaitra 1 of the national calendar based on the Saka Era corresponds to which one of the following dates of the Gregorian calendar in a normal year of 365 days? (UPSC 2014)

A. 22nd March (or 21st March)         B. 15th May (or 16th May)

C. 31st March (or 30th March)          D. 21st April (or 20th April)

Answer: A

7. With reference to the National Calendar, which of the statements is/are correct?  (UPPSC 2019)

1. The National Calendar of India is based on Vikram Era.

2. The National Calendar is adopted from January 26, 1950

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

A. 1 only        B. 2 only         C. Both 1 and 2         D. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: D

1. What are the main socio-economic implications arising out of the development of IT industries in major cities of India? (UPSC 2021)
2. Discuss the changes in the trends of labour migration within and outside India in the last four decades. (UPSC 2015)

Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
As Onattukara sesame has received a geographical indication (GI) tag, stakeholders are upbeat that the recognition will boost its popularity and market value.
Onattukara sesame enters list of GI-tagged products from Kerala, thanks to  KAU- The New Indian Express
2.Onattukara sesame
  • "Onattukara Sesame" refers to a particular variety of sesame seeds cultivated in the Onattukara region of Kerala, India. These sesame seeds are known for their quality, oil content, and flavor. They are often used in South Indian cuisine, particularly in dishes like chutneys, sweets, and various traditional recipes.
  • The Onattukara region, with its specific climate and soil conditions, contributes to the unique taste and quality of these sesame seeds.
  • The cultivation of Onattukara sesame currently spans under 600 hectares across 43 local administrations in three districts: Alappuzha, Kollam, and Pathanamthitta. B. Lovely, an Assistant Professor from the Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding at the College of Agriculture, Vellayani, Thiruvananthapuram, emphasizes the significant benefits for farmers. The sesame's GI-tagged status is projected to raise its market value, potentially leading to an expansion in cultivation and subsequently boosting production. Acknowledging its medicinal properties, Lovely advocates for exploring its export potential
  • The Onattukara Vikasana Agency (OVA), the registered owner of the GI-tagged sesame and with Agriculture Minister P. Prasad as its chairman, has initiated measures to promote the product and expand its cultivation
  • The OVA is planning to procure the sesame from farmers at ₹300 per kg. Besides making and marketing sesame oil under the Onattukara brand, we will launch a range of value-added products
Sesame Streets Ahead: New Strategy to Drive the Growth of Australia's  Sesame Industry | AgriFutures Australia

3. About Geographical Indication (GI) Tag

  • A Geographical Indication (GI) is a label that is applied to products that have a specific geographical origin and that have characteristics related to that particular location.
  • For Example, a GI tag for Amroha Dholak indicates that the dholaks must be made in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, using traditional methods and materials.

4. Importance of GI Tag

  • GI tags are important because they help to produce the reputation and authenticity of products from a particular region.
  • They also help to promote fair trade and sustainable practices. In the case of the seven products from Uttar Pradesh that have received GI tags, these tags will help to ensure that these products are made using traditional methods and that they are of high quality.
  • This will benefit the artisans who make these products and it will also help to preserve the unique cultural heritage of Uttar Pradesh.
For Prelims: Geographical Indication Tag, Uttar Pradesh, Amroha Dholak, Mahoba Gaura Patthar Hastashlip, Manipuri Tarkashi, Sambhal Horn Craft, Baghpat Home Furnishings, Barabanki Handloom Product, Kalpi Handmade Paper,
For Mains: 
1. Discuss the potential economic and cultural benefits of obtaining GI tags for regional products in terms of enhancing their market value and preserving traditional knowledge. (250 Words)


Previous Year Questions

1. Which of the following has/have been accorded 'Geographical Indication' status?  (UPSC 2015)

1. Banaras Brocades and Sarees
2. Rajasthani Daal-Bati-Churma
3. Tirupathi Laddu
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A. 1 only           B. 2 and 3 only               C.  1 and 3 only              D. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: C
2. India enacted The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 in order to comply with the obligations to (UPSC  2018) 
A. ILO           B. IMF               C. UNCTAD             D. WTO
Answer: D
3. On the basis of 'one district one product' programme in Uttar Pradesh, which one of the following pairs is NOT correctly matched? (UPPSC Combined State Exam 2022) 
A. Gautam Buddh Nagar - Readymade Garments 
B. Amethi - Moonz Products
C. Agra - Leather Products
D. Baghpat - Wooden Toys
Answer: D
4. In which of the following states was the Monpa handmade paper making unit inaugurated in December 2020? (SSC CHSL 2021) 
A. Manipur            B. Tripura              C. Assam              D. Arunachal Pradesh
Answer: D
Source: The Hindu


1. Context

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government has issued a statewide ban on products bearing halal certificates, effective immediately. This decision follows an FIR filed at Lucknow’s Hazratganj police station, where the complainant alleged that certain companies were exploiting the halal certification to boost sales within a specific community, thereby playing with public faith.

2. What does Halal mean?

  •  Halal, an Arabic term meaning 'permissible,' is contrasted with haram ('forbidden') in the Quran, denoting categories of lawful and unlawful actions.
  • Primarily associated with Islamic dietary laws, it ensures that food is sourced, processed, and traded in adherence to Islamic beliefs.
  • Comparable to the Jewish kashrut rules, which dictate 'kosher' food, halal guidelines focus on specific requirements, with pork and intoxicants being the most commonly considered non-halal items.
3. When is meat halal? 
  • In the Indian context, halal is predominantly associated with the Muslim slaughtering technique, involving a precise cut to the jugular vein, carotid artery, and windpipe.
  • The animal must be alive and healthy during the process, with all blood drained from the carcass.
  • This method contrasts with the 'jhatka' approach favoured by many Hindus and Sikhs, which includes stunning animals before slaughter, a practice not permitted in Islam.
  • The labelling of meat shops as 'halal' or 'jhatka' reflects religious ownership and preference.
4. Can non-meat products also be halal? 
  • Contrary to popular belief, halal is not exclusive to meat; it signifies 'permissible' in Islamic law, extending beyond dietary choices.
  • Vegetarian food, fish, and shellfish are generally considered halal unless they contain alcohol.
  • The concept also applies to non-food items like medicines, personal care products, packaging materials, and animal feed, emphasizing adherence to Islamic law in their production.

5. What are halal certificates? Who issues them? 

  • In India, halal certificates are issued by private organizations that are accredited by the countries that import the products.
  • There is no government regulation in this area.
  • The commerce ministry has issued draft guidelines saying that the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority would be designated as the overall monitoring agency for this purpose.
  • The major halal-certifying organizations in the country include Halal India Pvt Ltd and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust.
  • The International Halal Accreditation Forum is an international network of accreditation bodies mandated to enforce halal standards in their economies.
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, the UAE, and Pakistan have their own halal standards.

6. Why has the UP government banned halal-certified products?

The UP government has banned halal-certified products because it says that halal certification of vegetarian products like oil, soap, toothpaste, and honey is a deliberate criminal conspiracy targeting a specific community and its products. The ban is in the interest of public health and to prevent confusion. The ban exempts products meant for export.
  • The UP government order said that halal certification of food products is a parallel system which creates confusion regarding the quality of food items is completely against the basic intention of the said Act and is not tenable under Section 89 of the said Act.
  • The government said it recently received information which indicated that products such as dairy items, sugar, bakery products, peppermint oil, salty ready-to-eat beverages, and edible oils are being labelled with a halal certification.
  • The government said that there are no provisions for marking halal certification on labels in the government rules related to drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics, nor is there any mention of halal certification in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, of 1940, and its related rules.
  • Any direct or indirect mention of halal certification on the labels of medicines, medical devices, or cosmetics constitutes falsification under the said Act, making it a punishable offence.

6. Conclusion

The recent ban on halal-certified products in Uttar Pradesh reflects concerns about the potential misuse of religious certifications for commercial gains. Understanding the nuances of halal, its application beyond meat, and the certification process is crucial for addressing such issues and ensuring clarity for consumers and businesses alike.

For Prelims: Halal, Quran, Islamic dietary laws, 'jhatka' approach, Animal slaughter, 
For Mains: 
1. Analyze the concerns regarding the potential misuse of religious certifications for commercial gains. (250 Words) 
2. Examine the ethical considerations surrounding animal slaughter, considering both religious and secular perspectives. How do different communities balance their religious beliefs with concerns for animal welfare?  (250 Words) 
Previous Year Questions
1. Prophet Muhammad founded the faith of Islam in the ______ century. (SSC CGL 2021)
A. Sixth        B. Seventh           C. Ninth           D. Eighth
Answer: B
2. Which one of the following statements about the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is not correct? (CDS GK 2019) 
A. Its permanent Secretariat is located at Jeddah.
B. It endeavour's to safeguard and protect interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
C. It is the largest inter-governmental organization of the world
D. It has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN.
Answer: C
3. With reference to Indian laws about wildlife protection, consider the following statements:  (UPSC 2022)
1. Wild animals are the sole property of the government.
2. When a wild animal is declared protected, such animal is entitled for equal protection whether it is found in protected areas or outside.
3. Apprehension of a protected wild animal becoming a danger to human life is sufficient ground for its capture or killing.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 and 2         B.  2 only          C. 1 and 3           D. 3 only
Answer: A
Source: The Indian Express

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