Current Affair



1. Context

Festivities celebrating Rajasthan Day are undergoing across the state today (March 30).
Rajasthan Day marks the date of the state's creation, unifying a motley group of princely states and chiefships.

2. Key Points

  • The story of Rajasthan's foundation is intriguing. At the time of Independence, Rajasthan was almost wholly contained in the Rajputana Agency, a political office of the British Indian Empire.
  • It consisted of 22 princely states and estates. Less than 22 months after independence, all 22 had assimilated to form what would become India's largest state. However, the story of the state's foundation did not end there.
  • Modifications were made to the boundaries after the State Reorganisation Act 1956, giving Rajasthan its present shape.

3. The question of princely states

  • Upon attaining independence from British rule, India faced multiple challenges. One of the most pressing ones was regarding princely states. 
  • The outgoing British administration handed over only 60 per cent of India's land to the Indian government. The rest was in the hands of rulers of 565 princely states.
  • The British Empire administered India using two parallel systems direct rule in the provinces and indirect rule in the Princely states.
  • Rulers of these states had a degree of autonomy about their domestic administration but accepted the suzerainty of the British Crown.
When the British left, the Crown's suzerainty lapsed. Thus, the ruler of every princely state had three options:
1. Join India,
2. Join Pakistan 
3. Remain independent.
  • This was a major problem for nascent India as each ruler had to be individually or collectively convinced to join the new Union of India.
  • Especially in the aftermath of the Partition, it was of utmost importance to integrate these princely states into the union to maintain India's territorial integrity.
  • Thus, the States Ministry, headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with VP Menon as secretary, was launched with the task of merging princely states into the Indian Union.

4. The Rajputana Agency

  • The Rajputana Agency spanned roughly 330,330 sq. km with an agent under the Governor General in charge, residing at Mount Abu.
  • All the princely states and estates in the agency (22 in total) were ruled by Hindu rulers except Tonk (which had a Muslim ruler).
  • Most rulers were Rajput with the exception being Bharatpur and Dholpur which had Jat rulers.
  • Since they largely remained loyal to the British during the revolt of 1857, there were no major administrative changes made in these areas during British rule.
  • After independence, these states were slowly integrated into the Indian Union, in stages.

5. The Matsya Union

  • The States Ministry believed that four princely states Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Karauli at the eastern edge of the erstwhile Rajputana Agency had "natural, racial and economic affinities" with each other, as per VP Menon's The Story of the Integration of Indian States (1956). Thus, the Matsya Union was inaugurated on March 18, 1948.
  • At the time, it was understood that this would be a temporary formation and eventually, the Matsya Union would be merged either with the United Provinces or with the upcoming Rajasthan.

6. The Rajasthan Union in south-east Rajputana

  • Almost parallelly, the idea of the state of Rajasthan began to take shape in the southeast of the erstwhile Rajputana Agency.
  • Ten princely states, with Udaipur (also known as Mewar) being the largest, wanted to form a union.
  • An idea to merge these into Madhya Bharat (roughly today's Madhya Pradesh) was also floated, but that did not go through.
  • Another idea to merge these states into the much larger Udaipur was proposed by the Maharana of Udaipur, Bhupal Singh Bahadur.
  • However, this was not agreeable to the other princely states. Hence, on March 25, 1948, the nine other states came together to form the Rajasthan Union. Within three days after its formation, Udaipur decided to join this union.
  • After renewed discussions, the second Rajasthan Union was inaugurated by PM Jawaharlal Nehru on April 18, 1948.

7. Greater Rajasthan

  • However, while the Matsya Union and the Rajasthan Union accounted for much of the east and south-east of the erstwhile Agency, the four largest princely states Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Jaisalmer remained independent.
  • The latter three also shared a border with Pakistan, making their swift integration into the Indian Union even more important.
  • VP Menon suggested that these three, in addition to the other border state of Kutch (currently in Northern Gujarat) should be unified and put under the direct rule of the Centre.
  • However, this move did not receive many backers. The alternative, backed by Patel was to merge all four states into the newly formed Rajasthan Union.
  • Discussions to this effect bore fruit and on January 14, 1949, Sardar Patel announced "the impending reality of Greater Rajasthan".
  • Greater Rajasthan was officially inaugurated by Patel on March 30, 1949, the date still celebrated as Rajasthan Day.
  • The capital of the new Union was picked as Jaipur with the 36-year-old Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Man Singh II, selected as the Rajpramukh.
  • On May 15, 1949, the Matsya Union merged with Greateer Rajasthan to create a single, unified state of Rajasthan.

8. Modifications made by the State Reorganisation Commission

  • After demands for states based on linguistic lines emerged in various parts of India after Independence, the State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) was formed in 1953 to recommend new state boundaries to the government.
  • The commission's recommendations, with some modifications, were implemented in the State Reorganisation Act of November 1, 1956. For the state of Rajasthan, this brought some minor changes as well.
  • Ajmer had continued to exist as a small, independent "Class C" state (under the direct control of the Centre) within the boundaries of central Rajasthan.
  • It was formed in 1950 out of the former province of Ajmer-Merwara which, unlike the rest of Rajasthan, was under British administrative control.
  • Given Ajmer's linguistic, cultural and geographical links to Rajasthan, the SRC deemed that "there was no reason for it to continue existing as an independent state". Thus. Ajmer was integrated into Rajasthan as a district.
  • Also integrated was the Abu Road Taluk. In 1950, this taluk of the Sirohi district of Souther Rajasthan was sliced and included in the Bombay State.
  • This had always been contested by Rajasthan and the SRC returned the taluk to the state.
  • Finally, the enclave of Sunel in Rajasthan's southeastern edge was received from Madhya Pradesh in exchange for the enclave of Sironj, due to administrative reasons.

For Prelims & Mains:

For Prelims: Rajasthan day, State reorganisation commission, Mewar, State Reorganisation Act 1956, Princely states, 
For Mains:
1. What were the challenges associated with the State's Reorganisation in Independent India? Discuss how effectively India achieved the merging of the Princely states in Indian Union. (250 Words)

Previous Year Questions

1. Recently, which of the following States has explored the possibility of constructing an artificial inland port to be connected to the sea by a long navigational channel?  (UPSC  2016) 
1. Andhra Pradesh
2. Chhattisgarh
3. Karnataka
4. Rajasthan
2. Consider the following statements about the States Reorganisation Commission and Act?
a. The commission was appointed in December 1953.
b. The commission was headed by Fazal Ali and two members of the commission were H.V. Kamath and Govind Ballabh Pant.
c. The commission submitted its report on September 30, 1954.
d. The States Re-organisation Act was enacted on August 31, 1956.
e. The States Re-organisation Act came into effect on January 1, 1957.
Which of the statements given above are correct?MPSC 2019
1. a, b and c
2. b, c and d
3. b, d and e
4. a and d only
Answer: 4
Source: The Indian Express



1. Context

The lower house of Parliament passed the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023 Wednesday, which seeks to amend the Competition Act, 2022. One of the major changes in the amended law is that it affords the Competition Commission of India (CCI) the ability to penalise entities found engaging in anti-competitive behaviour based on their global turnover. 

2. What is Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022?

  • It was introduced by Ministry of Finance to amend the Competition Act, 2002 to bring it in line with modern development of new technology, digital market.
  • The 2002 Act establishes the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for regulating market competition.
  • Later, the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance for further scrutiny.

3. Key features of the 2022 Bill

  • Regulation of Combinations based on transaction value: The Act prohibits any person or enterprise from entering into a combination which may cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition. Combinations imply mergers, acquisitions, or amalgamation of enterprise. The prohibition applies to transactions where parties involved have: (i) cumulative assets of more than Rs 1,000 crore, or (ii) cumulative turnover of more than Rs 3,000 crore, subject to certain other conditions. The Bill expands the definition of combinations to include transactions with a value above Rs 2,000 crore.
  • Time limit for approval of combinations: The Act requires the CCI to pass an order on an application for approval of combinations within 210 days.  The Bill reduces this time limit to 150 days. 
  • Definition of control for classification of combinations: For classification of combinations, the Act defines control as control over the affairs or management by one or more enterprises over another enterprise or group.  The Bill modifies the definition of control as the ability to exercise material influence over the management, affairs, or strategic commercial decisions.
  • Anti-competitive agreements: Under the Act, anti-competitive agreements include any agreement related to production, supply, storage, or control of goods or services, which can cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.  Any agreement between enterprises or persons, engaged in identical or similar businesses, will have such adverse effect on competition if it meets certain criteria.
  • Settlement and Commitment in anti-competitive proceedings: Under the Act, CCI may initiate proceedings against enterprises on grounds of: (i) entering into anti-competitive agreements, or (ii) abuse of dominant position.  Abuse of dominant position includes: (i) discriminatory conditions in the purchase or sale of goods or services, (ii) restricting production of goods or services, or (iii) indulging in practices leading to the denial of market access.  The Bill permits CCI to close inquiry proceedings if the enterprise offers: (i) settlement (may involve payment), or (ii) commitments (may be structural or behavioural in nature).  The manner and implementation of the framework of settlement and commitment may be specified by CCI through regulations.
  • Decriminalisation of certain offences: The Bill changes the nature of punishment for certain offences from imposition of fine to penalty.  These offences include failure to comply with orders of CCI and directions of Director General with regard to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position.

4. Why global turnover provision could spell trouble for the Big Tech?

  • While the new provision on global turnover will not be exclusively applicable to tech companies, they are likely to be the most aggrieved by it given the nature of their business which cuts across geographies.
  • Typically, the revenue these businesses earn from their India operations is much smaller than their income in other regions such as the US and Europe.
  • From a business point of view, the consideration of total turnover may lead to unfair and punitive outcomes and would also lead to discrimination between enterprises who commit a similar contravention but are penalised differently depending on the expanse of their business.
  • In the European Union, the penalty imposed on an entity for anti-competitive activity has been limited to 10 percent of the overall annual turnover of the company.
  • The 10 percent limit can be based on the turnover of the group to which the company belongs if the parent of that group exercised decisive influence over the operations of the subsidiary during the infringement period.

5. The jurisprudence on the definition of 'turnover' in India

  • The definition of 'turnover' had been a widely debated subject in the competition law landscape, and it was in 2017 when the Supreme court had fixed how it should be determined in such cases.
  • On 8 May, 2017, in a landmark judgement, the top court had upheld the principle of relevant turnover for determination of penalties in competition law contraventions.
  • In a case related to alleged contravention of the Competition Act, 2002 in the public procurement of Aluminium Phosphide tables by the Food Corporation of India, the CCI had imposed a penalty at the rate of 9 percent of the total turnover of the concerned tablet manufacturers, Excel Corp. care Limited, United Phosphorous Limited, and Sandhya Organic Chemicals Private Limited.
  • The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) had however later said that the turnover will have to be relevant turnover, that is turnover derived from the sales of goods and services.

6. Competition Comission of India

  • The Competition Comission of India (CCI) was established in March 2009 by the Government of India under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation, and enforcement of the Act.
  • Competition Comission of India consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.

For Prelims & Mains

For Prelims: Competition Comission of India(CCI), Ministry of Finance, Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023, Competition Act, 2002, and Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT).
For Mains: 1. What is Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022.Discuss the key features of the (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
Source: The Indian Express

Previous year Question

1. What is/are the objectives of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ?(HPPSC 2018)
(I) To ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets in India.
(II) To protect the interests of consumers.
(III) To promote and sustain competition in markets.
(IV) To prevent practices from having an adverse effect on competition.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below : 
A. I, II and IV only
B. I, II and III only
C. II, III and IV only
D. I, II, III and IV only
Answer: D


1. Context 

The world celebrated International Tiger Day on July 29, 2022. This year was the deadline decided in the 2010 Global Tiger Summit in Russia
Then it had been decided that tiger numbers should be doubled. Nepal has done it according to new figures released on July 29.
2. About Project Tiger
  • The Government of India launched "Project Tiger" on 1st April 1973 to promote the conservation of the tiger.
  • Project Tiger has been the largest species conservation initiative of its kind in the world.
  • While the field implementation of the project, protection and management in the designated reserves is done by the project States, who also provide the matching grant to recurring items of expenditure, deploy field staff/officers and give their salaries, the Project Tiger Directorate of the Ministry of Environment and Forests was mandated with the task of providing technical guidance and funding support.

3. Tiger Task Force

  • The implementation of Project Tiger over the years has highlighted the need for a statutory authority with legal backing to ensure tiger conservation.
  • Based on the recommendations of the National Board for Wild Life Chaired by the Hon'ble Prime Minister, a Task Force was set up to look into problems of tiger conservation in the country.
  • The recommendations of the said Task Force, interalia include strengthening Project Tiger by giving it statutory and administrative powers, apart from creating the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau.
  • It has also been recommended that an annual report should be submitted to the Central government for laying in Parliament, so that commitment to Project Tiger is reviewed from time to time, in addition to addressing the concerns of local people. 

Broadly the urgent recommendations of the said Task Force are

  1. Reinvigorating the constitution of governance.
  2. Strengthening efforts towards the protection of tigers, checking to poach, convicting wildlife criminals and breaking the international trade network in wildlife body parts and derivatives.
  3. Expanding the undisturbed areas for tigers by reducing human pressure.
  4.  Repair the relationship with local people who share the tiger's habitat by fielding strategies for coexistence.
  5. Regenerate the forest habitats in the fringes of the tiger's protective enclaves by investing in forest, water and grassland economies of the people.

4. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

  • Considering the urgency of the situation, Project Tiger has been converted into a statutory authority (NTCA) by providing enabling provisions in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 through an amendment, viz. Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006.
  • This forms one of the urgent recommendations of the Tiger Task Force appointed by the Prime Minister.
  • The NTCA addresses the ecological as well as administrative concerns for conserving tigers, by providing a statutory basis for the protection of tiger reserves, apart from providing strengthened institutional mechanisms for the protection of ecologically sensitive areas and endangered species.
  • The Authority also ensures enforcing guidelines for tiger conservation and monitoring compliance of the same, apart from the placement of motivated and trained officers having good track records as Field Directors of tiger reserves.
  • It also facilitates capacity building of officers and staff posted in tiger reserves, apart from a time-bound staff development plan.
  • The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 has come into force with effect from the 4th of September, 2006 and the NTCA has also been constituted on the same date.

For Prelims & Mains

For Prelims: Project Tiger, Tiger Task Force, Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972,  Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006, Global Tiger Summit, National Tiger Conservation Authority,
For Mains:
1. Discuss the Role of the National Tiger Conservation Authority in increasing the tiger population in India. Explain the significance of the Tigers in the Ecosystem. (250 Words)

Previous Year Questions

1. The term ‘M-STRIPES’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of (UPSC 2017)

(a) Captive breeding of Wild Fauna

(b) Maintenance of Tiger Reserves

(c) Indigenous Satellite Navigation System

(d) Security of National Highways

Answer: (b)

2.  Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2014)

1. Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environment (Protection) Act, of 1986.
2. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body.
3. National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Answer: (b)

3. Which one of the following is the well-publicized wildlife campaign in the world launched in 1973? (BPSC 2023) 

1. Sunderbans

2. Project Project

3. Tiger Lion Project

4. More than one of the above

5. None of the above

Answer: 2




1. Context

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has lifted limits on the payment of commissions to insurance intermediaries. With this, life and non-life players will have more freedom in offering commissions the compensation paid to and received by an insurance agent from an insurer for soliciting and procuring an insurance policy.

2. Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or the IRDAI is the apex body responsible for the regulation and development of the insurance industry in India.
  • It is an autonomous body.
  • It was established by an act of Parliament known as the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, of 1999. Hence, it is a statutory body.

3. IRDA Functions

  • Its primary purpose is to protect the rights of the policyholders in India.
  • It gives the registration certificate to insurance companies in the country.
  • It also engages in the renewal, modification, cancellation, etc. of this registration.
  • It also creates regulations to protect policyholders interests in India.

4. What does the new IRDAI rule say?

  • IRDAI has asked insurance companies, including life and non-life, to fix an overall cap on commission to agents, brokers, and other intermediaries, giving more flexibility to insurers in managing their expenses.
  • This means the regulator has replaced the earlier cap on different commission payments to various types of intermediaries with an overall board-approved cap which should be within the allowed expenses.

5. What is the Objective?

The rationale of the regulation is to enable and provide flexibility to the insurers, both life and general insurers to manage their expenses within the overall limits based on their gross written premium to optimally utilize their resources for enhancing benefits to policyholders.

6. How will this move benefit insurance companies and agents?

  • The insurance sector participants have welcomed the change in the regulation and termed it a major reform.
  • They said the removal of the cap on commission payments will positively impact the sector.
  • Currently, the limit of EOM in the general insurance business is 30 percent, and in health insurance is 35 percent.
  • The insurance companies are paying insurance intermediaries a commission of 15 percent of the total premium business they are bringing in.
  • The new regulation has removed the cap. However, the overall limit of EOM will remain.
  • With the new regulations, an insurance company can pay a higher commission to an agent if the business brought in is good and claim-free.
  • The liberty to give a commission to an agent is left to the company.
  • The new norms will facilitate greater product innovation and the development of new product distribution models and lead to more customer-centric operations.
  • It will also increase insurance penetration and provide flexibility to insurers in managing their expenses. Overall, it will smoothen adherence to compliance norms.

7. What benefit will consumers get?

  • Post the changes in regulations, insurance agents are likely to be more interested in selling insurance products and explaining policy details to consumers beforehand.
  • The claim ratio of these agents will also be better.
  • When claim outgoes are within the overall manageable limit, an insurance company may not increase the premium, which will be beneficial for consumers.
  • This move will also help in increasing insurance penetration as agents will get higher commissions.
  • IRDAI said the regulation will come into force from April 1, 2023, and will remain in force for a period of three years thereafter. 

8. What do Expenses of Mangement mean?

  • Expenses of Management (EOM) include all expenses in the nature of operation expenses of general or health Insurance business and commission to the insurance agents or insurance intermediaries.
  • It also includes commission and expenses on reinsurance inward, which are charged to the revenue account.

For Prelims

For Prelims: Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI), Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, of 1999, and Expenses of Management (EOM).
Source: The Indian Express
Previous year Question
1. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) Act was passed in the year? (TNPSC Group -1, 2014)
A. 1986
B. 1991
C. 1999
D. 2005
Answer: B
2. IRDAI has set up a panel under whose chairmanship to examine the need for standard cyber liability insurance product? (CGPSC Civil service 2020)
A. Pravin Kutumbe
B. P. Umesh
C. K. Ganesh
D. T. L. Alamelu
Answer: B
Source: indianexpress



The Lahore High Court Thursday invalidated the provisions of Section 124A of the Pakistan Penal Code, also referred to as its “sedition law”. Section 124A made it a crime to engage in sedition or “disaffection” against the government

2.Key points 

  • It deals with the offence of sedition, till the central government completes the promised exercise to reconsider and re-examine the provision.
  • The central government had initially defended the colonial provision, but later told the apex court was reviewing it.

3.Sedition law 

Section 124A defines sedition as " Whoever, 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 shall be punished with imprisonment for life to which fine may be added".
The provision also contains three explanations 
  1. The expression "Disaffection" includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.
  2. Comments expressing disapprobation of the measures of the Government to obtain their alteration by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.
  3. Comments expressing disapprobation of the administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offence under this section.

4.Origins of the Sedition law

  • Although Thomas Macaulay drafted the Indian Penal Code had included the law on sedition, it was not added to the code enacted in 1860.
  • Legal experts believe this omission was accidental.
  • In 1890, sedition was included as an offence under section 124A IPC through the Special Act XVII.

5.Pre-independence cases

  • The punishment prescribed then, transportation "beyond the seas for the term of his or her natural life" was amended to life imprisonment in 1955.
  • The provision was extensively used to curb political dissent during the Independence movement.
  • Several pre-independence cases involving Section 124A of the IPC are against celebrated freedom fighters, including Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Annie Besant, Shaukat and Mohammad Ali, Maulana Azad and Mahatma Gandhi.
It is during this time that the most notable trial on sedition Queen Empress v. Bal Gangadhar Tilak took place in 1898.
  • Courts largely followed a literal interpretation of the provision holding that "the disapprobation must be 'compatible' with a disposition to render obedience to the lawful authority of the Government and to support the lawful authority of the Government against unlawful attempts to subvert or resist that authority."
The Constituent Assembly debated including sedition as an exception to the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, guaranteed in the Constitution, but several members vehemently disagreed and the word is not included in the document.

6.Law Commission reports

  • Successive reports of the Law Commission of India and even the Supreme Court, have underlined the rampant misuse of the sedition law.
  • The Kedar Nath Guidelines and a textual deviation in law put the onus on the police who register a case to distinguish between legitimate speech from seditious speech.

7.Sedition laws in other countries

Country  Sedition law 

United Kingdom

The sedition law was officially repealed under Section 73 of the Coroners and Justice Act, 2009, citing a chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression.
The common law on sedition is traced to the Statute of Westminister, 1275, When the King was considered the holder of Divine Right was termed "arcane" and "from a bygone era when freedom of expression was not seen as the right it is today. 

United States

Sedition is a federal felony under the Federal Criminal Code, Section 2384 and is now being used against rioters involved in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
Despite the First Amendment that forbids any restrictions on free speech, Conspiracy to interfere directly with the operation of the government and not just speech is considered sedition. 

Australia and Singapore 

Australia repealed its sedition law in 2010 and last year, Singapore also repealed the law citing that several new legislations can sufficiently address the actual need for sedition law without its chilling effects.
Source: indianexpress

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