Current Affair



1. Context 
Citizenship certificates under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) were granted to some people in West Bengal, Uttarakhand, and Haryana
2. About the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 is a controversial piece of legislation enacted by the Government of India on December 12, 2019. The act amends the Citizenship Act of 1955 to provide a pathway to Indian citizenship for certain religious minorities from neighbouring countries.

Key features of the Citizenship Amendment Act include

  • Eligibility Criteria: The CAA grants eligibility for Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian migrants who arrived in India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan on or before December 31, 2014, and have faced religious persecution on their home countries.
  • Exclusion of Muslims: Notably, the CAA excludes Muslims from its purview, leading to criticisms of religious discrimination and accusations of violating the secular principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
  • Criticism and Protests: The Citizenship Amendment Act sparked widespread protests across India, with critics arguing that the act undermines the secular fabric of the nation and discriminates against Muslims. Protesters also raised concerns about the potential marginalisation of Muslim communities and the exclusionary nature of the legislation.
  • Support from Government: The government defended the Citizenship Amendment Act, asserting that it aims to provide refuge and protection to persecuted religious minorities from neighbouring countries. The government argued that the act does not infringe upon the rights of Indian Muslims and is in line with the country's secular ethos.
  • Legal Challenges: Several petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act were filed in the Supreme Court of India. The court has heard arguments from both sides and is expected to deliver its judgment on the matter.
3. The current status of the Citizenship Amendment Act, of 2019
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on March 11 notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules, 2024 that would enable the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Parliament in 2019.
  • Though the legislation facilitates citizenship to undocumented people belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Christian and Jain communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, the rules state that the applicants will have to provide six types of documents and specify “date of entry” in India.


4. The concerns associated with the Citizenship Amendment Act, of 2019

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 has sparked various concerns and criticisms, both domestically within India and internationally. 

  • One of the primary concerns regarding the CAA is its exclusion of Muslims from the list of religious minorities eligible for citizenship under the act. Critics argue that this selective approach based on religion goes against the secular principles enshrined in India's constitution and promotes religious discrimination.
  • The CAA's focus on granting citizenship based on religious identity raises concerns about the secular nature of India's democracy. Critics argue that the act undermines the inclusive and pluralistic ethos of the country by favouring specific religious communities.
  • Opponents of the CAA fear that the act, coupled with other proposed policies like the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), could have implications for the demographic composition of India. They raise concerns about the marginalisation and exclusion of certain communities, particularly Muslims, and the potential for statelessness among vulnerable populations.
  • The constitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Act has been challenged in the Supreme Court of India. Critics argue that the act violates the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, including the right to equality and non-discrimination.
  • The implementation of the CAA has led to social and political polarization within India. The act has become a contentious issue, leading to protests, debates, and divisions along religious and ideological lines.
  • The CAA has also attracted international attention and scrutiny, with concerns raised by human rights organizations and foreign governments regarding religious freedom, minority rights, and the potential impact on vulnerable communities.

5. The Indian ideas and rules of citizenship in the Constitution before the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019

Before the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019, the principles and rules of citizenship in India were primarily governed by the Constitution of India, which came into effect on January 26, 1950. The Constitution lays down the framework for citizenship and enshrines certain fundamental rights and principles related to citizenship. 

  • Citizenship by Birth: According to Article 5 of the Indian Constitution, any person born in India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, was automatically considered a citizen of India by birth, regardless of the nationality of their parents.
  • Citizenship by Descent: Individuals born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, but before July 1, 1987, were eligible for Indian citizenship if either of their parents was a citizen of India at the time of their birth.
  • Citizenship by Registration: The Constitution provides provisions for certain categories of persons to acquire Indian citizenship through registration. This includes persons of Indian origin who have resided in India for a specified period and meet other criteria prescribed by law.
  • Citizenship by Naturalization: Foreigners who have resided in India for a specified period and fulfilled other conditions prescribed by law were eligible to apply for Indian citizenship through naturalization.
  • Citizenship by Incorporation of Territory: Any territory that became part of India through accession or merger automatically conferred Indian citizenship on its inhabitants as per the provisions of the Constitution.
  • Fundamental Rights: The Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights to all citizens of India, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or place of birth. These rights include the right to equality, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, and the right to life and personal liberty.
  • Citizenship Act, 1955: This act, enacted based on the Constitution's provisions, outlined ways to acquire Indian citizenship. Here are the main routes:

    • Birth: Being born in India (with some limitations) granted citizenship.
    • Descent: Children born to Indian parents abroad could become citizens.
    • Registration: People of Indian origin residing in India for seven years could register.
    • Naturalization: Foreigners meeting specific residency requirements could apply for naturalization.

The Indian Constitution before the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 outlined principles of citizenship that were based on inclusivity, equality, and non-discrimination, with provisions for acquiring citizenship through birth, descent, registration, naturalization, and territorial incorporation. The CAA introduced amendments to these principles, particularly regarding eligibility for citizenship based on religious identity.


6. Section 6A of the Citizenship Act

Section 6A is a special provision inserted into the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, in 1985, as part of the Assam Accord. It deals with the citizenship of people who migrated to Assam from Bangladesh:

  • It applies to people who entered Assam on or after January 1, 1966, but before March 25, 1971.
  • It grants citizenship to these people if they can prove that they were "ordinarily resident" in Assam on March 24, 1971.
  • People who claim citizenship under Section 6A must apply to a Foreigners Tribunal. The Tribunal will then decide whether or not to grant them citizenship based on the evidence they provide.


7. What does NRC mean?

  • NRC stands for the National Register of Citizens. It is a register maintained by the Government of India containing names and certain relevant information for the identification of Indian citizens in the state of Assam.
  • The purpose of the NRC is to create a list of genuine Indian citizens residing in Assam and identify individuals who are not legal residents of the state.
  • The NRC process in Assam has its origins in the Assam Accord of 1985, which aimed to address the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh and determine the citizenship status of individuals living in Assam.
  • The NRC process requires individuals to provide documentary evidence to prove their citizenship based on criteria set by the government.
  • The NRC process involves extensive documentation and verification to establish citizenship status, and it has been a contentious issue due to its impact on individuals' rights and concerns about exclusion and discrimination.
  • The implementation of the NRC in Assam has led to debates, legal challenges, and social tensions regarding citizenship and immigration issues in India.

8. What is NPR?

  • NPR stands for the National Population Register. It is a register of usual residents of India, which includes both citizens and non-citizens who have resided in a local area for at least six months or intend to stay for the next six months or more.
  • The NPR is prepared at the local, sub-district, district, state, and national levels under the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • The main purpose of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of residents in India. It collects demographic and biometric information to establish the identity of individuals and households.
  • The data collected in the NPR includes details such as name, age, gender, marital status, occupation, educational qualification, address, and other relevant information.
  • The NPR process involves house-to-house enumeration and collection of data by government officials or designated enumerators. The data collected is used for various purposes, including government planning, policy formulation, and social welfare schemes.
  • It's important to note that the NPR is distinct from the National Register of Citizens (NRC). While the NPR focuses on creating a comprehensive database of residents, the NRC specifically deals with determining the citizenship status of individuals, particularly in the state of Assam, based on documentary evidence.
  • The NPR has been a topic of discussion and debate in India, with concerns raised about privacy, data security, and potential misuse of information.


9. The difference between the NRC, NPR and CAA 


Term Description Purpose Focus
NRC (National Register of Citizens) Register of Indian citizens in Assam Identify legal residents and non-citizens Citizenship status in Assam
NPR (National Population Register) Register of usual residents (citizens and non-citizens) Create a comprehensive identity database Residents of India for planning purposes
CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) Law providing path to citizenship for religious minorities Grant citizenship based on religion and persecution

Specific religious minorities facing persecution


10. Is NPR connected to NRC?

The NPR (National Population Register) is connected to the NRC (National Register of Citizens) in the sense that the data collected during the NPR exercise can be used as a basis for the NRC verification process, especially in the context of Assam.

  1. Data Collection: The NPR involves collecting demographic and biometric information about residents of India, including both citizens and non-citizens who have lived in a local area for at least six months or intend to stay for the next six months or more. This data includes details such as name, age, gender, address, marital status, educational qualification, occupation, etc.

  2. Verification: The data collected during the NPR process can be used as a basis for verifying citizenship during the NRC process, particularly in Assam. In Assam, the NRC process requires individuals to provide documentary evidence to prove their citizenship based on certain criteria. The data from NPR can be cross-referenced during this verification process.

  3. Identification: The NPR data can help identify individuals who are considered genuine Indian citizens and those who may be considered doubtful citizens or non-citizens. This identification is crucial for the NRC process, especially in states like Assam where illegal immigration has been a longstanding issue.

While the NPR data can be used as a tool for verification during the NRC process, it's important to note that the NPR itself is not the same as the NRC. The NPR focuses on creating a comprehensive population database for administrative and planning purposes, while the NRC specifically deals with determining citizenship status, particularly in Assam, based on documentary evidence and verification.


11. Who are ‘Citizens’?

In general terms, citizens are individuals who hold citizenship in a particular country. Citizenship is a legal status that grants individuals certain rights, privileges, and responsibilities within the nation-state to which they belong. The concept of citizenship varies across different countries, but some common characteristics of citizenship include.

  1. Legal Recognition: Citizens are legally recognized members of a country or state. They are entitled to the protection of the state and have access to its legal system.
  2. Rights and Privileges: Citizens typically enjoy certain rights and privileges that non-citizens may not have, such as the right to vote, the right to work and reside in the country, access to social services, and the right to participate in the political process.
  3. Responsibilities: Along with rights and privileges, citizenship also entails certain responsibilities, such as obeying the laws of the country, paying taxes, serving on juries if called upon, and sometimes participating in military service.
  4. National Identity: Citizenship often involves a sense of national identity and belonging to a particular community or nation. This can include shared cultural, historical, and linguistic ties that bind citizens together.
  5. Acquisition and Loss: Citizenship can be acquired through birth (jus soli or jus sanguinis), naturalization, or descent from a citizen parent. It can also be lost or renounced voluntarily or involuntarily, depending on the laws of the country.
12. The Way Forward
By adopting the strategies, stakeholders can work towards addressing concerns related to the Citizenship Amendment Act, promoting inclusivity, protecting minority rights, and upholding democratic values in India's citizenship policies and practices.
For Prelims: Citizenship Amendment Act, Minorities, Secularism, NPR, NRC, 
For Mains: 
1. The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019 has sparked significant controversy in India. Critically examine the Act's provisions, highlighting the key concerns and potential implications. In your opinion, does the CAA violate the secular principles enshrined in the Indian Constitution? (250 words)
2. Considering the debates surrounding the CAA, critically analyze the concept of citizenship in India. How has the concept evolved, and what are the challenges in defining and managing citizenship in a diverse democracy like India? (250 words)
Previous Year Questions

Consider the following statements: (2018)

1. Aadhaar card can be used as a proof of citizenship or domicile.
2. Once issued, the Aadhaar number cannot be deactivated or omitted by the Issuing Authority.

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


2. What is the position of the Right to Property in India? (UPSC  2021)

(a) Legal right available to citizens only
(b) Legal right available to any person
(c) Fundamental Rights available to citizens only
(d) Neither Fundamental Right nor legal right


3.  With reference to the Delimitation Commission, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2012)
1. The orders of the Delimitation Commission cannot be challenged in a Court of Law.
2. When the orders of the Delimitation Commission are laid before the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly, they cannot effect any modifications in the orders.
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
4. Barak Valley in Assam is famous for which among the following? (MSTET 2019)
A.  Bamboo Industry
B. Petroleum Production
C. Cottage Industries
D. Tea Cultivation
5. Which one of the following is an important crop of the Barak Valley? (Karnataka Civil Police Constable 2019)
A. Sugarcane           B.  Jute            C. Tea                    D. Cotton
6. Under Assam Accord of 1985, foreigners who had entered Assam before March 25, _____ were to be given citizenship.  (DSSSB JE & Section Officer 2022)
A. 1954           B. 1971         C.  1981           D. 1966
Answers: 1-D, 2-B, 3-C, 4-D, 5-B, 6-B
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
A large number of Indians are falling prey to financial fraud carried out over the Internet, allegedly by criminals based in three contiguous southeast Asian countries: Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia 

2. About cybercrime


Cybercrime is essentially any illegal activity that involves computers, networks, or digital devices. Criminals can use these tools to steal data, commit fraud, disrupt computer systems, or cause other harm. Some common types of cybercrime include:

  • Stealing someone's personal information like their name, Social Security number, or credit card details to impersonate them and commit fraud.
  • Tricking people into giving up their personal information or clicking on malicious links by disguising emails or websites as legitimate ones.
  • Malicious software that can be installed on a computer to steal data, damage files, or disrupt operations.
  • Gaining unauthorized access to a computer system or network to steal data, install malware, or cause damage.

3. What is NCRP?


The National Cybercrime Reporting Portal is an online platform established by the government of India to facilitate the reporting of cybercrimes by citizens. The portal allows individuals to report incidents of cybercrime in a streamlined and accessible manner.

Key features and functions of the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal include

  • Individuals can report various types of cybercrimes such as online harassment, financial fraud, ransomware attacks, and identity theft. The portal provides specific categories for different types of cyber incidents to ensure proper documentation and handling.
  • The portal places a special emphasis on crimes related to women and children, providing a dedicated section to report cases of online harassment, child pornography, and other related offences.
  • The portal allows users to report crimes anonymously if they choose, ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of the complainant.
  • Once a complaint is filed, the portal provides a tracking number which can be used to follow up on the status of the complaint.
  • The portal offers resources and guidelines on how to protect oneself from cybercrime, as well as information on legal recourse and support available for victims.
4. What is the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)?

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), established by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), is essentially India's central command centre for combating cybercrime.


  • The I4C serves as a focal point for coordinating efforts between various Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) across the country to tackle cybercrime effectively.
  • It facilitates the exchange of information on cybercrime investigations, cyber threat intelligence, and best practices among LEAs. This allows for a more unified approach to combating cyber threats.
  • The I4C is citizen-centric. It played a role in launching the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (NCRP) which allows people to report cybercrime complaints online. There's also a National Cybercrime Helpline (1930) to report incidents and get assistance.
  • The I4C identifies the need for adapting cyber laws to keep pace with evolving technology. They recommend amendments to existing laws and suggest the creation of new ones if necessary.
  • The I4C works with academia and research institutes to develop new technologies and forensic tools to aid in cybercrime investigations.
  • They promote collaboration between the government, industry, and academia to raise awareness about cybercrime and develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) for containing and responding to cyberattacks.

5. What is the Budapest Convention?


The Budapest Convention, also known as the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, is the world's first international treaty specifically designed to address cybercrime. It came into effect in 2004 with three main objectives:

  1. The convention aims to improve how countries investigate cybercrime by setting standards for collecting electronic evidence and fostering cooperation between law enforcement agencies.
  2. It facilitates cooperation among member states in tackling cybercrime. This includes sharing information, assisting with investigations, and extraditing cybercriminals.
  3. The convention encourages member countries to harmonize their national laws related to cybercrime. This creates a more unified approach to defining and prosecuting cyber offences.

India's Stand: India is not currently a party to the Budapest Convention. There are concerns that some provisions, like data sharing with foreign law enforcement agencies, might infringe on India's national sovereignty. India has also argued that it wasn't involved in drafting the initial convention.


6. What is the Global Cybersecurity Index?


The Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) is an initiative by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to measure and rank the cybersecurity capabilities of countries around the world. The index provides insights into the commitment of countries to cybersecurity at a global level, assessing their strengths and identifying areas for improvement. The key aspects of the Global Cybersecurity Index


  • To promote cybersecurity awareness and foster a global culture of cybersecurity.
  • To encourage countries to enhance their cybersecurity infrastructure and strategies.
  • To facilitate knowledge sharing and cooperation among nations.

Assessment Criteria

 The GCI evaluates countries based on five main pillars:

  1. Examines the existence of cybersecurity legislation and regulatory frameworks.
  2. Assesses the implementation of cybersecurity technologies and technical institutions.
  3.  Looks at national cybersecurity strategies, policies, and dedicated agencies.
  4. Evaluate the availability of cybersecurity education, training, and awareness programs.
  5. Measures the extent of international and national cooperation in cybersecurity efforts.
The assessment is conducted through a comprehensive survey sent to ITU member states, followed by analysis and validation of the responses. The countries are then scored and ranked based on their overall cybersecurity posture.


 The GCI serves several important functions:

  • Provides a benchmarking tool for countries to assess their cybersecurity maturity.
  • Helps policymakers identify gaps and prioritize areas for improvement.
  • Encourages international cooperation and collaboration to tackle global cyber threats.
The GCI reports typically highlight the growing importance of cybersecurity due to increasing digital transformation and the rising number of cyber threats. They showcase best practices and successful initiatives from top-ranking countries, serving as models for others.

7. The challenges related to cyber security in India


India faces numerous challenges related to cybersecurity, reflecting its rapidly growing digital economy and increasing reliance on technology. 

Increasing Cyber Threats:

  • India has seen a significant rise in cybercrimes, including hacking, phishing, ransomware attacks, and identity theft. Sophisticated, state-sponsored attacks targeting critical infrastructure and sensitive data are becoming more common.
  • Many public and private sector systems rely on outdated technology, making them vulnerable to attacks. Inadequate implementation of robust cybersecurity measures and protocols leaves systems exposed.
  • There is a significant gap in the number of trained cybersecurity experts needed to protect against and respond to cyber threats. Ongoing education and training programs are insufficient to keep pace with evolving cyber threats.
  • The absence of a unified regulatory framework complicates cybersecurity management. While laws like the IT Act 2000 exist, enforcement and implementation remain inconsistent and weak.
  • Many individuals and small businesses lack awareness of basic cybersecurity practices. Practices like using weak passwords, not updating software, and falling for phishing scams are common.
  • The absence of robust data protection legislation makes it difficult to safeguard personal and sensitive data. Ensuring privacy and protection of personal information remains a significant challenge.
  • Effective cybersecurity often requires international cooperation, which is currently limited and inconsistent. Cross-border cyber threats and geopolitical tensions complicate collaboration and response efforts.
  • The rapid adoption of IoT devices, often with minimal security features, increases vulnerabilities. While AI can enhance security, it also introduces new risks and attack vectors.
  • Sectors like banking, healthcare, and energy are increasingly targeted, requiring enhanced protection measures. Ensuring coordinated efforts among various governmental and private entities involved in critical infrastructure protection is challenging.
  • Limited financial resources allocated for cybersecurity initiatives hinder the development and implementation of comprehensive security measures.
  • Staying abreast of the latest cybersecurity technologies and tools is difficult due to financial and logistical constraints.
8. Way Forward
Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach involving improved regulatory frameworks, enhanced public awareness, investment in cybersecurity infrastructure, international cooperation, and the development of a skilled workforce. By strengthening these areas, India can better safeguard its digital ecosystem against the growing threat of cybercrime.
For Prelims: Cyber Crime, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre,  National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, Budapest Convention, Global Cybersecurity Index, International Telecommunication union
For Mains: 
1. India witnesses a high number of cybercrimes originating from Southeast Asia. Analyze the challenges this poses for Indian Law Enforcement Agencies and suggest measures to improve cross-border cooperation in tackling cybercrime. (250 words)
2. What are the key functions of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)? Critically evaluate its effectiveness in combating cybercrime in India. (250 words)
3. The rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices introduces new vulnerabilities in cyberspace. Analyze the cybersecurity challenges posed by IoT and suggest measures to mitigate these risks. (250 words)
Previous Year Questions
1. In India, under cyber insurance for individuals, which of the following benefits are generally covered, in addition to payment for the loss of funds and other benefits? (UPSC 2020)
1. Cost of restoration of the computer system in case of malware disrupting access to one's computer
2. Cost of a new computer if some miscreant wilfully damages it, if proved so
3. Cost of hiring a specialized consultant to minimize the loss in case of cyber extortion
4. Cost of defence in the Court of Law if any third party files a suit
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
A.1, 2 and 4 only  B.1, 3 and 4 only  C.2 and 3 only   D.1, 2, 3 and 4
2. Global Cyber Security Index (GCI) 2020 is released by which of the following organizations? (RRB Clerk Mains 2021)
A. World Bank
B. United Nations Development Programme
C. International Telecommunication Union
D. World Economic Forum
E. None of these
Answers: 1-D, 2-C
Source: The Indian Express



1. Context

Amritpal Singh, the jailed head of the pro-Khalistan outfit Waris Punjab de, announced his intention to contest the Lok Sabha elections… Though his ability to campaign may be limited, his right to contest polls while facing criminal charges will not be under question unless he is convicted. 

2. What is the Basic Structure Doctrine?

  • The Doctrine of Basic Structure is a form of judicial review that is used to test the legality of any legislation by the courts.
  • The doctrine was evolved by the Supreme Court in the 1973 landmark ruling in Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala. In a 7-6 verdict, a 13-judge Constitution Bench ruled that the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution is inviolable, and could not be amended by Parliament. 
  • If a law is found to “damage or destroy” the “basic features of the Constitution”, the Court declares it unconstitutional.
  • The test is applied to constitutional amendments to ensure the amendment does not dilute the fundamentals of the Constitutional itself. 

3. Evolution of Basic Structure Doctrine

3.1 Shankari Prasad Case, 1951

  • SC opined that the power of the parliament to amend the constitution under Article 368 also includes the power to amend Fundamental Rights.
  • It based its judgment on the logic that the word ‘law’ mentioned in Article 13 includes only ordinary laws and not constitutional amendment acts.

3.2 Golaknath Case, 1967

  • SC overruled its judgment. It ruled in this that- Fundamental Rights are given a transcendental and immutable position and hence the Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of these rights.
  • It opined the constitutional amendment act is also a law under Art 13.
  • Parliament reacted to this judgment by enacting 24th amendment act which included a provision in Art 368 which declared that Parliament has power to take away any of the fundamental rights.

3.3 Keshavananda Bharati Case, 1973

SC overruled its judgment in the Golaknath case. It upheld the validity of the 24th amendment act and opined that parliament is empowered to take away or abridge any of the FRs. However, such changes should not alter the ‘basic structure’ of the constitution.
3.4 42nd CAA 1976
Amended Art. 368-no limitation on the constituent power of Parliament. Any amendment cannot be questioned in any court on any ground.

3.5 Minerva Mills Case, 1980

Parliament reacted to the above case by enacting 42nd amendment act which declared under article 368 that there is no limitation on the constituent power of Parliament and it barred the courts from questioning such amendments. This provision was invalidated by the SC stating that Parliament cannot take away the ‘judicial review’ power of the constitution since it is part of the ‘basic structure of the doctrine’.

3.6 Waman Rao Case, 1981 

SC clarified that doctrine would be apply to constitutional amendments enacted after April 24, 1973 (Kesavananda Bharati case) (Including 9th schedule).
4. Basic Features of Indian Constitution 
In the Kesavananda ruling, the Supreme Court cited several aspects of the Constitution that could be identified as “basic features” of the document but added that it was not an exhaustive list.
  • the supremacy of the Constitution,
  • the rule of law,
  • Independence of the judiciary,
  • doctrine of separation of powers,
  • sovereign democratic republic,
  • the parliamentary system of government,
  • the principle of free and fair elections,
  • welfare state, etc.

5. Significance of Basic Structure

  • The basic structure doctrine is a testimony to the theory of Constitutionalism to prevent the damage to essence of COI by brute majority of the ruling majority.
  • The basic doctrine saved the Indian democracy as it acts as a limitation of constituent power or else unlimited power of parliament might have turned India into a totalitarian.
  • It helps us to retain the basic tenets of our constitution so meticulously framed by the founding fathers of our Constitution.
  • It strengthens our democracy by delineating a true separation of power where Judiciary is independent of other two organs. It has also given immense untold unbridled power to Supreme Court and made it the most powerful court in the world.
  • By restraining the amending powers of legislative organ of State, it provided basic Rights to Citizens which no organ of State can overrule.
  • Being dynamic in nature, it is more progressive and open to changes in time unlike the rigid nature of earlier judgements.
 For Prelims & Mains
For Prelims: Doctrine of Basic Structure, Shankari Prasad Case, Golaknath Case, 
Keshavananda Bharati Case, 42nd CAA 1976, Minerva Mills Case, Waman Rao Case, 1981, 9th Schedule, Article 368.
For Mains: 1. What is the Basic Structure Doctrine? Explain the evolution and significance of Basic Structure Doctrine?
Previous Year Questions
1.Consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE GS1, 2020)
1. The Constitution of India defines its ‘basic structure’ in terms of federalism, secularism, fundamental rights and democracy.
2. The Constitution of India provides for ‘judicial review’ to safeguard the citizens’ liberties and to preserve the ideals on which the Constitution is based.
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

1.“Parliament’s power to amend the constitution is limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power”. In light of this statement, explain whether parliament under article 368 of the constitution can destroy the basic structure of the constitution by expanding its amending power? (UPSC GS2, 2019)
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy committee had held an unscheduled meeting. In it, the committee voted unanimously to raise interest rates by 40 basis points — this marked the beginning of the rate hike cycle in India

Monetary policy refers to the actions and strategies undertaken by a country's central bank to control and regulate the supply of money, credit availability, and interest rates in an economy. Its primary goal is to achieve specific economic objectives, such as price stability, full employment, and sustainable economic growth.

Central banks use various tools to implement monetary policy, including:

Interest Rates: Adjusting the interest rates at which banks lend to each other (known as the federal funds rate in the United States) influences borrowing and spending in the economy.

Open Market Operations: Buying or selling government securities in the open market to regulate the money supply. When a central bank buys securities, it injects money into the system, and when it sells them, it reduces the money supply.

Reserve Requirements: Mandating the amount of reserves banks must hold, affecting their ability to lend money.

By influencing the availability and cost of money, central banks aim to stabilize prices, control inflation, encourage or discourage borrowing and spending, and promote economic growth. However, the effectiveness of monetary policy can be influenced by various factors such as global economic conditions, fiscal policies, and market expectations.

3.What is the primary objective of the monetary policy?

The primary objective of monetary policy typically revolves around maintaining price stability or controlling inflation within an economy. Central banks often set an inflation target, aiming to keep it at a moderate and steady level. Stable prices help in fostering confidence in the economy, encouraging investment, and ensuring that the value of money remains relatively constant over time.

However, while controlling inflation is often the primary goal, central banks might also consider other objectives, such as:

Full Employment: Some central banks have a secondary objective of supporting maximum employment or reducing unemployment rates.

Economic Growth: Encouraging sustainable economic growth by managing interest rates and credit availability to stimulate or cool down economic activity.

Exchange Rate Stability: In some cases, maintaining stable exchange rates might be an important consideration, especially for countries with open economies heavily reliant on international trade.

These additional objectives can vary depending on the economic conditions, priorities of the government, and the central bank's mandate. Nonetheless, ensuring price stability is typically the fundamental goal of most monetary policies, as it forms the basis for a healthy and growing economy.

4. Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

  • In line with the amended RBI Act, 1934, Section 45ZB grants authority to the central government to establish a six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) responsible for determining the policy interest rate aimed at achieving the inflation target.
  • The inaugural MPC was formed on September 29, 2016. Section 45ZB stipulates that "the Monetary Policy Committee will ascertain the Policy Rate necessary to meet the inflation target" and that "the decisions made by the Monetary Policy Committee will be obligatory for the Bank."
  • According to Section 45ZB, the MPC comprises the RBI Governor as the ex officio chairperson, the Deputy Governor overseeing monetary policy, a Bank official nominated by the Central Board, and three individuals appointed by the central government.
  • The individuals chosen by the central government must possess "capabilities, ethical standing, expertise, and experience in economics, banking, finance, or monetary policy" (Section 45ZC)
5.Monetary Policy Committe and Inflation
  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) plays a crucial role in managing inflation through its decisions on the policy interest rate.
  • When inflation is too high, the MPC might decide to increase the policy interest rate. This action aims to make borrowing more expensive, which can reduce spending and investment in the economy.
  • As a result, it could help decrease demand for goods and services, potentially curbing inflation.
  • Conversely, when inflation is too low or the economy needs a boost, the MPC might decrease the policy interest rate.
  • This move makes borrowing cheaper, encouraging businesses and individuals to spend and invest more, thus stimulating economic activity and potentially raising inflation closer to the target level.
  • The MPC's goal is to use the policy interest rate as a tool to steer inflation toward a target set by the government or central bank.
  • By monitoring economic indicators and assessing the current and expected inflation levels, the MPC makes informed decisions to maintain price stability within the economy
6. Way forward
With more than half of the current financial year witnessing positive developments in the economy, the full financial year should conclude as projected with a strong growth performance and macroeconomic stability. Yet risks on the downside persist. Inflation is one of them that has kept both the government and the RBI on high alert. Financial flows in the external sector also need constant monitoring as they impact the value of rupee and the balance of payments. A fuller transmission of the monetary policy may also temper domestic demand
For Prelims: Economic and Social Development
For Mains: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
Previous Year Questions
1. Consider the following statements:  (UPSC 2021)
1. The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is appointed by the Central Government.
2. Certain provisions in the Constitution of India give the Central Government the right to issue directions to the RBI in the public interest.
3. The Governor of the RBI draws his natural power from the RBI Act.
Which of the above statements is/are correct? 
A. 1 and 2 only    B.  2 and 3 only     C. 1 and 3 only     D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: C
2. Concerning the Indian economy, consider the following: (UPSC 2015)
  1. Bank rate
  2. Open Market Operations
  3. Public debt
  4. Public revenue

Which of the above is/are component(s) of Monetary Policy?

(a) 1 only   (b) 2, 3 and 4    (c) 1 and 2     (d) 1, 3 and 4

Answer: C

3. An increase in Bank Rate generally indicates: (UPSC 2013)

(a) Market rate of interest is likely to fall.

(b) Central bank is no longer making loans to commercial banks.

(c) Central bank is following an easy money policy.

(d) Central bank is following a tight money policy.

Answer: (d) 

4. Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)? (UPSC 2017) 

1. It decides the RBI's benchmark interest rates.

2. It is a 12-member body including the Governor of RBI and is reconstituted every year.

3. It functions under the chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Answer: A

Source: Indianexpress


1. Context

At a time when the commerce ministry is involved in negotiations on multiple trade deals, a meeting to strategise approach to negotiate free trade agreements (FTA) headed by commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal discussed ways to effectively manage workload and to prevent overtraining of resources.

2. About the Free Trade Agreement

  • A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is an agreement between two or more countries to reduce or eliminate barriers to trade, such as tariffs, quotas, and subsidies.
  • FTAs can also include provisions on other issues, such as investment, intellectual property, and labour standards.
  • The goal of an FTA is to promote trade and economic growth between the signatory countries.
  • By reducing or eliminating trade barriers, FTAs can make it easier for businesses to export their goods and services to other countries, which can lead to increased production, employment, and innovation.

3. Types of Free Trade Agreement

  • Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (BFTA) involves two countries, aiming to promote trade and eliminate tariffs on goods and services between them.  It establishes a direct trade relationship, allowing for a more focused and tailored agreement between the two nations.
  • Multilateral Free Trade Agreement (MFTA) Involving three or more countries, an MFTA seeks to create a comprehensive trade bloc, promoting economic integration on a larger scale. It requires coordination among multiple parties, addressing diverse economic interests and fostering a broader regional economic landscape.
  • Regional Free Trade Agreement (RFTA) involves countries within a specific geographic region, aiming to enhance economic cooperation and integration within that particular area. It focuses on addressing regional economic challenges and fostering collaboration among neighbouring nations.
  • Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) involves a reciprocal reduction of tariffs and trade barriers between participating countries, granting preferential treatment to each other's goods and services. It allows countries to enjoy trading advantages with specific partners while maintaining autonomy in their trade policies with non-participating nations.
  • Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is a broad and advanced form of FTA that goes beyond traditional trade barriers, encompassing various economic aspects such as investment, intellectual property, and services. It aims for a more comprehensive economic partnership, encouraging deeper integration and collaboration between participating countries.
  • Customs Union While not strictly an FTA, a Customs Union involves the elimination of tariffs among member countries and the establishment of a common external tariff against non-member nations. It goes beyond standard FTAs by harmonizing external trade policies, creating a unified approach to trade with the rest of the world.
  • Free Trade Area (FTA) with Trade in Goods (TIG) and Trade in Services (TIS): Some FTAs specifically emphasize either trade in goods or trade in services, tailoring the agreement to the specific economic strengths and priorities of the participating countries. This approach allows nations to focus on areas where they have a comparative advantage, fostering specialization and efficiency.

4. India's Free Trade Agreements

India is a member of several free trade agreements (FTAs) and is currently negotiating others.  India's FTAs have helped to reduce trade barriers and promote trade and economic growth. They have also helped to attract foreign investment and create jobs. 

  • The South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was signed in 1995 by the seven countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). SAFTA aims to reduce or eliminate tariffs on trade between the member countries.
  • The India-Bangladesh FTA was signed in 2010 and came into force in 2011. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Sri Lanka FTA was signed in 1999 and came into force in 2000. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2002 and came into force in 2010. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed in 2010 and came into force in 2011. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement(CEPA) was signed in 2022 and came into effect in 2023. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-UAE Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was signed in 2022 and came into effect in 2022. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) was signed in 2022 and came into effect in 2022. It is a comprehensive FTA that covers goods, services, and investments.
  • The India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) was signed in 2010 and aims to enhance economic ties by addressing trade in goods and services, as well as investment and other areas of economic cooperation.
  • The India-Thailand Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2003 and focuses on reducing tariffs and promoting trade in goods and services between India and Thailand.
  • The India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has been operational since 2005, this agreement covers trade in goods and services, as well as investment and intellectual property.
  • The India-Nepal Trade Treaty While not a comprehensive FTA, India and Nepal have a trade treaty that facilitates the exchange of goods between the two countries.
  • The India-Chile Preferential Trade Agreement was signed in 2006 and aims to enhance economic cooperation and reduce tariffs on certain products traded between India and Chile.

5India - UK Free Trade Agreement

5.1. Background

  • Both countries have agreed to avoid sensitive issues in the negotiations.
  • The interim (early harvest agreement) aims to achieve up to 65 per cent coverage for goods and up to 40 per cent coverage for services.
  • By the time the final agreement is inked, the coverage for goods is expected to go up to "90 plus a percentage" of goods.
  • India is also negotiating a similar early harvest agreement with Australia, which is supposed to set the stage for a long-pending Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement that both countries have been pursuing for nearly a decade.
  • While the commencement of negotiations does mark a step forward in the otherwise rigid stance adopted and when it comes to trade liberalisation, experts point to impediments and the potential for legal challenges going ahead.

5.2. GATT (General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs)

  • The exception to the rule is full-scale FTAs, subject to some conditions.
  • One rider, incorporated in Article XXIV.8 (b) of GATT, stipulates that a deal should aim to eliminate customs duties and other trade barriers on "Substantially all the trade" between the WTO member countries that are signatories to an FTA.
  • For this Agreement, a free-trade area shall be understood to mean a group of two or more customs territories in which the duties and other restrictive regulations of commerce are eliminated on substantially all the trade between the constituent territories in products originating in such territories.
  • It is often beneficial to negotiate the entire deal together, as an early harvest deal may reduce the incentive for one side to work towards a full FTA.
  • These agreements are not just about goods and services but also issues like investment.
  • If you are trying to weigh the costs and benefits, it is always better to have the larger picture in front of you.
  • In the case of the early harvest agreement inked with Thailand, automobile industry associations had complained that relaxations extended to Bangkok in the early harvest had reduced the incentive for Thailand to work towards a full FTA.
  • Early harvest agreements may serve the function of keeping trading partners interested as they promise some benefits without long delays, as India becomes known for long-drawn negotiations for FTAs.
  • Government emphasis on interim agreements may be tactical so that a deal may be achieved with minimum commitments and would allow for contentious issues to be resolved later.
For Prelims: Free Trade Agreement, India-U.K, Bilateral Free Trade Agreement, G-20 Summit, Agenda 2030, Covid-19 Pandemic, SAARC, General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Multilateral Free Trade Agreement, Regional Free Trade Agreement, Preferential Trade Agreement, Customs Union, 
For Mains: 
1. Evaluate the potential impact of the India-UK FTA on the Indian economy, considering both positive and negative aspects (250 Words)
2. Critically evaluate the significance of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in promoting trade and economic growth, considering their potential benefits and drawbacks. (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Consider the following countries:
1. Australia
2. Canada
3. China
4. India
5. Japan
6. USA
Which of the above are among the free-trade partners' of ASEAN? (UPSC 2018)
A. 1, 2, 4 and 5          B.  3, 4, 5 and 6      C.  1, 3, 4 and 5       D.  2, 3, 4 and 6
Answer: C

2. Increase in absolute and per capita real GNP do not connote a higher level of economic development, if (UPSC 2018)

(a) Industrial output fails to keep pace with agricultural output.
(b) Agricultural output fails to keep pace with industrial output.
(c) Poverty and unemployment increase.
(d) Imports grow faster than exports.

Answer: C

3. The SEZ Act, 2005 which came into effect in February 2006 has certain objectives. In this context, consider the following: (2010)

  1. Development of infrastructure facilities.
  2. Promotion of investment from foreign sources.
  3. Promotion of exports of services only.

Which of the above are the objectives of this Act?

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

Answer: A

4. A “closed economy” is an economy in which (UPSC 2011)

(a) the money supply is fully controlled
(b) deficit financing takes place
(c) only exports take place
(d) neither exports nor imports take place

Answer: D

5. With reference to the “G20 Common Framework”, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)
1. It is an initiative endorsed by the G20 together with the Paris Club.
2. It is an initiative to support Low Income Countries with unsustainable debt.
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

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