Current Affair



1. Context

Floods and landslips killed 13 people in Assam, Manipur, and Meghalaya during the last 48 hours, taking the rainfall-related death toll in the Northeast to 17 since Wednesday. More than six lakh people have been affected in these three States
2. Landslides in India
  • The recent cases of land subsidence in Joshimath, Uttarakhand, captured the spotlight.
  • On June 29, 2022, at least 79 people were killed in a landslide in the Noney district of Manipur.
  • The risk analysis in the report was based on the density of human and livestock populations, which indicates the impacts on people due to these landslides.
  • The disaster in Kedaranath in 2013 and the landslides caused by the devastating Sikkim earthquake in 2011 are also included in this atlas.
Between 1988 and 2022, the maximum number of landslides 12, 385 recorded in Mizoram.
Uttarakhand followed it at 11, 219, Tripura at 8, 070, Arunachal Pradesh at 7, 689, and Jammu and Kashmir at 7,280. Kerala saw 6,039, Manipur 5,494 and Maharashtra recorded 5, 112 incidents of landslides.
  • Globally, landslides rank third in terms of deaths among natural disasters.
  • However, deforestation due to unplanned urbanisation and human greed increases the risk of such incidents.
  • In 2006, about 4 million people were affected by landslides, including a large number of Indians.
  • India is among the four major countries where the risk of landslides is the highest; it added. If we look at the figures, about 0.42 million square kilometres in the country are prone to landslides, which is 12.6 per cent of the total land area of the country.
  • However, the figure does not include snow-covered areas. Around 0.18 million sq km of landslide-prone areas in the country are in North East Himalayas, including Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas.
  • Of the rest, 0.14 million sq km falls in North West Himalaya (Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir); 90, 000 sq km in the Western Ghats and Konkan hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra) and 10, 000 sq km in Eastern Ghats of Aruku in Andhra Pradesh.

3. Reasons for landslides

  • Sudden heavy rains due to climate change are also increasing landslides. Around 73 per cent of landslides in the Himalayan region are attributed to heavy rains and reduced water-absorbing capacity of the soil.
  • Global climate change is causing heavy rainfall that erodes steep slopes with loose soil found in a 2020 study by the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi.
  • Therefore, the increasing number of landslides can no longer be termed as just natural disasters, as human actions have also played a major role in it.
4. Data On Landslides
  • Uttakarkhand, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh reported the highest number of landslides during 1998 – 2022
  • Mizoram topped the list, recording 12,385 landslide events in the past 25 years, of which 8,926 were recorded in 2017 alone
  • Likewise, 2,071 events of the total 2,132 landslides reported in Nagaland during this period occurred during the 2017 monsoon season
  • Manipur, too, showed a similar trend, wherein 4,559 out of 5,494 landslide events were experienced during the rainy season of 2017, Of the total 690, Tamil Nadu suffered 603 landslide events in 2018 alone
  • Among all these states, an alarming situation is emerging from Uttarakhand and Kerala
  • While Uttarakhand’s fragility was recently exposed during the land subsidence events reported from Joshimath since January, this Himalayan state has experienced the second highest number (11,219) of landslides since 1998, all events since occurring post 2000
  • The year-wise number of landslide events in the state is: 2003 (32), 2010 (307), 2012 (473), 2013 (6,610), 2017 (1), 2021 (329) and 2022 (1)
  • The number of districts with the maximum landslide exposure are in Arunachal Pradesh (16), Kerala (14), Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir (13 each), Himachal Pradesh, Assam and Maharashtra (11 each), Mizoram (8) and Nagaland (7)
  • Kerala has been consistently reporting massive landslides since it suffered the century’s worst floods in 2018
  • The year-wise landslide events here are 2018 (5,191), 2019 (756), 2020 (9) and 2021 (29).
  • From the events and images obtained, the NRSC ranked Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand at the top of 147 vulnerable districts
  • It has the highest landslide density in the country, along with having the highest exposure to total population and number of houses

For Prelims & Mains

For Prelims: Landslides, climate change, ISRO, Disaster management, National Remote Sensing Centre, Landslide Atlas of India

Previous year questions

1. Which of the following statements in respect of landslides are correct? (NDA 2022)

1. These occur only on gentle slopes during rain.
2. They generally occur in clay-rich soil.
3. Earthquakes trigger landslides.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

 Answer: (B)

For Mains:

1. Describe the various causes and the effects of landslides. Mention the important components of the National Landslide Risk Management Strategy. (250 words) (2021)

Source: The Down to Earth


1. Context
India’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for FY24 is estimated to have grown by a faster-than-projected 8.2%, quickening from FY23’s 7% pace, the National Statistical Office’s (NSO) provisional estimates released on Friday show. The NSO had in its first advance estimates projected real GDP growth for FY24 at 7.3%
2. Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period. It is often used as a measure of a country's economic health
GDP provides insight into the overall economic health of a nation and is often used for comparing the economic output of different countries.

There are three primary ways to calculate GDP:

  1. Production Approach (GDP by Production): This approach calculates GDP by adding up the value-added at each stage of production. It involves summing up the value of all final goods and services produced in an economy.

  2. Income Approach (GDP by Income): This approach calculates GDP by summing up all the incomes earned in an economy, including wages, rents, interests, and profits. The idea is that all the income generated in an economy must ultimately be spent on purchasing goods and services.

  3. Expenditure Approach (GDP by Expenditure): This approach calculates GDP by summing up all the expenditures made on final goods and services. It includes consumption by households, investments by businesses, government spending, and net exports (exports minus imports).

3. Measuring GDP

GDP can be measured in three different ways:

  1. Nominal GDP: This is the raw GDP figure without adjusting for inflation. It reflects the total value of goods and services produced at current prices.

  2. Real GDP: Real GDP adjusts the nominal GDP for inflation, allowing for a more accurate comparison of economic performance over time. It represents the value of goods and services produced using constant prices from a specific base year.

  3. GDP per capita: This is the GDP divided by the population of a country. It provides a per-person measure of economic output and can be useful for comparing the relative economic well-being of different countries.

The GDP growth rate is the percentage change in the GDP from one year to the next. A positive GDP growth rate indicates that the economy is growing, while a negative GDP growth rate indicates that the economy is shrinking

The GDP is a useful measure of economic health, but it has some limitations. For example, it does not take into account the distribution of income in an economy. It also does not take into account the quality of goods and services produced.

Despite its limitations, the GDP is a widely used measure of economic health. It is used by economists, policymakers, and businesses to track the performance of an economy and to make decisions about economic policy

4. Gross Value Added (GVA)


Gross Value Added (GVA) is a closely related concept to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is used to measure the economic value generated by various economic activities within a country. GVA represents the value of goods and services produced in an economy minus the value of inputs (such as raw materials and intermediate goods) used in production. It's a way to measure the contribution of each individual sector or industry to the overall economy.

GVA can be calculated using the production approach, similar to one of the methods used to calculate GDP. The formula for calculating GVA is as follows:

GVA = Output Value - Intermediate Consumption


  • Output Value: The total value of goods and services produced by an industry or sector.
  • Intermediate Consumption: The value of inputs used in the production process, including raw materials, energy, and other intermediate goods.
5. GDP vs GNP

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross National Product (GNP) are both important economic indicators used to measure the size and health of an economy, but they focus on slightly different aspects of economic activity and include different factors. Here are the key differences between GDP and GNP:

  1. Definition and Scope:

    • GDP: GDP measures the total value of all goods and services produced within a country's borders, regardless of whether the production is done by domestic or foreign entities. It only considers economic activities that take place within the country.
    • GNP: GNP measures the total value of all goods and services produced by a country's residents, whether they are located within the country's borders or abroad. It takes into account the production of residents, both domestically and internationally.
  2. Foreign Income and Payments:

    • GDP: GDP does not consider the income earned by residents of a country from their economic activities abroad, nor does it account for payments made to foreigners working within the country.
    • GNP: GNP includes the income earned by a country's residents from their investments and activities abroad, minus the income earned by foreign residents from their investments within the country.
  3. Net Factor Income from Abroad:

    • GDP: GDP does not account for net factor income from abroad, which is the difference between income earned by domestic residents abroad and income earned by foreign residents domestically.
    • GNP: GNP includes net factor income from abroad as part of its calculation.
  4. Foreign Direct Investment:

    • GDP: GDP does not directly consider foreign direct investment (FDI) flowing into or out of a country.
    • GNP: GNP considers the impact of FDI on the income of a country's residents, both from investments made within the country and from investments made by residents abroad.
  5. Measurement Approach:

    • GDP: GDP can be calculated using three different approaches: production, income, and expenditure approaches.
    • GNP: GNP is primarily calculated using the income approach, as it focuses on the income earned by residents from their economic activities.
For Prelims: GDP, GVA, FDI, GNP
For Mains: 1.Discuss the recent trends and challenges in India's GDP growth
2.Examine the role of the service sector in India's GDP growth
3.Compare and contrast the growth trajectories of India's GDP and GNP
Previous Year Questions
1.With reference to Indian economy, consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE, 2015)
1. The rate of growth of Real Gross Domestic Product has steadily increased in the last decade.
2. The Gross Domestic Product at market prices (in rupees) has steadily increased in the last decade.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer (b)
2.A decrease in tax to GDP ratio of a country indicates which of the following? (UPSC CSE, 2015)
1. Slowing economic growth rate
2. Less equitable distribution of national income
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer (a)
Previous year UPSC Mains Question Covering similar theme:
Define potential GDP and explain its determinants. What are the factors that have been inhibiting India from realizing its potential GDP? (UPSC CSE GS3, 2020)
Explain the difference between computing methodology of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before the year 2015 and after the year 2015. (UPSC CSE GS3, 2021)
Source: indianexpress



1. Context

With a heatwave roiling several parts of the country, at least 61 deaths from suspected heatstroke have been confirmed from multiple States on Friday, with 23 of the fatalities being poll personnel involved in the final phase of the Lok Sabha election that is set to culminate on 01/06/2024

2. What is a Heat Wave?

  • A heatwave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, a common phenomenon in India during the months of May-June and in some rare cases even extends till July.
  • Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) classifies heat waves according to regions and temperature ranges. As per IMD, the number of heatwave days in India has increased from 413 over 1981-1990 to 600 over 2011-2020.
  • This sharp rise in the number of heatwave days has resulted due to the increasing impact of climate change.
  • The last three years have been La Niña years, which has served as a precursor to 2023 likely being an El Niño year. (The El Niño is a complementary phenomenon in which warmer water spreads west­east across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.)
  • As we eagerly await the likely birth of an El Niño this year, we have already had a heat wave occur over northwest India.
  • Heat waves tend to be confined to north and northwest India in El Niño years.
Image Source:News18

3. How do Heat waves Occur?

  • Heat waves are formed for one of two reasons warmer air is flowing in from elsewhere or it is being produced locally.
  • It is a local phenomenon when the air is warmed by higher land surface temperature or because the air sinking down from above is compressed along the way, producing hot air near the surface.
  • First of all, in spring, India typically has air flowing in from the west­northwest. This direction of air­flow is bad news for India for several reasons.
  • Likewise, air flowing in from the northwest rolls in over the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, so some of the compression also happens on the leeward side of these mountains, entering India with a bristling warmth.
  • While air flowing over the oceans is expected to bring cooler air, the Arabian Sea is warming faster than most other ocean regions.
  • Next, the strong upper atmospheric westerly winds, from the Atlantic Ocean to India during spring, control the near-surface winds.
  • Any time winds flow from the west to the east, we need to remember that the winds are blowing faster than the planet which also rotates from west to east.
  • The energy to run past the earth near the surface, against surface friction, can only come from above. This descending air compresses and warms up to generate some heat waves.

4. Impacts of heat waves in India

  • The frequent occurrence of heat waves also adversely affects different sectors of the economy.
  • For instance, the livelihood of poor and marginal farmers is negatively impacted due to the loss of working days.
  • Heatwaves also have an adverse impact on daily wage workers' productivity, impacting the economy.
  • Crop yields suffer when temperatures exceed the ideal range.
  • Farmers in Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh have reported losses in their wheat crop in the past rabi season. Across India, wheat production could be down 6-7% due to heat waves.
  • Mortality due to heat waves occurs because of rising temperatures, lack of public awareness programs, and inadequate long-term mitigation measures.
  • According to a 2019 report by the Tata Center for Development and the University of Chicago, by 2100 annually, more than 1.5 million people will be likely to die due to extreme heat caused by climate change.
  • The increased heat wave will lead to an increase in diseases like diabetes, circulatory and respiratory conditions, as well as mental health challenges.
  • The concurrence of heat and drought events is causing crop production losses and tree mortality. The risks to health and food production will be made more severe by the sudden food production losses exacerbated by heat-induced labor productivity losses.
    These interacting impacts will increase food prices, reduce household incomes, and lead to malnutrition and climate-related deaths, especially in tropical regions.

5. How does air mass contribute to heat waves?

  • The other factors that affect the formation of heat waves are the age of the air mass and how far it has traveled.
  • The north northwestern heatwaves are typically formed with air masses that come from 800-1600 km away and are around two days old.
  • Heat waves over peninsular India on the other hand, arrive from the oceans, which are closer (around 200-400km) and are barely a day old. As a result, they are on average less intense.

6. Way ahead for Heat waves

  • Identifying heat hot spots through appropriate tracking of meteorological data and promoting timely development and implementation of local Heat Action Plans with strategic inter-agency coordination, and a response that targets the most vulnerable groups.
  • Review existing occupational health standards, labor laws, and sectoral regulations for worker safety in relation to climatic conditions.
  • Policy intervention and coordination across three sectors health, water, and power are necessary.
  • Promotion of traditional adaptation practices, such as staying indoors and wearing comfortable clothes.
  • Popularisation of simple design features such as shaded windows, underground water storage tanks, and insulating house materials.
  • Advance implementation of local Heat Action Plans, plus effective inter-agency coordination is a vital response that the government can deploy in order to protect vulnerable groups.

For Prelims & Mains

For Prelims: Heat Wave, India Meteorological Department (IMD), El Nino, Equatorial Pacific Ocean, La Nina, Malnutrition, Heat Action Plans.
For Mains: 1. Examine the various adverse impacts caused by heat waves and how India should deal with them.
Previous Year Questions
1.What are the possible limitations of India in mitigating global warming at present and in the immediate future? (UPSC CSE 2010)

1. Appropriate alternate technologies are not sufficiently available.

2. India cannot invest huge funds in research and development.

3. Many developed countries have already set up their polluting industries in India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer (a)

India faces challenges in addressing Global Warming: Developing and underdeveloped nations lack access to advanced technologies, resulting in a scarcity of viable alternatives for combating climate change. Being a developing nation, India relies partially or entirely on developed countries for technology. Moreover, a significant portion of the annual budget in these nations is allocated to development and poverty alleviation programs, leaving limited funds for research and development of alternative technologies compared to developed nations. Analyzing the statements provided: Statements 1 and 2 hold true based on the aforementioned factors. However, Statement 3 is inaccurate as the establishment of polluting industries by developed countries within India is not feasible due to regulations governing industrial setup


1.Bring out the causes for the formation of heat islands in the urban habitat of the world. (UPSC CSE Mains GS 1 2013)


Source: The Hindu



1. Context

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to 49.5 in May from 50.4 in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday, below the 50-mark separating growth from contraction and missing analysts’ forecast of 50.4

2. What is National Green Tribunal (NGT)?

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is a specialized judicial body established in India to handle cases related to environmental protection and conservation.
  • It was established under the National Green Tribunal Act, of  2010, and its primary objective is to effectively and expeditiously address environmental disputes and promote sustainable development.
  • With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to set up a specialized environmental tribunal, only after Australia and New Zealand, and the first developing country to do so.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of the filing of the same.
  • The NGT has five places of sittings, New Delhi is the Principal place of sitting, and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four.

3. Structure of the National Green Tribunal (NGT)

  • Chairperson: The NGT is headed by a full-time Chairperson who is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. The Chairperson is responsible for the overall administration and functioning of the tribunal.
  • Judicial Members: The NGT consists of judicial members who are retired judges of either the Supreme Court or a High Court. These members have extensive legal knowledge and experience in handling environmental matters.
  • Expert Members: The tribunal also includes expert members who possess expertise in areas such as environmental science, ecology, hydrology, and forestry. These members provide valuable technical insights and guidance in the resolution of environmental disputes.
  • The NGT is organized into multiple benches located across different regions of India. These benches are responsible for hearing cases specific to their respective jurisdictions. Each bench is headed by a judicial member and consists of one or more expert members, as required.

4. What are the Important Landmark Judgements of NGT?

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has delivered several landmark judgments that have had a significant impact on environmental protection and conservation in India. Here are some of the important landmark judgments delivered by the NGT:

  • Vardhaman Kaushik v. Union of India (2013): This case dealt with the issue of groundwater depletion due to illegal extraction by industries in Uttar Pradesh. The NGT directed the closure of industries that were extracting groundwater without proper permissions and ordered the payment of compensation for environmental damage caused.
  • Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd. v. Rohit Prajapati & Ors. (2014): In this case, the NGT ordered the closure of an industrial unit in Gujarat for releasing untreated effluents into a water body, causing pollution and harm to the environment and public health.
  • M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (2014): The NGT issued a landmark judgment in this case regarding the pollution of the Yamuna River. It directed several measures to clean and rejuvenate the river, including the establishment of sewage treatment plants and the regulation of industries contributing to pollution.
  • Subhash Chandra Sharma v. Union of India (2015): This case focused on the issue of air pollution caused by solid waste burning in open areas. The NGT imposed a ban on burning waste in open spaces and directed municipal authorities to take measures to manage waste effectively.
  • Raghu Nath Sharma v. State of Himachal Pradesh (2016): The NGT ordered the closure of illegal hotels and structures in the eco-sensitive Rohtang Pass area of Himachal Pradesh to protect the fragile Himalayan ecosystem.
  • Yamuna Muktikaran Abhiyan v. Union of India (2017): This case dealt with the rejuvenation of the Yamuna River and led to the NGT issuing directions to clean and restore the river, including measures to prevent encroachments and pollution.
  • M.C. Mehta v. Union of India (2017): The NGT banned the use of disposable plastic in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) and directed authorities to take steps to prevent the use and sale of such plastic.
  • Shailesh Singh v. Hotel Holiday Regency (2019): In this case, the NGT imposed heavy fines on a hotel in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, for causing air pollution by running diesel generators without proper emission control measures.
  • Subhash Chandran vs. Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (2020): This judgment highlighted the importance of safeguarding coastal areas and wetlands from unauthorized construction and development activities, emphasizing the need for stringent environmental norms.
  • In Re: Report by Comptroller and Auditor General of India (2021): The NGT directed the formulation of guidelines for the regulation of groundwater extraction and management to prevent overexploitation and depletion.

5. What is a dissolved oxygen level?

  • Dissolved oxygen (DO) level refers to the concentration of oxygen gas (O2) that is dissolved in a liquid, typically water.
  • It is a crucial parameter in aquatic ecosystems as it directly affects the survival and well-being of aquatic organisms.
  • In natural water bodies like lakes, rivers, and oceans, oxygen dissolves from the atmosphere through processes such as diffusion and aeration.
  • Aquatic plants, algae, and phytoplankton also contribute to the production of oxygen through photosynthesis. However, the level of dissolved oxygen can fluctuate based on various factors, including temperature, altitude, water flow, pollution, and organic matter decomposition.
  • Dissolved oxygen is essential for aquatic organisms because they rely on it for their respiration process, similar to how animals breathe oxygen from the air.
  • Insufficient levels of dissolved oxygen can lead to hypoxia, a condition where organisms are deprived of the oxygen they need to survive. This can result in stress, reduced growth, reproductive issues, and even mortality in aquatic species.

Different species of aquatic organisms have varying tolerance levels for dissolved oxygen. For example:

  • Fish and other aquatic animals often require dissolved oxygen levels between 4 to 6 milligrams per liter (mg/L) to thrive.
  • Some species of fish, insects, and other aquatic organisms can tolerate lower levels of dissolved oxygen, even below 2 mg/L, while others require higher concentrations.

6. What are chemical oxygen demand and biological oxygen demand?

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD):

  • COD is a measure of the amount of oxygen required to chemically oxidize and break down organic and inorganic substances present in water.
  • It provides an indication of the total amount of pollutants that can be chemically oxidized by a strong oxidizing agent. COD is expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/L) of oxygen consumed.
  • COD is useful in assessing the overall pollution load in a water sample, including both biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances.
  • It is commonly used for industrial wastewater monitoring, as it provides a rapid estimation of the organic content and potential pollution levels. However, COD does not differentiate between different types of pollutants or indicate the potential impact on aquatic life.

Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD):

  • BOD measures the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed by microorganisms (bacteria) during the biological degradation of organic matter in water.
  • It is a key indicator of the level of biodegradable organic pollutants present in water. BOD is expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/L) of oxygen consumed over a specific time period, usually 5 days (BODâ‚…).
  • BOD is particularly important in assessing the impact of organic pollution on aquatic ecosystems.
  • High BOD levels indicate that a water body may have a significant amount of organic pollutants, which can lead to oxygen depletion as microorganisms break down the organic matter. This oxygen depletion, known as hypoxia, can harm aquatic organisms and disrupt the ecological balance of the water body.

Comparing BOD and COD:

  • BOD primarily measures the biologically degradable organic matter and provides information about the potential impact on aquatic life.
  • COD measures both biologically and chemically degradable pollutants, giving an indication of the overall pollution load and oxygen demand.
  • BOD is a more specific and ecologically relevant parameter, but it takes longer to determine (5 days), while COD can be measured more quickly.
For Prelims: National Green Tribunal (NGT), National Green Tribunal Act, of  2010, Dissolved oxygen (DO), Chemical Oxygen demand (COD), and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD).
For Mains: 1. Discuss the significance of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) as critical indicators for assessing water pollution and quality. (250 Words)

Previous year Question

1. How is the National Green Tribunal (NGT) different from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)? (UPSC 2018)
1. The NGT has been established by an Act whereas the CPCB has been created by the executive order of the Government.
2. The NGT provides environmental justice and helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts whereas the CPCB promotes cleanliness of streams and wells, and aims to improve the quality of air in the country.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both 1 and 2
D. Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: B
2. The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 was enacted in consonance with which of the following provisions of the Constitution of India? (UPSC 2012)
1. Right of a healthy environment, construed as a part of the Right to life under Article 21
2. Provision of grants for raising the level of administration in the Scheduled Areas for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes under Article 275(1)
3. Powers and functions of Gram Sabha as mentioned under Article 243(A)
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only
C. 1 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3
Answer: A
Source: The Indian Express


1. Context
India's manufacturing performance activity showed a five-month low in September 2023 as per the seasonally adjusted S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)
2. What is the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)?
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is an economic indicator that provides insights into the health of a country's manufacturing or services sector.
PMI is widely used by businesses, economists, and policymakers to gauge the economic performance and future trends in these sectors.
It is usually expressed as a numerical value that reflects the prevailing business conditions.
2.1. Key Aspects of PMI
  • PMI is typically calculated through surveys of purchasing managers in various industries. These managers are asked about their perception of different aspects of business activity, including new orders, production levels, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories.
  • PMI is usually reported as a number between 0 and 100.
  • A PMI value above 50 generally indicates expansion in the sector, while a value below 50 suggests contraction. The farther the PMI is from 50, the stronger the perceived expansion or contraction.
  • PMI is considered a leading indicator because it provides insights into economic conditions before official economic data, such as GDP growth or employment figures, are released. It can be used to anticipate changes in economic activity.
  • PMIs are calculated separately for manufacturing and services sectors. A Manufacturing PMI focuses on the manufacturing sector, while a Services PMI provides insights into the services sector. These sector-specific PMIs can give a more detailed view of the economy.

Components: PMI is composed of several components, including:

  • New Orders: This component measures the number of new orders received by businesses. An increase in new orders often signals growing demand and economic expansion.
  • Production: This component reflects changes in production levels. An increase suggests increased economic activity.
  • Employment: The employment component indicates changes in the level of employment within the sector. An increase typically means job growth.
  • Supplier Deliveries: This measures the speed at which suppliers can deliver materials. Slower deliveries may indicate supply chain issues or increased demand.
  • Inventories: Inventory levels can be an indicator of expected demand. A decrease in inventories might suggest an expectation of rising demand.
3. Significance of PMI
  • The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is a significant economic indicator with several important implications and uses
  • PMI serves as a barometer of the economic health of a country or region. A PMI above 50 generally indicates economic expansion, while a PMI below 50 suggests contraction.
  • This provides a quick and easily understandable snapshot of the direction of economic activity, making it a valuable tool for assessing the overall economic climate.
  • PMI is a leading indicator, meaning it often provides insights into economic conditions ahead of other official economic data, such as GDP growth or employment figures. As such, it is used by businesses, investors, and policymakers to anticipate changes in economic activity and make informed decisions
4. Way forward
Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) is a valuable economic indicator that helps gauge the economic health and trends in the manufacturing and services sectors. It provides timely insights into business activity and is widely used by businesses and policymakers for decision-making and economic forecasting


Previous Year Questions

1.What does S & P 500 relate to? (UPSC CSE 2008)

(a) Supercomputer
(b) A new technique in e-business
(c) A new technique in bridge building
(d) An index of stocks of large companies

Answer: (d)

Source: The Hindu


1. Context
JNU scholar Sharjeel Imam got bail on Wednesday in a case in which he is charged with sedition and unlawful activity under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for an alleged inflammatory speech.
2. About Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) is an Indian law that was enacted in 1967 to effectively prevent unlawful activities that pose a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Key highlights of the UAPA

  • Objective: The primary objective of the UAPA is to provide law enforcement agencies with effective tools to combat terrorism and other activities that threaten the security of the nation.
  • Definition of Unlawful Activities: The act defines unlawful activities to include actions that intend to or support the cession of a part of the territory of India or disrupt the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
  • Powers of Designation: The government has the authority to designate an organization as a terrorist organization if it believes that such an organization is involved in terrorism. This designation has significant legal consequences, including the freezing of assets.
  • Powers of Arrest and Detention: The UAPA provides law enforcement agencies with powers of arrest and detention to prevent individuals from engaging in unlawful activities. The act allows for preventive detention to curb potential threats before they materialise.
  • Banning of Terrorist Organizations: The government can proscribe organizations as terrorist organizations, making their activities illegal. This includes banning these organisations, freezing their assets, and taking other measures to curb their operations.
  • Admissibility of Confessions: The UAPA allows for confessions made to police officers to be admissible in court, subject to certain safeguards. This provision has been a point of contention, with concerns about potential misuse and coercion.
  • Designation of Individuals as Terrorists: In addition to organizations, the UAPA allows the government to designate individuals as terrorists. This designation carries legal consequences, including restrictions on travel and freezing of assets.
  • Amendments and Stringency: Over the years, the UAPA has undergone several amendments to strengthen its provisions and make it more effective in dealing with emerging threats. However, these amendments have also been criticized for potential violations of civil liberties.
  • International Cooperation: The UAPA allows for cooperation with foreign countries in matters related to the prevention of unlawful activities. This includes extradition of individuals involved in such activities.

3. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Human Rights


The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and human rights lie in the impact the act can have on various fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India and international human rights standards.

The key points connecting the UAPA and human rights:

  • The UAPA allows for preventive detention, which means individuals can be detained without formal charges based on suspicions of involvement in unlawful activities. This raises concerns about the right to liberty, as individuals may be deprived of their freedom without the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
  • The admissibility of confessions made to police officers under the UAPA raises issues related to the right against self-incrimination. There is a risk that such confessions might be obtained under duress or coercion, compromising the fairness of legal proceedings.
  • Designating individuals as terrorists and proscribing organizations without due process may impinge on the right to a fair trial. This includes the right to be informed of charges, the right to legal representation, and the right to present a defense.
  • The UAPA provides authorities with the power to proscribe organizations as terrorist organizations, limiting their activities. Critics argue that this may infringe upon the right to freedom of association, particularly when such designations are made without sufficient evidence or proper legal procedures.
  • The potential for misuse of the UAPA to target individuals or organizations critical of the government raises concerns about freedom of expression. If the act is used to suppress dissent or stifle legitimate political or social activities, it can undermine this fundamental right.
  • The UAPA grants authorities the power to intercept communications and conduct surveillance on individuals suspected of engaging in unlawful activities. This raises concerns about the right to privacy, as individuals may be subjected to intrusive surveillance without adequate safeguards.
  • Human rights standards require that any restrictions on rights, such as those imposed by the UAPA, must be proportionate and necessary for achieving a legitimate aim. Critics argue that the broad scope of the UAPA may lead to disproportionate measures that unduly restrict individual rights.
  • The UAPA's compatibility with international human rights standards, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), is a critical point of consideration. Ensuring that the act aligns with these standards is essential to upholding human rights principles.

4. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Article 22 of the Constitution


The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Article 22 of the Indian Constitution lie in how the UAPA's provisions for arrest and detention intersect with the constitutional safeguards provided under Article 22. 

  • Article 22 provides certain protections to individuals who are arrested or detained. It outlines the rights of arrested individuals, emphasizing safeguards to prevent arbitrary or unlawful detention.
  • Article 22(1) states that every person who is arrested and detained shall be informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest. This provision ensures that individuals are aware of the reasons behind their arrest, preventing arbitrary or secret detentions.
  • Article 22(1) also guarantees the right of an arrested person to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of their choice. This ensures that individuals have access to legal assistance during the legal process, contributing to a fair and just legal system.
  • The UAPA includes provisions for preventive detention, allowing authorities to detain individuals to prevent them from committing certain offences. However, Article 22(4) allows preventive detention only under specific circumstances, and certain safeguards must be followed, such as providing the detenu with the grounds for detention and an opportunity to make a representation against the detention.
  • Article 22(4) further mandates that a person detained under a law providing for preventive detention must be afforded the earliest opportunity to make a representation against the detention. Additionally, the case of every person detained is required to be placed before an advisory board within three months.
  • The UAPA allows for confessions made to police officers to be admissible in court, subject to certain safeguards. However, this provision has been a point of concern concerning Article 22, as confessions obtained under duress or coercion may violate the right against self-incrimination.
  • Article 22(2) ensures the right to be brought before the nearest magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, excluding the time necessary for the journey. This provision aims to prevent prolonged detention without judicial oversight and contributes to the right to a speedy trial.
For Prelims: Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Article 22, Terrorism
For Mains: 
1. Discuss the key provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and analyze how they may impact fundamental human rights. Elaborate on the balance between national security concerns and the protection of individual rights. (250 Words)


Previous Year Questions

1. Under Article 22 of the Constitution of India, with the exception of certain provisions stated there in, what is the maximum period for detention of a person under preventive detention? (MPSC 2014)

A. 2 months       B. 3 months         C. 4 months           D. 6 months


2. Article 22 of the Constitution ensures (CTET 2016)

A. Right not to be ill-treated during arrest or while in custody

B. Right to Constitutional Remedies

C. Right against Exploitation

D. Right to Education

Answers: 1-B, 2-A


1. Indian government has recently strengthed the anti-terrorism laws by amending the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act, (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA Act. Analyze the changes in the context of prevailing security environment while discussing scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organizations. (UPSC 2019)

Source: The Indian Express



1. Context

Indian space startup Agnikul Cosmos on Thursday successfully launched its first sub-orbital test vehicle powered by the world’s first single-piece 3D-printed rocket engine, after calling off its launch at least four times previously.

2. What is 3D Printing?

  • 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is an innovative technology that has redefined traditional manufacturing processes.
  • It involves the creation of three-dimensional objects by adding material layer by layer, guided by a computer-generated design.
  • This method contrasts with subtractive manufacturing, where the material is removed from a solid block to achieve the desired shape.

3. Process Overview:

  • Design: The process begins with a digital 3D model created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. This virtual blueprint guides the printer on how to construct the physical object.
  • Layering: The 3D printer interprets the digital model and begins the additive process. It deposits material, often in the form of plastic, metal, or composite, layer by layer to form the final object.
  • Building Up: As each layer is added, the object gradually takes shape. The printer's precision ensures the accurate reproduction of intricate details, resulting in a three-dimensional physical replica of the digital model.

4. Key Advantages:

  • Complex Geometry: 3D printing enables the creation of highly complex and intricate geometries that might be challenging or impossible to achieve through traditional manufacturing methods.
  • Customization: It allows for personalized and customizable products, catering to the specific needs and preferences of users.
  • Rapid Prototyping: The technology is widely used for rapid prototyping, allowing designers and engineers to quickly iterate and test ideas before committing to full-scale production.
  • Reduced Material Waste: Unlike subtractive manufacturing, where excess material is often discarded, 3D printing adds material only where needed, minimizing waste.
  • On-Demand Production: 3D printing facilitates on-demand manufacturing, reducing the need for mass production and warehousing.

5. Applications and Challenges

  • Aerospace: Used to create lightweight, high-performance components for aircraft and spacecraft.
  • Healthcare: Utilized for producing patient-specific medical implants, prosthetics, and even human tissue.
  • Automotive: Enables rapid prototyping of vehicle components and customization.
  • Fashion: Designers employ 3D printing to create unique and avant-garde clothing and accessories.
  • Architecture: Used in creating detailed architectural models and prototypes.


  • Limited material options compared to traditional manufacturing.
  • Slower production speed for larger objects.
  • Post-processing may be required to achieve desired surface finishes.

6. Conclusion

3D printing has revolutionized the way objects are designed, manufactured, and customized. Its ability to create intricate and unique structures with precision has found applications across diverse industries, promising continued innovation and reshaping the manufacturing landscape.

For Prelims: 3D Printing, Architectural models, Prototypes, Computer-aided design (CAD) software.

For Mains: 1. Discuss the concept of 3D printing, its technological process, and its transformative impact on traditional manufacturing methods.  (250 words)

2. Highlight the advantages of additive manufacturing, including complex geometry, Customisation, rapid prototyping, and reduced material waste. (250 words)


Previous year Question

1. "3D printing" has applications in which of the following? (UPSC 2018)

1. Preparation of confectionery items

2. Manufacture of bionic ears

3. Automotive industry

4. Reconstructive surgeries

5. Data processing technologies

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

A. 1, 3, and 4 only

B. 2, 3, and 5 only

C. 1 and 4 only

D. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Answer: D

Source: The Indian Express


1. Context 

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has observed that a marriage between a Muslim man and a Hindu woman is not valid under Muslim personal law. The court made the observation as it turned down a plea by a couple seeking police protection to register an inter-faith marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954.

2. About Special Marriages Act

  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954 (SMA) was passed by the Parliament on October 9, 1954.
  • It governs a civil marriage where the state sanctions the marriage rather than the religion.
  • Issues of personal law such as marriage, divorce and adoption are governed by religious laws that are codified.
    These laws, such as the Muslim Marriage Act, of 1954 and the Hindu Marriage Act, of 1955, require either spouse to convert to the religion of the other before marriage.
  • However, the SMA enables marriage between inter-faith or inter-caste couples without them giving up their religious identity or resorting to conversion.
  • The Indian system, where both civil and religious marriages are recognised, is similar to the laws in the UK's marriage Act of 1949.
  • An earlier version of the SMA was enacted in 1872 and was later re-enacted in 1954 with provisions for divorce etc.

3. Marriage under the Special Marriage Act

  • The applicability of the Act extends to people of all faiths, including Hindus, Muslims, Sikha, Christians, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists across India.
  • Some customary restrictions such as parties not being within degrees of a prohibited relationship still apply to couples under SMA.
  • In 1952, when the Bill was proposed, the requirement of monogamy was considered radical.
Section 4 of the SMA requires that at the time of marriage, "neither party has a spouse living" or is "incapable of giving a valid consent to it in consequence of unsoundness of mind".
Even if both parties are capable of giving valid consent, it requires that they do not suffer from "recurrent attacks of insanity" or any mental disorder that renders them "unfit for marriage and the procreation of children".
  • The minimum age to get married under the SMA is 21 years for males and 18 years for females.
  • However, once married as per the secular law, under Section 19 of the Act, any member of an undivided family who professes the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain religion shall be deemed to affect their severance from the family. This would affect the rights, including the right to inheritance, of the persons choosing to marry under the SMA.

4. The procedure for a civil marriage

  • As per Section 5 of the Act, the parties to the marriage are required to give a notice, in writing to a "Marriage Officer" of the district in which at least one of the parties has resided for at least 30 days immediately preceding the notice.
  • Before the marriage is solemnized, the parties and three witnesses are required to sign a declaration form before the Marriage Officer.
  • Once the declaration is accepted, the parties will be given a "Certificate of marriage" which is essentially proof of the marriage or conclusive evidence of the fact that a marriage under this Act has been solemnized and all formalities respecting the signatures of witnesses have been complied with.

5. Notice period under the SMA

  • As per Section 6, a true copy of the notice given by the parties will be kept under the "Marriage Notice Book" which will be open for inspection at all reasonable times, without a fee.
  • Upon receiving the notice, the marriage officer shall publish it in "some conspicuous place in his office" to invite any objections to the marriage within 30 days.
Section 7 deals with "Objection to marriage and allows any person "before the expiration of thirty days from the date of the notice's publication" to object to the marriage on the ground that it would contravene one or more of the conditions specified in Section 4 of the Act.
  • If an objection has been made, the Marriage Officer cannot solemnize the marriage until he had inquired into the matter of the objection and is satisfied that will not prevent the marriage from taking place unless the person making such an objection withdraws it.

6. Criticism

  • These provisions are often criticised as they are commonly invoked to harass consenting couples.
  • In 2009, the Delhi High Court, underlining the right to privacy, struck down the practice of posting the notice of intended marriage under the SMA to the residential addresses of both parties through the police station of the concerned jurisdiction to verify their addresses.
  • The unwarranted disclosure of matrimonial plans by two adults entitled to solemnize it may, in certain situations, jeopardize the marriage itself.
  • In certain instances, it may even endanger the life or limb of one the other party due to parental interference.
  • More recently, this requirement for a notice period has also been challenged. 
  • In January 2021, the Allahabad High Court ruled that couples seeking to solemnize their marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954 can choose not to publish the mandatory 30-day notice of their intention to marry.
For Prelims & Mains
For Prelims: Special Marriage Act of 1954, the Muslim Marriage Act, of 1954 and the Hindu Marriage Act, of 1955, the UK's marriage Act of 1949, 
For Mains:
1. What is the Special Marriage Act and how is it different from religious codes of marriage? (250 Words)
Source: The Hindu


300th birth anniversary of the Maratha queen Ahilya Bai Holkar — a great administrator and visionary with a spiritual inclination
2.About Ahilyabai holkar
  • Ahilyabai was Born in Chondi village of Ahmednagar to the village head Mankoji Shinde, on May 31, 1725, Ahilyabai was one of the few women rulers of Medieval India.
  • While the education of girls and women was rare at that time, Mankoji insisted on it for his daughter.
  • When she was eight years old, Malhar Rao Holkar, the army commander to Peshwa Bajirao, is believed to have spotted her at a temple service in Chondi. Impressed by her devotion and character, he decided to get his son, Khande Rao, married to her
  • Ahilyabai took control of Malwa after her husband’s death in the Battle of Kumbher against the king of Bharatpur in 1754
  • She excelled at administrative and military strategies under the guidance of her father-in-law, who believed she should lead her people, and not die by Sati after Khande Rao passed away
  • After the death of her father-in-law and son a few years later, she petitioned the Peshwa to become the ruler, backed by the support of her army.
3.Administration and temple building
  • According to an article in Google’s Arts and Culture platform, “During her reign, Malwa was never once attacked, when at that time the whole of Central India was facing a power struggle, with battles being fought for the throne. Under her rule, Malwa remained an oasis of stability and peace.”
  • Under Holkar, the city of Maheshwar became a literary, musical, artistic and industrial centre, and she helped establish a textile industry there, which is now home to the famous Maheshwari saris
  • Her role in the restoration of Hindu temples is often emphasised.
  •  In 1780, she had the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi rebuilt, nearly a century after Mughal king Aurangzeb ordered its destruction. 
  •  Apart from holy sites like Badrinath, Dwarka, Omkareshwari, Gaya, and Rameswaram, Holkar also supported the construction of resting lodges for travellers, and of public ghats


1. Context
Days after former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif admitted that Islamabad had “violated” the Lahore pact, India recently said an “objective view” was emerging on the issue in Pakistan.
2. About Lahore Declaration

The Lahore Declaration is a bilateral agreement and a pivotal diplomatic document between India and Pakistan, aimed at de-escalating nuclear tensions and promoting peace in the region. It was signed on February 21, 1999, during a historic summit between the then Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, respectively.

Key Points of the Lahore Declaration

  • Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter and the Shimla Agreement, and their determination to implement the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit.
  • India and Pakistan underscored the need to prevent conflict and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. They agreed to take immediate steps to reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons and to improve communication to avoid misunderstandings and miscalculations.
  • The declaration emphasized the need for additional confidence-building measures (CBMs) to foster a climate of trust and mutual understanding. This includes prior notification of ballistic missile tests and enhancing the exchange of information on military exercises.
  • Both sides agreed to encourage more people-to-people contact and promote friendly exchanges in various fields, including cultural, scientific, and educational exchanges, which can play a crucial role in building goodwill.
  • The declaration included a mutual commitment to resolve all outstanding issues, including the contentious Kashmir issue, through peaceful means and a bilateral dialogue.
Context and Significance
  • The Lahore Declaration came shortly after both countries had conducted nuclear tests in 1998, which significantly raised regional and international concerns about the potential for nuclear conflict in South Asia.
  • The declaration was seen as a significant diplomatic breakthrough and a rare moment of warmth in the often fraught relations between India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore by bus was symbolically important and was meant to signal a desire for a fresh start in bilateral relations.
  • Despite the positive momentum created by the Lahore Declaration, subsequent events, such as the Kargil War in mid-1999 and the 2001 Indian Parliament attack, strained relations again. However, the declaration remains an important reference point in the history of Indo-Pak relations, symbolizing the potential for dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes.
3. History of India-Pakistan bilateral relations

India and Pakistan share a complex and often turbulent history of bilateral relations, marked by periods of conflict, attempted peace initiatives, and ongoing efforts to resolve deep-seated issues. 

Pre-Independence and Partition (Before 1947)

  • Both India and Pakistan were part of British India until 1947. Tensions between Hindu and Muslim communities grew, culminating in demands for separate nations.
  • The British Indian Empire was divided into two independent dominions, India and Pakistan, based on religious lines. The partition led to massive population exchanges, communal violence, and the displacement of millions.
Early Conflicts and Wars (1947-1971)
  • Shortly after independence, the First Indo-Pak War (1947-1948) war broke out over the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. A UN-mediated ceasefire established the Line of Control (LoC), but the region remained disputed.
  • Another major conflict erupted over Kashmir, leading to the Second Indo-Pak War (1965). The Tashkent Agreement, mediated by the Soviet Union, resulted in a ceasefire and the return to pre-war boundaries.
  •  Political and civil unrest in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) led to the Bangladesh Liberation War (1971) between India and Pakistan. India’s military intervention supported the independence movement in East Pakistan, resulting in the creation of Bangladesh.
Efforts at Normalization and Continued Tensions (1972-1989)
  • In the aftermath of the 1971 war, Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi of India and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement (1972), agreeing to resolve issues through bilateral negotiations and maintaining the sanctity of the LoC in Kashmir.
  • Military skirmishes began in 1984 over the Siachen Glacier in the northern part of Kashmir, leading to a prolonged and costly conflict at high altitudes.
Nuclearization and Peace Initiatives (1990-2001)
  • Both countries conducted nuclear tests, India in May 1998 and Pakistan shortly thereafter, leading to international concerns about nuclear conflict in South Asia.
  • Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif signed the Lahore Declaration in 1999, aiming to reduce nuclear risks and promote peace. However, this was soon overshadowed by the Kargil War.
  • Pakistani soldiers and militants infiltrated the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir, leading to a limited war in 1999. India regained the territory, but relations soured significantly.
  • An attempt to resolve differences through dialogue occurred at the Agra Summit in 2001, but it ended without a concrete agreement.
Terrorism and Diplomatic Fluctuations
  • A terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001, attributed to Pakistan-based groups, brought the two countries to the brink of war.
  • A series of bilateral talks were held to address various issues, including terrorism, trade, and Kashmir. Some progress was made, but the process was disrupted by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
  • Coordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai, carried out by militants from Pakistan, led to a severe diplomatic crisis. India suspended the dialogue process, demanding action against the perpetrators.
Recent Developments (2010-Present)
  • Terrorist attacks on Indian military bases (Pathankot and Uri Attacks) in 2016 further strained relations. India conducted surgical strikes across the LoC in response to the Uri attack.
  • A major terrorist attack in Pulwama, Kashmir, killed 40 Indian paramilitary personnel. India responded with an airstrike on a militant camp in Balakot, Pakistan, leading to aerial skirmishes.
  • India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370) further escalated tensions, with Pakistan strongly opposing the move and downgrading diplomatic ties.
Ongoing Challenges and Dialogue
  • Despite periods of heightened tension, both nations have occasionally reaffirmed ceasefire agreements along the LoC.
  • Various backchannel and Track II diplomacy efforts continue to seek avenues for improving relations, though substantive breakthroughs remain elusive.

4. What was the Kargil conflict?


The Kargil conflict, also known as the Kargil War, was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir, along the Line of Control (LoC). 

Causes and Planning

  • The primary motive for Pakistan's incursion was to disrupt the lifeline of the Indian military in Siachen and to internationalize the Kashmir issue by bringing it back into focus. By occupying high-altitude positions, Pakistan aimed to sever the link between Ladakh and Kashmir and force India to negotiate.
  • Pakistani soldiers and militants, disguised as insurgents, infiltrated across the LoC into the Indian side in the Kargil sector. They occupied strategic peaks and ridges, from where they could dominate the vital National Highway 1A, which connects Srinagar to Leh.
Key Events and Phases
  • The infiltration was discovered in early May 1999 when local shepherds reported unusual activity. The Indian Army initially thought the infiltrators were militants, but later realized that the intruders were well-equipped regular Pakistani soldiers and well-trained militants.
  •  India launched Operation Vijay to evict the intruders. The operation involved mobilizing a large number of troops and using artillery, air power, and infantry assaults to dislodge the Pakistani forces from the high-altitude positions they had occupied.
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted air strikes against the infiltrators, marking the first time since the 1971 war that air power was used in the region. The IAF faced significant challenges due to the high-altitude terrain and the need to avoid crossing the LoC to prevent escalation.
  • Fierce ground battles were fought at high altitudes, often over 16,000 feet, in extremely harsh conditions. Key battles took place at points such as Tololing, Tiger Hill, and Batalik, where Indian forces faced well-entrenched Pakistani positions.
By the end of July 1999, Indian forces had successfully recaptured most of the positions, and the remaining Pakistani soldiers and militants withdrew.
5. What was Operation Shakti?

Operation Shakti was the codename for a series of nuclear tests conducted by India in May 1998. These tests marked India's second entry into the group of declared nuclear-armed states, following its first nuclear test in 1974, which was codenamed "Smiling Buddha."

Key Details

  • The tests were conducted on May 11 and May 13, 1998. The tests took place at the Pokhran Test Range in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan, India.  India conducted five underground nuclear tests as part of Operation Shakti.
  • Three tests were performed on  May 11, 1998. These included a thermonuclear device (or hydrogen bomb), a fission bomb, and a sub-kiloton device. Two additional sub-kiloton nuclear tests were conducted.
  • The yield of the tests was a subject of international debate. The Indian government claimed the total yield to be around 45 kilotons, with the thermonuclear device contributing about 43 kilotons. However, some external analysts have questioned these figures, suggesting the yields may have been lower.
Objectives and Rationale
  • The primary objective was to establish a credible nuclear deterrent. India sought to enhance its security in the face of perceived threats from neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan and China, both of which had nuclear capabilities.
  • The tests were also aimed at demonstrating India's advanced nuclear technology and capability, showcasing both fission and thermonuclear devices.
  • By conducting these tests, India aimed to assert its strategic autonomy and decision-making independence in the international arena.
Domestic and International Reactions
  • The tests were widely supported within India and boosted national pride. The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the success of the tests, emphasizing India's right to safeguard its national security.
  • The tests drew strong reactions from the international community:
    • The United States, Japan, and several other countries imposed economic and military sanctions on India in response to the tests.
    • There was widespread condemnation from countries advocating non-proliferation. The United Nations and various international bodies expressed concerns about the potential arms race in South Asia.
    • Pakistan conducted its own series of nuclear tests, known as Chagai-I, on May 28, 1998, to demonstrate its nuclear capability and maintain strategic balance in the region.
Legacy and Impact
  • Following the tests, India declared a "No First Use" (NFU) policy and committed to developing a credible minimum deterrent. India’s nuclear doctrine emphasized deterrence and the defensive nature of its nuclear arsenal.
  • Operation Shakti confirmed India's status as a nuclear-armed state, leading to a shift in its strategic posture and defence policy.
  • The tests reignited debates on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, with India arguing for a more equitable global nuclear order and criticizing the discriminatory nature of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
6. The areas of cooperation and conflict between India and Pakistan
Areas of Conflict
  • The primary source of conflict is the territorial dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. Both countries claim the region in full but control only parts of it. This has led to several wars (1947-48, 1965, 1971, and 1999 Kargil War) and continuous skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC).
  • India accuses Pakistan of supporting and harbouring terrorist groups that carry out attacks in India, such as the 2001 Parliament attack, the 2008 Mumbai attack, and the 2016 Pathankot attack. Persistent issues of infiltration by militants from Pakistan into Indian-administered Kashmir.
  • Both countries’ nuclear tests in 1998 exacerbated tensions, leading to a regional arms race. The development of nuclear arsenals and delivery systems on both sides adds a layer of strategic threat and instability.
  • Both countries often clash in international forums, including the United Nations, over various issues, particularly Kashmir. Periodic downgrades in diplomatic ties and the expulsion of diplomats following terrorist attacks or military skirmishes.
  • Ongoing military standoff on the Siachen Glacier, one of the highest battlegrounds in the world. Dispute over the demarcation of the boundary in the Sir Creek area in the Rann of Kutch.

Areas of Cooperation

  • Establishment of hotlines between military commanders to prevent misunderstandings and manage crises. Agreements to cease hostilities along the LoC, though these are often violated.
  •  There have been periods where both countries have allowed trade across the LoC and through specific routes. Despite restrictions, there are sectors where trade continues, albeit limited.
  • Indus Waters Treaty (1960) A long-standing agreement mediated by the World Bank that governs the distribution of the waters of the Indus River system. Despite conflicts, both countries have largely adhered to this treaty.
  • Facilitation of pilgrimages for religious devotees, such as Sikh pilgrims visiting holy sites in Pakistan and vice versa. Instances of collaboration in sports (cricket, hockey) and cultural exchanges in music, literature, and film.
  • Instances of cooperation during natural disasters, such as earthquakes, where both countries have offered assistance.
  • Participation in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) initiatives, which aim to promote regional cooperation in various fields, including economic, technical, and cultural areas.
7. Way Forward

Building a peaceful and cooperative relationship between India and Pakistan requires sustained effort, trust-building, and addressing core issues through dialogue. By reinforcing confidence-building measures, enhancing diplomatic engagement, boosting trade, fostering people-to-people contact, and collaborating on shared challenges, both countries can work towards a more stable and prosperous future. The legacy of the Lahore Declaration and other peace initiatives can serve as a foundation for these efforts.

For Prelims: India-Pakistan, Lahore Declaration, Indus War Treaty, Terrorism, Kargil war, Bangladesh Liberation War, Sachin Glacier, SAARC, Line of Actual Control, Nuclear Non-Profilation Treaty, Article 370  
For Mains: 
1. Critically analyze Operation Shakti and its impact on India's nuclear doctrine and regional security dynamics. How did the international community react to India's nuclear tests, and what were the broader implications of these tests on global non-proliferation efforts? (250 Words)
2. Examine the role of external factors, such as terrorism and international diplomacy, in influencing India-Pakistan relations. How have events like the 2008 Mumbai attacks and the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir impacted bilateral ties and regional stability?  (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Significance of Lahore Resolution (1940) of the Muslim League was (WBCS Prelims 2018)
A. To cooperate with National Congress
B. To create a constitution for the Muslim League
C. To cooperate with the British
D. Pakistan resolution was taken
2. Features of the Government of India Act 1935 are: (Rajasthan Police SI 2016)
(a) The provincial autonomy
(b) The establishment of Federal Court
(c) The establishment of All India Federation at the Centre
A. a and b       B.  b and c       C. a and c         D. a, b and c
3. The All India Muslim League was founded in 1906 at: (SSC MTS 2021) 
A. Lahore          B. Bombay       C.  Lucknow         D. Dacca
4. All India Muslim League was founded in the year (MPPSC 2014)
A. 1905          B. 1904        C. 1907       D. 1906

5. When did the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir come into force? (UPSC CAPF 2016)

A.26th January 1957

B. 15th August 1947

C. 25th July 1956

D.14th November 1947

6. State Legislature of Jammu and Kashmir can confer special rights and privileges on permanent residents of J and K with respect to - (MPSC 2019)

Find the correct options below.

(a) Employment under State Government

(b) Settlement in the state

(c) Acquisition of immovable property

(d) Right to Scholarship

(e) Right to entry into heritage sites

A.  (a), (b), (c), (d), (e)     B. (a), (b), (c), (d)        C. (a), (b), (c)            D. (a), (b)

Answers: 1-D, 2-D, 3-D, 4-D, 5-A, 6-B

1. Analyse the circumstances that led to the Tashkent Agreement in 1966. Discuss the highlights of the Agreement. ( UPSC 2013)
Source: The Indian Express

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