GS Paper 1: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors / contributions from different parts of the country.
Prelims exam: Mangal Pandey
Who was Mangal Pandey?
• Mangal Pandey was an Indian soldier who played a key part in the events immediately preceding the outbreak of the Indian rebellion of 1857.
• He was a sepoy (infantryman) in the 34th Bengal Native Infantry (BNI) regiment of the British East India Company.
• Following the Sepoy Mutiny, Pandey was put on trial and sentenced to death by hanging. Pandey was executed on 8 April 1857.
• In 1984, the Indian government issued a postage stamp to remember him.
Mangal Pandey and the Revolt of 1857
• The Britishers introduced new cartridges that reportedly were laced with animal fat, Pandey revolted against the Crown.
o The cartridges were reportedly laced with cow and pig fat which is considered offensive to the religious beliefs of both Hindus and Muslims.
• The Britishers initially denied using any animal fat, but the doubts of Pandey and other soldiers got stronger and eventually led to a mutiny.
• Pandey influenced his fellow sepoys to take on the British empire for atrocities under their rule.
• On March 29, 1857, Mangal Pandey attacked two British officers in North Kolkata’s Barrackpore.
• The revolt started by Mangal Pandey soon reached other parts of the country and common people also came forward against the empire.
• The rebellion started by Mangal Pandey came to be known as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 also called the First War of Independence.
Revolt of 1857
• The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a major uprising in India in 1857–58 against the rule of the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown.
• The rebellion began on 10 May 1857 in the form of a mutiny of sepoys of the Company’s army in the garrison town of Meerut, 40 mi (64 km) northeast of Delhi.
• It then erupted into other mutinies and civilian rebellions chiefly in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, though incidents of revolt also occurred farther north and east.
• The rebellion posed a considerable threat to British power in that region, and was contained only with the rebels’ defeat in Gwalior on 20 June 1858.
• Its name is contested, and it is variously described as the Sepoy Mutiny, the Indian Mutiny, the Great Rebellion, the Revolt of 1857, the Indian Insurrection, and the First War of Independence.
Points to Ponder:
• Tribal & Peasant revolts
• Causes of Revolt (Doctrine of Lapse etc)
• Centres of the Revolt
• Aftermath of the Revolt
GS Paper 2: Executive: structure and function
Prelims exam: President: Related provision and election
Why in news
Polling for Presidential Elections 2022 held on 18 july, Out of a total of 4796 electors in the list of Electoral College for the Presidential Election, over 99% cast their votes.
However 100% voting by MLAs was reported from Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Puducherry, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu.
Provision related to Election of President
• Article 54: As per the Article 54 of the Constitution, the President of India is elected by the Members of an Electoral College consisting of
o the elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and
o the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States [including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry].
Who is not eligible: The Members nominated to either House of Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies of States, including NCT of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry, are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College.
• Institution responsible to conduct the election: The Election to the office of President of lndian Republic is one of the most important elections, which the Election Commission of India conducts vide the mandate of Article 324 of the Constitution of lndia.
o Under Rule 40 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, the Election Commission of India is required to maintain a list of members of the Electoral College. The list contains the names of elected members of
Lok Sabha and
the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of States, NCT of Delhi and UT of Puducherry, in that order.
o This time the Commission directed the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officers concerned to ensure use of eco-friendly and biodegradable material and eliminate the use of prohibited plastic/materials as per extant instructions of Government of India.
• Article 55(3): According to Article 55 (3) of the Constitution, the election to the Office of President of India is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting at such election is by secret ballot.
• How the value of votes is calculated:
o The Constitution stipulates that there shall be uniformity, as far as practicable, in the scale of representation of the different States at the election (Article 55).
o For securing such uniformity among the States inter-se as well as parity between the States as a whole and the Union, a formula based on the population of each State is given in the Constitution for determination of the value of vote which each elected Member of Parliament and of the Legislative Assembly of each State is entitled to cast.
o The Constitution (Eighty-fourth) Amendment Act, 2001 provides that until the relevant population figures for the first census to be taken after the year 2026 have been published, the population of the States for the purposes of calculation of value of votes for the Presidential Election shall mean the population as ascertained at the 1971-census.
Total population of Andhra Pradesh (1971 census): 2,78,00,586
Total No of elective seats in the State Assembly: 175
No. of votes for each member: 2,78,00,586/ (1000×175)
Minority status of religious, linguistic communities is State-dependent: SC
GS Paper 2: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure.
Minorities and provisions related
Why in News
The Supreme Court in a recent judgement said, “The minority status of religious and linguistic communities is State-dependent”.
What has the Court said?
Every person in this country can be a minority in one State or the other. A Kannada speaking person may be in minority in States other than Karnataka.
Concept of Minority in the Indian Constitution
• The Constitution recognizes religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India through Article 29 and Article 30.
• But Minority is not defined in the Constitution.
• Currently, the Linguistic minorities in India are identified on a state-wise basis thus determined by the state government whereas religious minorities in India are determined by the Central Government.
• The Parliament has the legislative powers and the Centre has the executive competence to notify a community as a minority under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act of 1992.
• Article 29:
o It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script, or culture of its own, shall have the rights of minorities in India to conserve the same.
o Article 29 is applied to both minorities (religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India) and also the majority.
• Article 30:
o All minorities shall have the rights of minorities in India to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
o Article 30 recognizes only religious minorities in India and Linguistic minorities in India (not the majority).
o It includes the rights of minorities in India to impart education to their children in their own language.
• Article 350-B:
o Originally, the Constitution of India did not make any provision with respect to the Special Officer for Linguistic minorities in India.
o However, the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 inserted Article 350-B in the Constitution.
o It provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
o It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.
While Article 30 and Article 29 of the Constitution do not specify ‘minorities’ in India, it is classified into religious minorities and linguistic minorities.
• The basic ground for a community to be nominated as a religious minority is the numerical strength of the community. For example, in India, Hindus are the majority community. As India is a multi-religious country, it becomes important for the government to conserve and protect the religious minorities of the country.
• Section 2, clause (c) of the National Commission of Minorities Act, declares six communities as minority communities. They are:
o Jains and
o Zoroastrians (Parsis)
Class or group of people whose mother language or mother tongue is different from that of the majority groups is known as the linguistic minorities. The Constitution of India protects the interest of these linguistic minorities.
Govt forms panel for ‘more effective’ MSP
GS Paper 3: Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices
Prelims exam: MSP, CACP
Mains exam: improving farmers income and the role of MSP
Why in News
Seven months after farmers ended their protest at the borders of Delhi after forcing the repeal of the new farm laws, the Centre notified a committee to “promote zero-budget based farming” and to make the minimum support price (MSP) more “effective and transparent”.
• The committee will provide “suggestions to make available MSP to farmers of the country by making the system more effective and transparent”
• It will give suggestions on “practicality to give more autonomy to Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and measures to make it more scientific.”
• The committee will recommend measures to “strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic and export opportunities.”
• Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the Government of India to protect the producer – farmers – against excessive fall in price during bumper production years.
• The minimum support prices are announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
• The minimum support prices are a guarantee price for their produce from the Government.
• The major objectives are to support the farmers from distress sales and to procure food grains for public distribution.
• In case the market price for the commodity falls below the announced minimum price due to bumper production and glut in the market, government agencies purchase the entire quantity offered by the farmers at the announced minimum price.
Legal status of MSP
Currently, the MSP doesn’t enjoy any statutory/legal backing.
How MSP is fixed?
• The MSP is fixed on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
• Factors taken into consideration for fixing MSP include:
o Demand and supply
o Cost of production (A2 + FL method)
o Price trends in the market, both domestic and international
o Inter-crop price parity
o Terms of trade between agriculture and non-agriculture
It includes all paid-out costs directly incurred by the farmer — in cash and kind — on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, hired labor, leased-in land, fuel, irrigation, etc. plus an imputed value of unpaid family labor.
o A minimum of 50% as the margin over cost of production
o Likely implications of MSP on consumers of that product.
• Based on all these inputs, the Commission then finalizes its recommendations/reports, which are then submitted to the government.
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) of the Union government takes a final decision on the level of MSPs and other recommendations made by the CACP.
The CACP is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, formed in 1965. It is a statutory body that submits separate reports recommending prices for Kharif and Rabi seasons. Its decisions are of recommendatory nature and non-binding on the government.
NITI Aayog & WFP to launch Initiative to promote millets in Asia & Africa
GS Paper 2: Issues relating to Poverty and Hunger.
Prelims Exam: Millets: their benefits and their characteristics
Mains exam: Diversification of food basket
Why in News
Aiming at a more diversified food basket under its free food distribution programme with focus on coarse grains and millets, NITI Aayog has entered into an agreement with United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to address issues related to inclusion of millets in government programmes.
• ‘Mapping and Exchange of Good Practices’, an initiative for mainstreaming millets in Asia and Africa, will be launched by NITI Aayog and the World Food Programme (WFP), India on July 19, 2022.
• NITI Aayog and WFP will prepare a compendium of good practices for scaling up the production and consumption of millets in India and abroad.
• It shall be noted that the Government of India had proposed the United Nations for declaring the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYoM).
• This is aimed at creating domestic and global demand of millets.
International Year of Millets
• The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution and declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets in March 2021.
• The Resolution of India was supported by 72 countries.
Partnerships in the Past
• NITI Aayog and WFP have partnered in the past to identify and address the challenges associated with the promotion of millets systematically and effectively.
• To do so, earlier in 2021, NITI Aayog signed a Statement of Intent with United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on December 20.
• The partnership focused on mainstreaming millets and supporting India to take a global lead in promoting and taking forward the health benefits of millets.
• Furthermore, the partnership also aimed at building resilient livelihoods for small-holder farmers and adaptation capacities to climate change and transforming food systems.
Steps taken by India
• India, the 5th largest exporter of millets globally, has been taking steps to promote the knowledge associated with millets and its benefit.
• These include the establishment of the centre for Excellence, Integration of nutri-cereals in National Food Security Act, and the establishment of Millet Mission in multiple states.
Why is millet called a superfood?
• Millets are among the oldest eatables in the country. Hailed as a superfood, millets can address issues related to nutrition security, food systems security, and farmers’ welfare.
• Millets are a rich source of protein, fibre, minerals, iron, calcium and have a low glycaemic index.
• Nutri-cereals are grown in arid and semi-arid tracts under low rainfall (200-600 mm) conditions.
• These are known for their nutrient-rich content and characteristics like drought tolerance, photo-insensitivity, resilience to climate change, etc.
• Millets have high nutritional features and health benefits and can be cultivated with minimal water and inputs. It can grow well in dry areas or even on lands with deficient and low fertility.
• Further, due to their short growing season, millets can develop from seeds to ready-to-harvest crops in just about 65 days. This is a vital characteristic of the millet as it can help in solving food security issues, especially in thickly populated regions of the world.
• If stored properly, millets can keep well for two years or beyond.
The glycemic index (GI is a number from 0 to 100 assigned to a food, with pure glucose arbitrarily given the value of 100, which represents the relative rise in the blood glucose level two hours after consuming that food.
India’s Defence Exports
GS Paper 3: Achievements of Indians in Science & Technology; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.
Mains exam: India’s Defence Export
Why in News
The Prime Minister has informed that our defence exports have increased seven times in the last eight years. We had achieved defence exports worth ₹13,000 crore and of this 70% was from the private sector.
India’s Defence Exports: A look on Data
• India has put out a range of military hardware on sale which includes various missile systems, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), helicopters, warship and patrol vessels, artillery guns, tanks, radars etc.
• From 2016-17 to 2018-19, the country’s defence exports have increased from ₹1,521 crore to ₹10,745 crore, a staggering 700% growth.
• Over 30 Indian defence companies have exported arms and equipment to countries like Italy, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Nepal, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Israel, Egypt, UAE, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Poland, Spain and Chile.
• The exports include personal protective items, defence electronics systems, engineering mechanical equipment, offshore patrol vessels, advanced light helicopters, avionics suits, radio systems and radar systems.
• However, India’s defense exports are still not upto the expected lines.
o The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) ranked India at number 23 in the list of major arms exporters for 2015-2019.
o India still accounts for only 0.17% of global arms exports.
Steps taken by the Government to boost defence production
• Licensing relaxation: The Government has announced simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates to boost the exports.
• Lines of Credit: Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
• Policy boost: The Defence Ministry has also issued a Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy 2020.
• Indigenization lists: On the domestic front, to boost indigenous manufacturing, the Government had issued two “positive indigenization lists” consisting of 209 items that cannot be imported.
• Budgetary allocation: In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.
• Defence Industrial Corridors: The government has also announced 2 dedicated Corridors in the States of TN and UP to act as clusters of defence manufacturing that leverage existing infrastructure, and human capital.
• The 5bn $ vision: The vision of the government is to achieve a turnover of $25 bn including export of $5 bn in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
• Aatmanirbhar Bharat: The govt has identified the Defence and Aerospace sector as a focus area for the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or Self-Reliant India initiative.
Issues retarding defence exports
• Excess reliance on Public Sector: India has four companies (Indian ordnance factories, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)) among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
• Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisition worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
• Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
• Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
• ‘Unease’ in doing business: An issue related to stringent labour laws, compliance burden and lack of skills, affects the development of indigenous manufacturing in defence.
• Multiple jurisdictions: Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.
• Lack of quality: The higher indigenization in few cases is largely attributed to the low-end technology.
• FDI Policy: The earlier FDI limit of 49% was not enough to enthuse global manufacturing houses to set up bases in India.
• R&D Lacunae: A lip service to technology funding by making token allocations is an adequate commentary on our lack of seriousness in the area of Research and Development.
• Lack of skills: There is a lack of engineering and research capability in our institutions. It again leads us back to the need for a stronger industry-academia interface.
• Reducing import dependence: India was the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as the largest importer to Saudi Arabia, says 2019 SIPRI report.
• Security Imperative: Indigenization in defence is critical to national security also. It keeps intact the technological expertise and encourages spin-off technologies and innovation that often stem from it.
• Economic boost: Indigenization in defence can help create a large industry which also includes small manufacturers.
• Employment generation: Defence manufacturing will lead to the generation of satellite industries that in turn will pave the way for a generation of employment opportunities.