UPSC Key—7 August, 2023: Amrit Bharat Station, Polygamy and Gender inclusivity in armed forces | UPSC Current Affairs News


Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- Indian Railways will modernise 138 railway stations across seven states – Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha and Punjab. These stations will be redeveloped under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme. The redevelopment projects follow the principle of “Virasat Bhi, Vikaas Bhi.”

• What is the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme?

• Amrit Bharat Station Scheme-Know its key components

• What are the objectives of the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme?

• For Your Information-Ministry of Railways has formulated a new policy for modernization of stations named “Amrit Bharat Station” scheme. Amrit Bharat Station scheme envisages development of stations on a continuous basis with a long term vision. It is based on Master Planning for long term and implementation of the elements of Master Plan as per the needs and patronage of the station. The scheme aims at preparation of Master Plans of the Railway stations and implementation of the Master Plan in phases to enhance the facilities including and beyond the Minimum Essential Amenities (MEA) and aiming for creation of Roof Plazas and city centres at the station in long run. The scheme shall aim to meet the needs of the stakeholders, station usage studies as far as possible based on availability of funds and inter-se priority. The scheme shall cater for introduction of new amenities as well as upgradation and replacement of existing amenities. This scheme will also cover the stations where detailed techno-economic feasibility studies have been conducted or are being conducted but the work for construction of Roof Plazas has not been taken up yet, ensuring the phasing of Master Plan being suitably implemented and relocation of structures and utilities being given more emphasis in the phasing plans.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍What is the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme? How is it modernising the infrastructure of Indian Railway stations? Know its objectives and scope


Doval in Jeddah: Efforts must to resolve Russia-Ukraine conflict


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-UNDERLINING THAT “respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity by all states must be upheld without exception”, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval told a meeting in Saudi Arabia on the Russia-Ukraine war that efforts must be made to resolve the conflict and soften its consequences.

• For Your Information-High-ranking representatives from over 40 nations, such as India, the United States, and China, convened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday for discussions aimed at a peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. NSA Ajit Doval’s participation in the peace conference on Ukraine shows India’s willingness to step up efforts to end the war. The fact it has raised its level of representation — up from the Secretary-rank official in June — reflects the sense of purpose on India’s side. As chair of G20, New Delhi is keen to have a consensus document at the leaders’ summit in New Delhi next month.

• ‘The India NSA also pointed out that the whole world and especially the Global South was bearing the brunt of the situation’-Comment

• What is G20’s stand on Russia-Ukraine War?

• What is India’s Stand on Russia-Ukraine War?

• India and China have been consistently calling for a diplomatic settlement but at this historical juncture, India and China are the obstacle to a possible diplomatic solution-Critically analyse India’s stand over Russia-Ukraine Crisis.

• How has India responded to international crises previously?

• How India can help to maintain ‘Peace’ in Ukraine-Russia Conflict?

• Indian stance on Ukraine-Analyse India’s Stand on Ukraine-Russia Conflict

• Role of United Nations in Ukraine-Russia Crisis-Analyse

• Ukraine-Russia War-Try to understand the changing dynamics in diplomatic relations and its impact on India

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍On Ukraine, India must choose a side

📍Behind India’s repeated abstentions against Russia at UN, legacy of policies past

Anti-polygamy Bill coming this financial year, says Assam CM


Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Mains Examination: General Studies I: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India and Social empowerment,

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-Assam will have in place a law banning the practice of polygamy within this financial year, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said after receiving the go-ahead from an expert committee formed by the state government to examine whether it can enact a legislation in this regard. The four-member committee, headed by Justice (Retd) Rumi Kumari Phukan and comprising Assam Advocate General Devajit Saikia, Sr Additional AG Nalin Kohli and Advocate Nekibur Zaman as members, was formed by the state government to examine if the state legislature was within its rights to enact a law banning polygamy in the state.

• What is Polygamy?

• For Your Information-Polygamy is the practice of having more than one married spouse — wife or husband. The issue is governed both by personal laws and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Traditionally, polygamy — mainly the situation of a man having more than one wife — was practised widely in India. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 outlawed the practice.

• Is polygamy in India legal or illegal?

• Do You Know-IPC Section 494 (“Marrying again during lifetime of husband or wife”) penalises bigamy or polygamy. The section reads: “Whoever, having a husband or wife living, marries in any case in which such marriage is void by reason of its taking place during the life of such husband or wife, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.” This provision does not apply to a marriage which has been declared void by a court — for example, a child marriage that has been declared void. The law also does not apply if a spouse has been “continually absent” for the “space of seven years”. This means a spouse who has deserted the marriage or when his or her whereabouts are not known for seven years, will not bind the other spouse from remarrying.

• Polygamy in India-What data says?

• What are the different religious laws that govern marriage in India?

• For Your Information-The National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20) showed the prevalence of polygamy was 2.1% among Christians, 1.9% among Muslims, 1.3% among Hindus, and 1.6% among other religious groups. The data showed that the highest prevalence of polygynous marriages was in the North-eastern states with tribal populations. A list of 40 districts with the highest polygyny rates was dominated by those with high tribal populations.

• What are various judicial arguments regarding polygamy?

• What is the impact of Polygamy on Indian Society?

• In Which Countries Polygamy Legal?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍The law on polygamy among religious groups in India

📍The polygamy myth

Previous year UPSC Prelims Question Covering similar theme:

📍Which Article of the Constitution of India safeguards one’s right to marry the person of one’s choice? (Please refer UPSC CSE GS1, 2019 question paper)

Previous year UPSC Mains Question Covering similar theme:

📍Customs and traditions suppress reason leading to obscurantism. Do you agree? (UPSC CSE GS 1, 2020)

House panel suggests quota for trans people in CAPFs


Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.

Mains Examination: 

• General Studies I: Social empowerment

• General Studies II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

• General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- A Parliamentary panel has recommended that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extend some form of reservation to transgender people in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and take steps to recruit them.

• What exactly the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice said in its report?

• For Your Information-There were 34,278 women personnel posted in the CAPFs as on September 30, 2022. Of these, 1,894 were in Assam Rifles, 7,470 in the Border Security Force, 9,316 in the Central Industrial Security Force, 9,427 in the Central Reserve Police Force, 2,514 in the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and 3,657 in the Sashastra Seema Bal. “The Committee wishes to point out another imperative issue that is the percentage of women in Central Forces. Only 3.65 per cent of vacancies for women have been filled till now. In BSF and SSB, it is only 14 per cent to 15 per cent, in CISF it is 6.35 per cent and in ITBP it is 2.83 per cent. So there are certain constraints which are preventing women from joining the forces. The representation of women personnel in CAPFs & AR is 3.76% as on September 30, 2022,” the report said. “There is no specific reservation for women in CAPFs. However, in order to enhance the representation of women in CAPFs, in 2011, based on the recommendations of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Empowerment of Women, directions were issued to bring percentage of women in the forces to 5% within 3 year,” the report read.

• What is gender inclusivity in armed forces in India?

• Is it advisable for the armed forces to remove itself from gender binary norms?

• Do you think that there is a gender discrimination in Indian Armed forces?

• How Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 defines Transgender person?

• What percentage of Indian population is transgender?

• Do you Know-India’s 2011 Census was the first census in its history to incorporate the number of ‘trans’ population of the country. According to the 2011 Census, the number of persons who do not identify as ‘male’ or ‘female’ but as ‘other’ stands at 4,87,803 (0.04% of the total population). This ‘other’ category applied to persons who did not identify as either male or female, and included transgender persons.

• “Sex is biologically determined but gender is a social construct”-Critically Analyse

• Transgenders in India are still discriminated even after the Supreme Court has held that the right to self-identification of gender is part of the right to dignity and autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution-Why?

• A National Council for Transgender (NCT) persons-role and objectives

• What are the Yogyakarta Principles?

• Employment rates of transgender in India-Know the data’s and Statistics

• What was the Supreme Court’s verdict in National Legal Services Authority vs Union Of India, 2014?

• Decriminalisation of homosexuality was much needed for transgenders and Section 377-Connect the dots

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Reservation for transgender community: What the demand for ‘horizontal’ reservation is

📍Govt nudges paramilitary to open doors for transgenders

📍Transgenders’ Bill 2019 denies the community to decide their own identity — a right granted by the SC

Previous year UPSC Prelims Question Covering similar theme:

📍In India, Legal Services Authorities provide free legal services to which of the following type of citizens? (Please refer UPSC CSE GS1, 2020 question paper)

Previous year UPSC Mains Question Covering similar theme:

📍Despite Consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive. (GS2, 2019)

📍What are the continued challenges for women in India against time and space? (GS1, 2019)


The growth check-list


Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.

Mains Examination: General Studies II:Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story-Ashok Gulati, Purvi Thangaraj write: While inaugurating the newly constructed Bharat Mandapam (the international exhibition-cum-convention centre, venue for the forthcoming G20 summit) on July 26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed immense pride in India’s growth since his government took office in 2014. The real challenge for the government is to raise per capita incomes. And for politics to jettison competitive populism.

• “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also projects that India will be the third-largest economy by 2027”-Discuss

• Do You Know-As per the IMF, India is currently the fifth largest economy with a GDP of $3.7 trillion — the US tops with $26.9 trillion, followed by China at $19.4 trillion, Japan ($4.4 trillion) and Germany ($4.3 trillion). By 2027, India’s GDP is likely to be $5.2 trillion, while the US will be at $31.1 trillion and China at $25.7 trillion. It is interesting to note that IMF’s historical data shows that India took six decades (1947 to 2007) to cross the one trillion-dollar GDP mark in 2007 ($1.2 trillion). But thereafter, it took India just seven years to become a $2 trillion economy in 2014. It added another $1.2 trillion by 2021. If India hits the IMF’s projected figure of $5.2 trillion by 2027, it would be adding a whopping $2 trillion in just six years. That would be unprecedented, putting India firmly on the global stage.

• What Is Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)?

• Is GDP per capita the same as GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)?

• What is the relationship between Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and GDP?

• For Your Information-Measuring GDP on a PPP basis shows that India already has the third highest with a GDP of $13 trillion (PPP), with China at the top ($33 trillion, PPP) and the US is second ($26.9 trillion). However, when it comes to evaluating people’s welfare and their quality of life, one needs to look at per capita GDP in PPP terms. PPP conversion ratios can vary widely across countries, as price levels of goods and services could differ significantly. India’s conversion ratio from dollar to PPP is 3.5, which is almost twice that of China at 1.7. for example, if a US dollar can buy a burger in its home country, the currency can buy 3.5 burgers in India and 1.7 burgers in China. Unfortunately, however, India’s per capita income is the lowest in G20 countries in both dollar ($2,601) and PPP terms ($9,073), as shown in the infographic. China’s one-child family policy from 1981 to 2016 has given our neighbour the dividend of raising per capita GDP to $23,382 PPP, while the US sits at the top with a per capita GDP of $80,035. It is here that India may not get even a consolation prize amongst the G20 countries.

• According to the authors of this article, what are the real challenge for India and for the present government?

• “The real challenge for India and the Modi government is to raise the per capita incomes of the people”-Comment

• How per capita incomes of the people can be raised?

• Way Ahead-According to the authors of this article, per capita incomes of the people can be raised if people can move from low-productivity jobs to high-productivity jobs. The largest segment of India’s working population (45.5 per cent) is still engaged in agriculture. We need to raise agri-productivity and give farmers access to the best agri-markets. This would help raise their incomes and help PM Modi fulfil his dream of doubling farmers’ incomes. This would require doubling investments in agri-R&D, irrigation, rural infrastructure, and liberalising agri-markets — both domestic and foreign. The resources to do all this can be generated by rationalising various subsidies, especially food and fertiliser subsidies at the central level, and power subsidy at the state level. This requires political will and smart policymaking that can reward farmers for aligning farm practices with environmental sustainability. We need to invest heavily in the education and skill development of rural people to build new cities and undertake massive construction activities — homes, hotels, hospitals and schools. Urbanisation experts remind us that almost 75 per cent of New India is yet to be built. Bharat Mandapam and the new Parliament House are just the beginning of an India story. It will require new skills and millions of people will have to move from rural areas to build New India. It will be accompanied by high-productivity jobs in manufacturing and services. China followed this developmental pathway. If India has to grow on a sustainable basis, it may have to follow a similar path with Indian characteristics. If the Modi government can expedite that process, it could help abolish poverty soon — as per Niti Aayog’s report, it stands at 14.96 per cent in 2019-21, down from 24.85 per cent in 2015-16. Only then India can set a real example for the Global South, even if it will still be way behind other G20 countries. The only visible challenge to this seems to be our competitive populism in politics (the revdi culture) in the run-up to elections. The promised freebies are nothing short of a “bribe for votes” — they can derail India’s growth story. The Supreme Court and/or Election Commission need to check these freebie promises to ensure meaningful democracy.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍What Is Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), and How Is It Calculated?

📍Latest GDP data: Looks like India can weather the global economic storm


Revised manufacturing norms for drug firms: what changes, why


Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

Mains Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The government recently directed all pharmaceutical companies in the country to implement the revised Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), bringing their processes at par with global standards. Larger companies with a turnover of over Rs 250 crore have been asked to implement the changes within six months, while medium and small-scale enterprises with turnover of less than Rs 250 crore have been asked to do so within a year. This comes at a time when India is promoting itself as the global manufacturing hub for generic medicines.

• What is Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)?

• What are the basic principles of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)?

• How World Health Organisation defines Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)?

• What is generic medicine?

• What is difference between generic medicine and normal medicine?

• For Your Information-When a company develops a new drug — often after years of research — it applies for a patent, which prohibits anyone else from making the drug for a fixed period. To recover the cost of research and development, companies usually price their brand- name drugs on the higher side. Once the patent expires, other manufacturers duplicate and market their own versions of the drug. Since the manufacture of these generic drugs do not involve a repeat of the extensive clinical trials to prove their safety and efficacy, it costs less to develop them. Generic drugs are, therefore, cheaper. However, because the compounds in the generic versions have the same molecular structure as the brand-name version, their quality is essentially the same. The generic drug has the same “active ingredient” as the brand-name drug. This ingredient is the one that cures the patient; and other, “inert ingredients”, which give the drug its colour, shape or taste, vary from the brand-name drug to the generics.

• What was the need for the improved standards?

• What are the major changes?

• How will the changes help?

• When will the changes be implemented?

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍Adopt WHO-standard good manufacturing practices: Govt sets deadline for pharmas

📍Cheap generic vs costly branded: Issues in picking right drug in India


Monetary policy: Why is RBI likely to maintain status quo?


Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development

Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

Key Points to Ponder:

• What’s the ongoing story- The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which will meet between August 8-10 is widely expected to keep the policy repo rate unchanged for the third consecutive time at 6.5 per cent. While there’re concerns over higher consumer price index (CPI) inflation, driven by an increase in prices of vegetables and pulses, the central bank may continue with its policy stance of ‘withdrawal of accommodation’ amidst surplus liquidity in the banking system.

• What happened in the previous two monetary policies?

• Why will RBI extend the pause in August?

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) left the main policy instrument, repo rate, unchanged-Why?

• How this unchanged monetary policy will provide relief to home, vehicle and other retail borrowers from an increase in equated monthly instalments (EMIs)?

• What happens when repo rate is increased?

• Repo rate is the rate at which central bank of a country (in our case Reserve Bank of India) lends money to whom?

• In reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) borrows money from whom?

• ‘Repo rate at 6.50 per cent’-What do you understand by this?

• If Repo Rate is increased or say decreased then it impacts common people?

• Who decides the repo rate and reverse repo rate?

• How repo rate and reverse repo rate are decided?

• What is the difference between repo rate and interest rate?

• If repo rate or reverse repo rate is increased or decreased, then how it impacts savings?

• What Marginal Standing Facility?

• What is the meaning of withdrawal of accommodation?

• What does accommodative stance mean with respect to monetary policy?

• Will RBI retain its policy stance?

• Will RBI change its inflation forecast?

• Will the growth projection be changed?

• Will there be any change in lending and deposit rates?

• What is Monetary Policy Framework?

• What is Monetary policy?

• What is the primary objective of the monetary policy?

• There are two aspects to any monetary policy-What are they?

• The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a Statutory Body-True or False?

• Under Section 45ZB of the amended (in 2016) RBI Act, 1934, the central government is empowered to constitute a six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)- What is the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)?

• Do You Know-Monetary policy essentially deals with the supply and cost (interest rates) of money in an economy. The RBI’s MPC meets every two months to assess the state of monetary activities, and may tweak the repo rate — the interest rate at which the RBI lends to commercial banks — in a manner that reduces price fluctuations in the economy while keeping the inflation rate (the rate at which the general price level in the economy grows) at a reasonable level.

• What is the composition of Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)?

• Try to Comprehend-In any economy, the main role of the central bank is to maintain price stability. In other words, the primary goal is to contain inflation. The inflation rate for any period (month, quarter or year) is the rate at which the general price level has gone up. If the overall price level — typically calculated by an index (such as the Consumer Price Index) that has the prices of different commodities — in a particular month is 5% more than what it was in the same month last year, then inflation rate is said to be 5%. The targeted level of inflation varies from one country to another. In the US, this target is 2%. In India, the law demands RBI to target 4%. But apart from the exact target, the law also provides a comfort zone — 2% to 6% — within which the inflation can stray. These numbers are decided based on research that suggests the ideal rate of inflation most conducive to sustained economic growth. since late 2019, the RBI has rarely come close to the target rate. Worse still, the headline inflation has stayed outside the upper limit for the better part of the past 14 months.

Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

📍RBI hits pause second time in a row, repo rate remains 6.5 %

📍Forecast is still cloudy


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