India-Norway Task Force On Blue Economy

Recently, the India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development was inaugurated jointly by both the countries. This task force was launched during the Norwegian Prime Minister’s visit to India earlier in 2019.

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  • The two countries also commenced a new collaboration on Integrated Ocean Management & Research.

Key Points

  • The bilateral collaboration intends to manage the resources in the oceans in a sustainable manner.
  • The India-Norway cooperation in the field of oceans is based on a shared interest in the blue economy and the sustainable use of marine resources.
  • Both countries also desire to advance scientific knowledge about oceans.

India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development

  • The purpose of the task force is to develop and follow up joint initiatives between the two countries.
  • It also intends to mobilize relevant stakeholders from both Norway and India at the highest level, and ensure continued commitment and progress across ministries and agencies.

NOTE:

  • Norway is an expert on the subject of the Ocean Economy as 70% of Norway’s export is from Norway’s maritime industry.
  • Starting the bilateral ocean dialogue has added a new dimension in India-Norway relations and will help India to understand the know-how of the maritime industry.

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India-Norway Relations

  • India and Norway have been enjoying a cordial and friendly relationship since the establishment of relations in 1947.
  • The two countries respect each other for their commonly shared values such as democracy, human rights and rule of law. In recent years, both countries have been increasing their engagements in the field of trade and technology.
  • Norway has supported India’s membership to export control regimes the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) and the Australia Group (AG).
  • India has signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Norway in 1986 which was revised in February 2011.
  • Total bilateral trade between India and Norway stands around $1.1 billion in 2015-16.
  • Three Arctic Missions from India have so far visited Norway, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. India’s Polar Research Station “Himadri” is located at Ny Alesund, Spitsbergen Island, Norway.

Blue Economy

  • The concept was introduced by Gunter Pauli in his 2010 book- “The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs”.
  • It is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.
  • It comprises renewable energy, fisheries, maritime transport, tourism, climate change, waste management.
  • It is also reflected in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14), which calls to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  • Blue Economy can help to generate livelihoods, to achieve energy security, to build ecological resilience and to improve living standards of coastal communities.
     
    • India has a long coastline of 7,517 km covering nine states and two union territories – with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 2.02 mn. sq.km.

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UPSC Prelims 2020 Complete Study Material for General Studies Paper-1 with 50-Practice Solved Test

Civil Services Preliminary exam comprises of two compulsory papers of 200 marks each (General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II). The questions will be of multiple choices, objective type. The marks in prelims will not be counted for final ranking, but just for qualification for main exam.The Commission will draw a list of candidates to be qualified for Civil Service (Main) Examination based on the criterion of minimum qualifying marks of 33% in General Studies Paper-II of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination and total qualifying marks of General Studies Paper-I of Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination as may be determined by the Commission.

UPSC Syllabus for GS Paper I – (200 marks) Duration: Two hours (Counted for the merit rank in the Prelims)·        

Current events of national and international importance.         

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Daily News Prescription - General Studies of India

UPSC Prelims 2020: Basic Geography Concepts

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Basic and Geography of India for UPSC Civil Services Prelims Exam 2020 General Studies Paper-1. We have covered basic geography topics which are very useful for Preliminary examination.

Geography is so vast in its syllabus that it covers the most section of the General Studies for the IAS Prelims Exam. The geography is scientific in its orientation and hence the candidates having Arts background find it very difficult to prepare the geography for the IAS Prelims Exam.

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Geography Concept Based Notes

  • The Universe
  • Rocks and Minerals
  • Concepts of Geomorphology
  • Landforms and its Evolution
  • The Climatology
  • Atmospheric Circulation & Weather Systems
  • Oceanography
  • Physiography of India
  • Drainage System of India
  • Climate of India      
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  • Agriculture
  • Mineral Resources
  • Transport
  • Migration

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UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics: 13 February 2020

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UPSC IAS Prelims 2020 : Complete Revision

UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics: 13 February 2020

  1. Hampi
  2. Iran celebrates 1979 Islamic Revolution.
  3. Uniform Civil Code.
  4. Private member’s Bill.
  5. Safer Internet Day.
  6. Scholarship for Higher Studies
  7. Storm Ciara.
  8. SPICe+
  9. SC/ST Amendment Act, 2018
  10. Anticipatory Bail
  11. International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
  12. Gender Gap
  13. Indian nationals living abroad.
  14. Cash Reserve Ratio
  15. UNHCR launches ‘2 Billion Kilometers to Safety’ campaign.
  16. Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL)

Hampi

Context: SC backs move of Karnataka government to demolish restaurants near Hampi site.

The court concluded that the constructions were in violation of the Mysore Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1961.

Background:

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About Hampi:

  1. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.
  2. It was a part of the Mauryan Empire back in the third century BC. 
  3. Hampi was the capital city during the four different dynasties altogether in the Vijayanagar city that came into existence in the year 1336 AD.
  4. The Vijayanagara Empire reached unfathomable heights under the guidance of King Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluva Dynasty. 
  5. ‘Kishkindha Kaand’ in Ramayana has special significance concerning Hampi.
  6. It is located near the Tungabhadra river.
  7. By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval-era city after Beijing, and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.
  8. It has been described by UNESCO as an “austere, grandiose site” of more than 1,600 surviving remains of the last great Hindu kingdom in South India.

Gender Gap in Science Education

  • February 11 was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, established by the United Nations to promote equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.
  • According to a 2018 fact sheet prepared by UNESCO on women in science, just 28.8% of researchers are women.
  • UNESCO data from 2014-16 show that only around 30% of female students select STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related fields in higher education.
  • Female enrolment is particularly low in information technology (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and engineering and allied streams (8%).
  • Various studies have found that girls excel at mathematics and science-oriented subjects in school, but boys often believe they can do better, which shapes their choices in higher studies.
  • In 2015, an analysis of PISA scores by OECD found that the difference in maths scores between high-achieving boys and girls was the equivalent of about half a year at school.
  • But when comparing boys and girls who reported similar levels of self-confidence and anxiety about mathematics, the gender gap in performance disappeared, when girls were more anxious, they tended to perform poorly.
  • The NITI Aayog report said, “The problem of entry of women in science is not uniform across disciplines.

Government Scholarship for Higher Studies

  • Government of India has launched various scholarship schemes for Indian Students for pursuing higher studies abroad, which are as follows
  • National Overseas Scholarship for Scheduled Caste Students – The scheme is implemented by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment under which financial assistance is provided to the meritorious Scheduled Caste students.
  • National Overseas Scholarship for Scheduled Tribe Students – The scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs where in financial assistance is provided to the meritorious Scheduled Tribe students.
  • Overseas Doctoral Fellowship Programme – The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology launched an Overseas Doctoral Fellowship Program with specific Universities to build national capacity where the talent supply of researchers in areas of interest to the country is sub-critical.
  • Sending Students Abroad for Research Internships – All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in collaboration with ‘Mathematics of Information Technology and Computer Systems (MITACS)’ provides a platform from 2018 to the students of AICTE approved institutions to undergo Internship in Canadian Universities through its scheme.
  • University Grants Commission (UGC) – Under Education Exchange Programme between India and Hungary, the Hungarian Govt. offers 200 scholarships to Indian students for pursuing Higher education in Hungarian Higher education institutions. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics

SC/ST Amendment Act, 2018

  • The 2018 Supreme Court verdict had made a provision for anticipatory bail to offenders under Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act.
  • However, after strong protests against the dilution across the country, Union government removed this provision to bring the law back to its original form.
  • Recently SC upheld the amendments, ruling that though the provision of anticipatory bail is not available under the law, courts can quash FIRs in exceptional circumstances.
  • The court also ruled that preliminary enquiry is not a must in cases of atrocities against SCs/STs, and no prior approval of an appointing authority or senior police officers is required before filing FIRs.
  • However, a caveat that anticipatory bail should be granted only in extraordinary situations where a denial of bail would mean miscarriage of justice.

Cash Reserve Ratio

  • Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is the share of a bank’s total deposit that is mandated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to be maintained with the latter in the form of liquid cash.
  • The Cash Reserve Ratio acts as one of the reference rates when determining the base rate.
  • Base rate means the minimum lending rate below which a bank is not allowed to lend funds.
  • The base rate is determined by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The rate is fixed and ensures transparency with respect to borrowing and lending in the credit market.
  • The Base Rate also helps the banks to cut down on their cost of lending to be able to extend affordable loans.
  • Apart from this, there are two main objectives of the Cash Reserve Ratio:
  1. Cash Reserve Ratio ensures that a part of the bank’s deposit is with the Central Bank and is hence, secure.
  2. Another objective of CRR is to keep inflation under control. During high inflation in the economy, RBI raises the CRR to lower the bank’s loanable funds.

Iran celebrates 1979 Islamic Revolution

Context: Iran celebrates 1979 Islamic Revolution.

About Islamic Revolution:

Also called Islamic Revolution, it was a popular uprising in Iran in 1978–79 that resulted in the toppling of the monarchy on February 11, 1979, and led to the establishment of an Islamic republic.

Reasons advanced for the revolution include:

  1. A backlash against Western imperialism.
  2. the 1953 Iranian coup d’état.
  3. a rise in expectations created by the 1973 oil revenue windfall.
  4. an overly ambitious economic program.
  5. anger over a short, sharp economic contraction in 1977–78.
  6. other shortcomings of the previous regime.

Outcomes:

Following the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the Islamic Republic was formed under Khomeini’s rule. The U.S. Embassy in Iran was taken over by a group of Muslim students and 52 U.S. diplomats and citizens were taken hostage on November 4, 1979. This event came to be known as the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Uniform Civil Code

Context: Last week, while hearing a matter relating to properties of a Goan, the Supreme Court described Goa as a “shining example” with a Uniform Civil Code, observed that the founders of the Constitution had “hoped and expected” a Uniform Civil Code for India but there has been no attempt at framing one.

What is uniform civil code?

A generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.

What the constitution says?

Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Since the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics

India needs a Uniform Civil Code for the following reasons:

  1. A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
  2. Another reason why a uniform civil code is needed is gender justice. The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. The practice of triple talaq is a classic example.
  3. Many practices governed by religious tradition are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
  4. Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.

Does India not already have a uniform code in civil matters?

  • Indian laws do follow a uniform code in most civil matters – Indian Contract Act, Civil Procedure Code, Sale of Goods Act, Transfer of Property Act, Partnership Act, Evidence Act etc. States, however, have made hundreds of amendments and therefore in certain matters, there is diversity even under these secular civil laws. Recently, several states refused to be governed by the uniform Motor Vehicles Act, 2019.
  • If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. But “personal laws” are mentioned in the Concurrent List.

Last year, the Law Commission concluded that a Uniform Civil Code is neither feasible nor desirable.

Why is UCC may not desirable at this point?

Secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country. Besides, cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.

The term ‘secularism’ has meaning only if it assures the expression of any form of difference. This diversity, both religious and regional, should not get subsumed under the louder voice of the majority. At the same time, discriminatory practices within a religion should not hide behind the cloak of that faith to gain legitimacy.

How does the idea of a Uniform Civil Code relate to the fundamental right to religion?

Article 25 lays down an individual’s fundamental right to religion; Article 26(b) upholds the right of each religious denomination or any section thereof to “manage its own affairs in matters of religion”; Article 29 defines the right to conserve distinctive culture.

An individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality” and other provisions relating to fundamental rights, but a group’s freedom under Article 26 has not been subjected to other fundamental rights

In the Constituent Assembly, there was division on the issue of putting Uniform Civil Code in the fundamental rights chapter. The matter was settled by a vote. By a 5:4 majority, the fundamental rights sub-committee headed by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel held that the provision was outside the scope of fundamental rights and therefore the Uniform Civil Code was made less important than freedom of religion.

What is needed now?

Need of the hour is the codification of all personal laws so that prejudices and stereotypes in every one of them would come to light and can be tested on the anvil of fundamental rights of the Constitution. By codification of different personal laws, one can arrive at certain universal principles that prioritise equity rather than imposition of a Uniform Code, which would discourage many from using the law altogether, given that matters of marriage and divorce can also be settled extra-judicially.

Private member’s Bill

Context: Four Members of Parliament are ready with Private Member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha offering a way out for the central government to deal with high unemployment. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics

The four bills are:

  1. Unemployment Allowance Bill 2019 propose doling out some form of unemployment allowance to jobless citizens.
  2. Financial Assistance to Unemployed Post-Graduates Bill 2019 restricts the unemployment allowances to unemployed postgraduates only.
  3. Unemployed Youth (Allowance and Employment Opportunities) Bill 2019 eyes the twin-purpose of generating gainful employment opportunities and payment of unemployment allowance.
  4. Another Unemployment Allowance Bill proposes unemployment allowances for jobless youth until they get gainful employment.

Background:

Unable to tame rising unemployment has been the biggest criticism against the present government in its near six-year tenure. Part of the blame does lie with the central government itself. More than 6.83 lakh posts are lying vacant in the central government.

Who is a Private Member?

Any MP who is not a Minister is referred to as a private member.

Admissibility of a private member’s Bill:

The admissibility is decided by the Chairman for Rajya Sabha and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha.

The procedure is roughly the same for both Houses:

  • The Member must give at least a month’s notice before the Bill can be listed for introduction.
  • The House secretariat examines it for compliance with constitutional provisions and rules on legislation before listing.

Is there any exception?

While government Bills can be introduced and discussed on any day, private member’s Bills can be introduced and discussed only on Fridays.

Has a private member’s bill ever become a law?

As per PRS Legislative, no private member’s Bill has been passed by Parliament since 1970. To date, Parliament has passed 14 such Bills, six of them in 1956. In the 14th Lok Sabha, of the over 300 private member’s Bills introduced, roughly four per cent were discussed, the remaining 96 per cent lapsed without a single dialogue.

Safer Internet Day:

This year, February 11 is being observed as Safer Internet Day (SID).

The SID initiative first began in Europe, but is now recognised in around 150 countries worldwide.

Aim: To increase awareness about emerging online issues, such as cyberbullying, and chooses a topic reflecting current concerns.

  • This year, the theme is “Together for a better internet”.
  • It is organised by the Insafe/INHOPE network of awareness centres, that is spread across 30 countries and is funded by the Connecting Europe Facility program (CEF) of the EU.
  • In India, the New Delhi-based NGO DISC (Developing Internet Safe Community) Foundation is the SID Committee.
Storm Ciara:
  • It is a latest storm to hit Northern Europe.
  • It is expected to hit Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany.
  • In Germany, it is being referred to as ‘Sabine’. The storm has two names because there isn’t yet a pan-European system in place for labeling weather systems. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics
International Day of Women and Girls in Science:

February 11 was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

It was established by the United Nations to promote equal access to and participation in science for women and girls.

Key facts:

  1. According to a 2018 fact sheet prepared by UNESCO on women in science, just 28.8% of researchers are women.
  2. It defines researchers as “professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge”. In India, this drops to 13.9%.
  3. Between 1901 and 2019, 334 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 616 Laureates in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine, of which just 20 have been won by 19 women. The double Laureate is Marie Curie.
  4. In 2019, the American mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck became the first woman to win the Abel Prize, following 16 male mathematicians.
  5. The Fields Medal so far has also been awarded to only one woman mathematician, the late Maryam Mirzakhani of Iran, as opposed to 59 men since 1936. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics

SPICe+

  • Ministry of Corporate Affairs deployed a new Web Form christened ‘SPICe+’, replacing the existing SPICe form.
  • The initiative is a part of India’s effort to improve Ease of Doing Business (EODB).
  • SPICe+ would offer 10 services by 3 Central Govt Ministries & Departments. (Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Labour & Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance) and One State Govt.(Maharashtra), thereby saving as many procedures, time and cost for Starting a Business in India.
  • It would be applicable for all new company incorporations.
  • It features are as follows:

1. SPICe+ would be an integrated Web Form.

2. SPICe+ would have two parts viz.: Part A-for Name reservation for new companies and Part B offering a bouquet of services.

Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL)

  • NDTL refers to the total demand and time liabilities (deposits) of the public that are held by the banks with other banks.
  • Demand deposits consist of all liabilities, which the bank needs to pay on demand.
  • They include current deposits, demand drafts, balances in overdue fixed deposits, and demand liabilities portion of savings bank deposits.
  • Time deposits consist of deposits that will be repaid on maturity, where the depositor will not be able to withdraw his/her deposits immediately.
  • Instead, he/she will have to wait until the lock-in tenure is over to access the funds.
  • Fixed deposits, time liabilities portion of savings bank deposits, and staff security deposits are some examples.
  • The liabilities of a bank include call money market borrowings, certificate of deposits, and investment deposits in other banks.
  • Every bank must have a specified portion of their Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL) in the form of cash, gold, or other liquid assets by the day’s end. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics
Indian nationals living abroad:
  • There are over 1.36 crore Indian nationals living abroad, as per the latest data.
  • The highest number of Indians abroad are living in the United Arab Emirates, where the 34,20,000 Indians comprise about one-fourth of all Indians abroad.
  • The UAE is followed by Saudi Arabia (25,94,947), the US (12,80,000), Kuwait (10,29,861), Oman (7,79,351), Qatar (7,56,062), Nepal (5,00,000), UK (3,51,000), Singapore (3,50,000) and Bahrain (3,23,292).
UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics: Indians_Abroad
UNHCR launches ‘2 Billion Kilometers to Safety’ campaign:
  • The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has announced a new global campaign urging people worldwide to cover the total distance travelled by refugees each year – 2 billion kilometers – by running, jogging or walking.
  • The “2 Billion Kilometers to Safety” campaign vies to encourage people to support refugees by championing individual acts of solidarity.
  • The goal is to acknowledge the resilience and strength of refugees. 

GS2: Governance

The difference between private and government Bills in Parliament(IE) While a government Bill can be introduced and discussed on any day, a private member’s bill can only be introduced and discussed on Fridays.

₹81.67 crore worth electoral bonds sold before Delhi Assembly Elections, RTI query shows (TH) Scheme attracted criticism for lack of transparency in political funding.

Bill to regulate pesticide business gets green light (TH) The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Pesticides Management Bill, 2020, which, the go- vernment claims will regu- late the business of pesti- cides and compensate farmers in case of losses from the use of spurious agro-chemicals.

Reading medical devices rules (IE) Following changes notified by the government, medical devices will be regulated on the same lines as drugs. What devices are covered, what has changed, and why was this move felt necessary?

GS2: International Relations

Rohingya can’t be kept in jail after serving term: HC (TH) The refugees will have to be taken to a safe place and continue to be monitored, says Bench

U.S. President Trump confirms India visit (TH) US President Donald Trump will make his first official visit to India later this month, capping weeks of speculation on the trip that is expected to witness deepening of defence cooperation and signing of a trade pact.

GS3: Economy

Why industrial production has contracted, what it means for the economy IE- Explained The fall in IIP comes just a day after the Finance Minister quoted IIP data to argue the emergence of ‘green shoots’ in the Indian economy.

It’s a relief FM did not succumb to spending our way out of the growth slump(IE) As much as the headline fiscal deficit numbers are a cause for concern, the underlying quality of fiscal consolidation is a bigger concern.

GS3: Science and Technology

Indian Express: What is SuperCam? Atop new Mars rover, a robot that fires lasers to study rocks, and will look for signs of past life on Red Planet

GS1: Indian Geography

Ministry of Earth Sciences may go in for decadal forecast system (TH) System based on need for long-term predictions; will begin as research.

GS2: Governance

Cleaning of drains & septic tanks claims 110 lives in 2019 (TH) The number of people who died while cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the country increased by almost 62% from 68 in 2018 to 110 in 2019, according to a reply given by the Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) Ministry to the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Six years on, Lokpal is a non-starter (TH) The necessary rules, regulations and machinery are still not in place

Medical devices to come under drugs regulator’s purview starting 1 April (Mint) All medical devices, including implants and contraceptives, will be brought under the lens of CDSCO in a phased manner. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics

GS2: International Relations

First call (TH) India and Sri Lanka share close ties, but distrust and differences remain

GS3: Economy

A new approach on investment (TH) For India and the U.S., this will be critical to sustain momentum coming out of a first trade deal

GS3: Environment

Renewable energy: India’s wind power sector is in a downward spiral (DTE)The sector is losing its sheen, with dropping capacity addition, lukewarm response to new auctions, and a plummeting manufacturing sector

GS2: Governance

Supreme Court upholds changes to SC/ST atrocities law (TH) The March 20 judgment had diluted the original 1989 legislation, saying they were using its provisions to file false criminal complaints against innocent persons

‘Review court can refer questions to larger Bench’ (TH) The Supreme Court on Monday held that its five-judge Bench can refer questions of law to a larger Bench while exercising its limited power under review-jurisdiction in the Sabarimala case.

Draft policy on rare diseases notified (TH) Judges not satisfied with the provision of ₹15 lakh for one-time curative treatment

Reservation as right (TH) Ensuring adequate representation to disadvantaged sections is a state obligation

Explained: Uniform Civil Code — the debate, the status (IE) Recent observations by the Supreme Court have put the spotlight back on the debate over a Uniform Civil Code. What would such a Code seek to achieve, and what have been the arguments for and against it?

Explained: Fine-tuning the Surrogacy Bill (IE) A Select Committee has given its report on the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, recommending that surrogacy should not be restricted to close relatives. A look at the provisions and journey of the Bill since 2016. UPSC Prelims 2020 Topics

GS3: Environment

Safeguarding the delta The move for a protected agriculture zone in T.N. favours food security over energy greed

GS3: Science and Technology
Explained: What is Solar Orbiter, and how does it differ from previous missions to the Sun? (IE) The Solar Orbiter mission, which will take the first pictures of the top and bottom of the sun, is worth approximately Rs11,700 crore.

Source: PIB, AIR, Economic Times, The Hindu, Indian Express etc.

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UPSC IAS Mains 2020 Practice Questions

  1. Crimes against women in the country are on the rise. Suggest reasons and provide solutions to tackle the situation.
  2. While foreign envoys are allowed to visit Kashmir, the members of the opposition are not. Examine the need for constructive opposition in the light of the statement.
  3. Fast Track courts are only a half-hearted solution to stopping heinous crimes. Comment.
  4. 24X7 electricity availability is the next big step in digitizing India. Examine the statement.
  5. What are FasTags? How are they being implemented, and what are the benefits expected?
  6. Elucidate upon the need of government assistance to the North Eastern India for development. Examine alternatives to government support.
  7. Examine the possibility of privatization of routes of the Indian Railways. What are some of the alternatives to privatisation?
  8. Examine the federal impact of the GST council. Mention the issues it faces and suggest reforms for the same.
  9. What is the Mutual Legal Assistance treaty? What are the issues associated with it and solutions to those?
  10. While e-Commerce threatens brick-and-mortar shops, it is because of them that the customer has emerged a winner. Comment. Also, highlight the issues related to ecommerce and suggest solutions.
  11. Solar power is important, but it has almost become unviable to sustain solar projects in India. Comment
  12. Capital punishments have seen equal support and resistance. Highlight the utility of capital punishment, and examine if it must be continued in India.
  13. Reducing IMR remains a persistent challenge in India. Mention the reasons and suggest the solutions for it.
  14. While secularism may work for the west, India needs pluralism. Comment
  15. Nobody seems happy with the crop insurance scheme in India. Highlight the issues and suggest solutions to improve it.
  16. US-Iran crisis can lead to significant consequences on India. Comment
  17. What are the PCA norms? Mention the importance of these in protecting the health of the banks.
  18. Climate change has the potential to impact all life forms. Comment
  19. Minority institutions must be granted the freedom, but the same must be accompanied with regulations. Comment
  20. Examine the utility of blockchain and AI in transforming governance. Highlight the constraints in achieving them.
  21. What are smog towers and how do they work? Mention some more innovative solutions to fight smog.
  22. Explain the impact of the double burden of malnutrition on demographic dividend in India. Examine some solutions to it.
  23. Government scheme implementation needs proper auditing. Highlight the role to be played by CAG. Examine the need for better provisions related to third party auditing and social audit.
  24. The WTO system needs complete overhaul. Comment
  25. The dark spots on the streets have become a hub for crimes against women. Highlight the steps taken and a way forward to improve the situation.
  26. Critically comment on the need for the Indian Laws to be gender-neutral.
  27. Discuss the need and the feasibility of All India Judicial Services. How is it different from the NJAC?
  28. What was Savitribai Phule’s impact on women’s education in India? Discuss.
  29. Critically comment on granting special rights to the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
  30. What is NHRC? Critically comment upon its functions and powers.
  31. More programs are required on the lines of project tiger in the country. Comment
  32. Defection has become a major problem despite having a strong anti-defection law. Suggest the reforms required to improve the situation.
  33. Hunger and poverty in India stand as one of the major challenges. Highlight the strategy to eliminate them.
  34. Since criminals are getting smart, the police have to become smarter. Examine the statement through examples.
  35. While we have reached 100% rural ODF status, we remain far from total cleanliness. Comment on the statement and examine the need for cleanliness in India.
  36. Analyse the reasons and impacts of the forest fires. Suggest the measures to control them.
  37. Examine the need for creating a single energy ministry. Highlight the issues in achieving it.
  38. Elucidate upon the need for vaccinating the cattle in India. Mention the challenges and reform required to achieve 100% cattle vaccination.
  39. The poor financial health of the sugar factories has a direct impact on the rural economy of India. Comment
  40. Air India has become a burden, but it must not simply be sold off. Critically comment.
  41. Highlight the need for centre-state cooperation for sustainable development. Mention the role envisioned for the NITI Aayog.
  42. Dissent is the essence of democracy. In the light of the statement highlight the constitutional provisions to protect the freedom of speech in the country. Also mention some of the constraints and suggest a way forward.
  43. India’s green cover has been rising steadily. Mention the key steps in ensuring that the green cover keeps rising.
  44. What are open market operations? What is their impact on the economy?
  45. Artificial Intelligence can solve many of the problems that Indian railways face today. Critically comment.
  46. Digital payments have the potential to revolutionise the socio-economic framework of India. Comment
  47. Foreign investments are like double edged sword, which need to be handled cautiously. Comment
  48. “Good Governance” and “minimum government” go hand in hand. Do you agree? Justify your answer with suitable examples.
  49. Effective fund utilisation remains a key challenge in India. In the light of the statement, examine the need to reform Indian government’s fund utilisation for efficient service delivery.
  50. What is the need to insure the depositor’s money in the banks? What are the current provisions and what are the reforms suggested in the system?
  51. What is Arya samaj? Highlight Swami Shraddhanad’s role in Arya samaaj.
  52. Chief of defence can bring better coherence among the forces, but it can also lead to rise in friction among them. Critically comment.
  53. What are zero waste cities? Mention the challenges and benefits of achieving zero waste status in Indian cities.
  54. Northeastern India needs special economic zones, but with special protection of native culture. Comment
  55. MGNREGA has been a key legislation, but it needs drastic reforms. Comment.
  56. What is the basic structure of the Indian constitution, and why is it important to protect it. Explain with greater influence on secularism and freedom of expression.
  57. Examine the need to empower rural women. Highlight the role of self help groups in doing so.
  58. Indian businesses suffer due to stiff exit rules. Examine the prevailing situation and suggest reforms.
  59. Artificial intelligence is the key to future. Examine its importance in innovation and startup India programme.
  60. What is desertification? Highlight national and international efforts to limit it.
  61. Fiscal responsibility and discipline are required to ensure sustainable economic growth. Comment
  62. Cancer in India has become a major challenge, but the medical facilities are not apt enough to handle the crisis. Explain the issues and suggest reforms in ensuring cancer care in India.
  63. Disasters have been threatening the native ecosystems by bringing the foreign species. Comment
  64. What is the role of good governance in democracy? What steps need to be taken for improving the quality of governance in India?
  65. Groundwater conservation remains a major challenge in India. Explain the traditional and modern methods to improve the conservation in India.
  66. What is the post of Chief of Defence Staff? Examine the need for the post in the country?
  67. Examine the importance of India’s military co-operation with the world in the growing stature of India.
  68. What is Atal Bhujal Yojana? How is it significant amid the growing water crisis in the country?
  69. What is the National Population Register (NPR)?
  70. Railways’ workforce has been lurking for reforms and streamlining for too long. Critically comment.
  71. Mental disorders in India have become social disorder. Comment.
  72. Write a note on the Vaikkom Satyagraha. Mention the role played by Mahatma Gandhi in it.
  73. Accidents have not only dented the vehicles, but also Indian economy. In the light of the statement, explain the steps to improve the quality of roads in India.
  74. Indian steel sector is in dire needs of reforms. Comment.
  75. Elucidate upon the need to indigenise the defence production in India.
  76. India needs to resolve its boundary disputes for better collaboration with its neighbours. Comment.
  77. What are open market operations? How do they influence the economic situation in the country? How are they different from twist operations?
  78. Prevailing manual scavenging shows the deep inequality of the Indian society. Comment.
  79. What connects the NPR, NRIC, and Census? Evaluate the need of NRC in India.
  80. Fast food in India lacks in proper labelling. Mention the reason for latency and explain the solutions for the same.
  81. Road infrastructure plays a key role in ensuring all round regional development. Comment.
  82. Inequality adds to climate change. Critically analyse.
  83. Civil liberty goes much beyond freedom of speech. Elucidate.
  84. What is operation twist? What is its expected impact on the Indian economy?
  85. Highlight the impact of citizenship amendment act on India’s relationship with Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
  86. Indigenous production will have manifold impact on the defence as well as economy of the country. Comment.
  87. Critically comment on the voluntary population control program in India. 
  88. Highlight the issues caused by water pollution, and suggest solutions to tackle it. 
  89. Railways remains lifeline of the nation, but the lifeline is in dire need of reforms. Comment. 
  90. Indian medical system faces a unique challenge of poor diagnostics. Comment. 
  91. What is middle income trap and how can it threaten Indian economy?
  92. Evaluate the role of SEZ in regional development. 
  93. Critically analyse the system of reviews and appeals in the Indian criminal justice system.
  94. Critically analyse the recent amendments to the right to information act.
  95. No refugee crisis presents a deep humanitarian crisis. Critically evaluate in the light of recent developments.   
  96. Explain the impact of inflation on employment. Suggest how hyper-inflation can further degrade employment situation. 
  97. Internet revolution has the potential of transforming Indian villages. Comment
  98. Evaluate the need for increasing the size of the lok sabha. 
  99. Deputations must be done for learning and coherence, not vacancy filling. Critically comment. 
  100. What is GEM Samvaad? How is it going to influence the economic scenario in the country? 
  101. We need to ensure energy efficiency after ensuring energy availability to all. UPSC IAS MAINS 2020
  102. RTI must allow for the transparency in system, but it must also not hamper the already burdened officials. Comment
  103. Explain why has the world’s longest climate conference come on the verge of collapse.
  104. What is Ease of Doing Business report? Why is it important for India to rank higher in it?
  105. Shutting down the internet has multidimensional impacts. Comment
  106. Suggest methods to improve the fertiliser delivery systems in India efficient.
  107. India is well on the path of achieving its IMR and MMR targets. Mention the achievements made and the challenges remaining to completely eliminate these issues
  108. India’s manufacturing sector faces quality issues that hamper exports. Find these issues and highlight solutions to them.
  109. Natural disasters have a potential of overhauling the ecology of any region completely. Comment
  110. Modern transportation technology is required to deal with congestion and pollution. Comment
  111. AI can help learning in developed countries. Highlight its importance with respect to rural India.
  112. Critically evaluate the performance of the fast-track courts in India. Suggest solutions to improve them.
  113. Differently abled are yet to find social and systemic acceptance. Comment
  114. Ganga is not only the holiest for the humans, but also for other life forms. Comment
  115. Savings and Investments have a scalable impact on the growth prospects of a country. Comment
  116. Climate change can no longer be tackled with traditional solutions. It requires new approaches. Comment
  117. India’s research and development faces challenges on various levels. Mention the challenges and suggest reforms in the same.
  118. Forensics is a key aspect of investigation, but there are a lot of challenges in correct forensic analysis in India. Comment
  119. Leakages have reduced the effectiveness of government schemes. Explain. UPSC IAS MAINS 2020
  120. Water management is crucial, and remains a key feature of the sustainable development goals. Comment
  121. Custodial killings put a dark spot on the democracy. Explain.
  122. Social security in India is still a distant dream. Examine the statement in the light of the new Social security bill tabled in Lok sabha.
  123. Examine the IBC (second amendment) bill, 2019. Analyse the amendments and suggest a way forward.
  124. Citizenship amendment bill can have stark implications on the unique culture of the North East. Comment
  125. Congestion in Delhi is a leading cause of the city’s woes. Comment
  126. Examine the feasibility of delivering justice in rape cases within 21 days. Mention the reforms that would be required in the criminal justice system.
  127. Judicial appointments have been delayed due to structure and will. Critically comment.
  128. Elaborate the benefits and challenges of making the mid-day meal diverse.
  129. NPA crisis has shattered Indian banks. Mention the need to identify and address the challenge of NPAs.
  130. Identify the key factors behind citizen-centric governance.
  131. Encounters, like the one in Telangana, call attention to a criminal justice system in need of urgent reform. Critically comment.
  132. Lokpal has been a silent institution. Critically comment.
  133. Criminal Justice System in India is in dire need of structural and policy reforms. Comment
  134. Geriatric care must not only come from the family, but also from the state. Explain.
  135. The citizenship amendment bill can either heal, or scratch the wounds of partition. Comment
  136. What is trade protectionism? Explain its impact on the global economy.
  137. Crimes against women have put a question on the legal and social order of India. Critically comment. 
  138. Write a short note on the Paika rebellion. UPSC IAS MAINS 2020
  139. Analyse the growing need for effective healthcare delivery in the country. Mention the role immunisation can play in this.
  140. India China relations go far beyond border disputes. Comment
  141. Land reforms process was initiated at the time of independence, but it still haunts the economic growth. Critically analyse.
  142. Elaborate upon the need of FDI in economic growth of the country. Suggest issues with the FDI.
  143. India has been following a balanced approach between Israel and Palestine. Comment
  144. Jails in India are manufacturers of criminals. Explain and suggest methods to improve the jails in India. UPSC IAS MAINS 2020
  145. Indian criminal justice system needs significant reforms to reduce crime against women. Comment
  146. India’s diversity is displayed by the languages in India. Elaborate the statement in the light of various constitutional provisions.
  147. Have electoral bonds made a bad system worse? Critically comment.
  148. Rise of social media has been accompanied with the fake news. Mention the steps required to tackle fake news.
  149. Banking sector has been in rumbles, but its revival is necessary for economic growth of the nation. Comment
  150. Privacy is not only a legal, but a natural right. Critically comment.
  151. India needs both; police and policy reforms for women’s safety. Comment
  152. The economic offences have been killing the growth efforts of the government.
  153. Data protection is akin to protection of fundamental rights. Mention challenges and suggest measures in enabling data protection in India.
  154. School education needs to go beyond textbooks. Mention the flaws in the education system in India and suggest how New Education Policy can change that.
  155. Explain the evolution of India’s education policy since Independence. Suggest way forward.
  156. Disaster management must factor-in the role of climate change. Comment on the statement, and explain upon the need for disaster resilient infrastructure in India.
  157. Tribal culture can give a significant boost to the tourism programs in the country. Critically comment.
  158. There is a need to prevent the MSMEs from becoming dwarfs. Comment
  159. There is a dire need to reform the political parties in India. Critically comment. 
  160. Indian economy has been marred by financial frauds. Mention the steps taken to improve the situation and suggest more reforms. 
  161. Analyse the direct tax code of India. Suggest issues and reforms to address the same.  UPSC IAS MAINS 2020
  162. E-commerce is the future of shopping, but some sectors need better regulation for selling online. Critically comment.
  163. The clarion of ‘Gareebi Hatao’ has not yet reached rural India completely. Comment.

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