top of page

UPSC and APSC Current Affairs 5th May 2023

CONTENTS



Model Code of Conduct UPSC
Model Code of Conduct UPSC


Context:


As the elections for the Karnataka Assembly get near, political parties are accusing one another of hate speech and using it to gain an advantage.


Concerned about potential violations of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), the parties have reportedly approached India's Election Commission.

Relevance:


GS II: Politics and Administrative Structure


The following are the article's dimensions:


1. The Model Code of Conduct, abbreviated MCC,

2. The Model Code of Conduct, or MCC, is intended for use by political parties and candidates.

3. Objections voiced against the MCC


The Model Code of Conduct, abbreviated MCC,


The Election Commission of India (ECI) is responsible for developing a set of standards known as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

During the campaign period leading up to elections, it acts as a regulatory instrument for political parties and candidates.

The EC is required by the Constitution to supervise and organise free and fair elections for the Parliament and the State Legislatures. The fundamental purpose of the MCC is to provide the means for the EC to execute this constitutional obligation.

Timeframe and scope of application:

As of the day when the election calendar is made public, the MCC will begin its duties as an operational body.

It will continue to be in force until the day that the results are made public.

MCC stands for "Model Code of Conduct," and it applies to both political parties and candidates.


Conduct of the Campaign

Political parties are only allowed to criticise their rivals on the basis of their policies, programmes, track records, and work.

Using caste or communal feelings against candidates, criticising candidates based on reports that have not been verified, bribing votes, or bullying voters are all prohibited practises.

In order to ensure that proper safety measures are taken, political parties are required to notify the authorities in charge of law enforcement in their respective communities of the time and location of any upcoming meetings.

To prevent conflicts between the processions of different candidates, the parties involved should make contact with one another.

It is against the rules to both carry and burn effigies that depict people affiliated with opposing political parties.


Polling Places and Personal Identification

Voters and people who have a pass issued by the EC are the only people who are allowed to enter polling stations.

It is important that authorised party employees at polling booths wear the appropriate identification badges or cards.

Voter identification slips should be printed on plain paper and should not include any symbols, party names, or candidate names. These should be distributed to voters by party volunteers.


Behaviour of the Party Currently in Power

It is not permissible for ministers to mix official trips with election work or to use official machinery for either of these purposes.

In order to boost their election chances, the party that is currently in power is not allowed to promote using public funds or use the official mass media for publicity purposes.

Beginning with the announcement of elections and continuing until the conclusion of the election process, the party that is currently in power is not allowed to make any promises regarding the distribution of financial assistance, roads, or drinking water.

The party that is currently in power is not allowed to monopolise public areas and rest facilities.


Manifesto for the Election

There should be nothing in manifestos that goes against the values and ideas that are outlined in the Constitution.

Promises made by political parties to voters should be avoided at all costs because of the potential for such promises to sully the democratic process.

The rationale behind one's promises, as well as the means by which they might be fulfilled financially, ought to be outlined in one's manifesto.

During the period in which it is illegal to publish manifestos, as specified in Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act of 1951, no manifestos can be distributed.


New Members Recently Added to the MCC:

During the time period for which the ECI has issued a notification, there will be regulations governing opinion polls and exit polls.

On election day and the preceding day, it is prohibited for print media advertisements that have not been pre-approved.

During the election period, advertising produced by the government that feature political functionaries are subject to restrictions.


In accordance with the Law MCC:

The MCC does not have any formal backing, but the EC is very severe about enforcing it.

Certain provisions of the MCC can be enforced through other statutes' corresponding provisions, such as the IPC 1860, the CrPC 1973, and the RPA 1951.

In 2013, the recommendation to make the MCC legally binding came from the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.

The Elections and Constitutional Amendments Institute (ECI) is against making the MCC legally obligatory, citing the short timeframe of elections and the length of time it takes for judicial proceedings.


Objections voiced against the MCC

The MCC's Weaknesses and Limitations in the Following Areas:


The MCC has not been successful in preventing numerous forms of election malpractice, including but not limited to hate speech, fake news, the power of money, capturing voting booths, voter intimidation, and violence.


Problems that arise from utilising new technologies and social media:


During the election process, the ECI has a difficult time keeping up with new technologies and social media platforms, which make it possible for propaganda and false information to be rapidly and widely disseminated.


The MCC is a Non-Binding Organisation:


Due to the fact that the MCC is not a legally enforceable agreement and that its execution is dependent on moral persuasion and public opinion, it is less effective in preventing election malpractices than other similar documents.

Implications for Decisions Regarding Public Policy and the Public Interest:


The MCC imposes specific restrictions on policy decisions, public spending, welfare schemes, transfers, and appointments, all of which have the potential to have an effect on development efforts and the general public interest.


Timing Concerns Regarding the Application:


Criticism has been levelled at the ECI for applying the MCC at an inappropriately early or inappropriately late time, which affects the scheduling of development initiatives and the public interest.


Insufficient Awareness:


Because the MCC is not widely known or understood by voters, candidates, parties, or government officials, there is a risk that its provisions will not be complied with.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"



Windfall Tax UPSC
Windfall Tax UPSC


Context:


Recently, India decreased the windfall tax on crude oil that is produced domestically from a rate of 6,400 rupees per tonne to 4,100 rupees per tonne.


Relevance:


GS III: The Economy of India


The following are the article's dimensions:


1. What exactly is a tax on windfalls?

2. Why are nations imposing windfall taxes at this juncture?

3. What are some of the problems associated with levying such taxes?



What exactly is a tax on windfalls?


Windfall taxes are designed to tax the income that a company generates as a result of an external, often unusual event. One example of this would be the spike in the price of electricity as a direct result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Profits that cannot be traced to something the company actively accomplished, such as an investment strategy or an expansion of operations, fall into this category.

A "windfall" is defined as an "unearned, unanticipated gain in income through no additional effort or expense" by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the United States.

In most cases, governments apply this type of tax in the form of a one-time charge that is added on top of the regular rates of taxation.

The oil markets are one sector where such tariffs have consistently been suggested since price fluctuations contribute to inconsistent or unpredictable revenues for the industry.

Windfall taxes have been implemented by governments all over the world for a variety of reasons, including the redistribution of unanticipated gains when high prices benefit producers at the expense of consumers, the support of social welfare systems, and as an additional revenue source for the government. Each of these reasons has its own pros and downsides.


Why are nations imposing windfall taxes at this juncture?

Since the beginning of the previous year and throughout the first two quarters of this year, the prices of oil, gas, and coal have skyrocketed, despite the fact that they have fallen somewhat recently.

Energy consumption has increased as a result of the recovery from the pandemic as well as supply concerns stemming from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. This has, in turn, caused worldwide prices to rise.

The soaring prices meant massive and record profits for energy companies, while also resulting in substantial increases in the gas and electricity bills paid by households in big nations and smaller ones. Multiple analysts have referred to the profits as windfall profits due to the fact that they were partly the result of changes in the external environment.


What are some of the problems associated with levying such taxes?

Increase the level of ambiguity in the market regarding future taxation:

According to the opinions of various analysts, businesses will feel more comfortable investing in a certain area if the applicable tax system is predictable and consistent. Because windfall taxes are levied in retrospect and are frequently influenced by unforeseen occurrences, they have the potential to create uncertainty in the market with regard to future taxation.


Advice from the IMF Note:

An advisory note was published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on how windfall taxes ought to be levied. In the same document, the IMF stated that taxes in reaction to price surges may suffer from design problems due to the expedient and political nature of these levies.

In addition, it was stated that "introducing a temporary windfall profit tax reduces future investment because prospective investors will internalise the likelihood of potential taxes when making investment decisions."


Report by the CRS:

There is yet another debate on the nature of actual windfall profits, including how they may be identified and quantified, as well as the question of what constitutes a typical or excessive level of profits.

A CRS report, for example, argues that if rapid increases in prices lead to higher profits, in one sense it can be called true windfalls because they are unforeseeable. On the other hand, companies may argue that it is the profit they earned as a reward for the industry's risk-taking to provide the end user with the petroleum product. The CRS report argues that if rapid increases in prices lead to higher profits, in one sense it can be called true windfalls as it is unforeseeable.


There is also the question of who should be subject to taxes:

Only the large corporations that are accountable for most high-priced sales or both large corporations and smaller corporations, which raises the question of whether or not manufacturers whose sales or profits fall below a certain threshold should be exempt from the regulation.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"



Article 142 Supreme Court UPSC
Article 142 Supreme Court

Context:


Recently, the Supreme Court decided that it can exercise its extraordinary discretion granted to it by Article 142 of the Constitution to give divorces by mutual consent to married couples who are stuck in unhappy marriages in order to provide "complete justice" to those couples.


Relevance:


GS II: Politics and Administrative Structure


The following are the article's dimensions:


1. Article 142 grants extraordinary powers to some individuals.

2. Arguments in Favour of Article 142

3. Negative aspects of Article 142

4. Case law that significantly involved the application of Article 142


Article 142 grants extraordinary powers to some individuals.

According to the first sentence of Article 142(1), "The Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it, and any decree so passed or order so made shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India in such a manner as may be prescribed by or under any law made by Parliament and, until provision in that behalf is so made, in such a manner as the President may by order preside over."


The Supreme Court has the authority

The Supreme Court receives the all-encompassing powers necessary to undertake the functions of both the Executive and the Legislative in order to ensure that justice is served in its entirety from Article 142.

In order to accomplish this goal, Article 142 is supported by the following additional articles: Article 32 (Right to constitutional remedies), Article 141 (The law declared by the Supreme Court shall be binding on all courts within the territory of India), and Article 136 (Special Leave petition).

This is what many people mean when they talk about judicial activism.


Arguments in Favour of Article 142

Because it protects the rights of citizens and works to put constitutional ideas into practise even when the executive branch and the legislature fail to do so.

provides the other branches of government with a system of checks and balances as well as limits on their activities.

Take, for instance:

In the case Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court outlined the standards that should be followed to protect a woman from experiencing sexual harassment in her place of employment.

The judgement that the Bandhua Mukti Morcha Case Court handed down was a watershed moment for India's bonded labour system.

In the case of Olga Tellis, the right to a livelihood was recognised as being an integral component of the right to life.


Negative aspects of Article 142:

The judicial branch cannot be held responsible for the choices it makes.

It opens the door to judicial overreach and creates a slippery slope.

The employment of Article 142 on several occasions has the potential to erode people's faith in the honesty, reliability, and effectiveness of their government.


The following are notable instances in which Article 142 was invoked:

1. Babri Masjid Case:


In the litigation involving the land dispute between the Ram Janmabhoomi and the Babri Masjid, this item was used.

It played a significant role in the union government's decision to transfer ownership of the contentious land to a trust that was subsequently established.


2. The Bhopal Gas Disaster:


In the lawsuit between Union Carbide and the Union Government, the Supreme Court exercised its plenary powers.

It took action to pay compensation to those who had lost their lives as a result of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"



Monkey Pox UPSC
Monkey Pox UPSC

Context:


The structure of the protein methyltransferase that is produced by the monkeypox virus was very recently deciphered by scientists. The virus is able to evade the immune response of humans and cause monkeypox disease as a result of the presence of the methyltransferase protein.


Relevance:


GS II-Health Status


The following are the article's dimensions:


1. About Monkeypox virus

2. Animal-transmitted illness

3. The symptoms, as well as the treatment


About Monkeypox virus

The virus that causes monkeypox is classified as an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also contains the variola virus, which is responsible for the development of smallpox, and the vaccinia virus, which was formerly employed in the production of a vaccine against smallpox.

Although the symptoms caused by monkeypox are similar to those caused by smallpox, they are not as severe.

In 1980, vaccination was successful in wiping out smallpox all around the world. However, monkeypox is still prevalent in a vast swath of countries in Central and West Africa, and it has appeared in other regions on rare occasions.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are two separate clades that have been identified. These clades include the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, which is sometimes referred to as the Central African clade.


Animal-transmitted illness

The disease known as monkeypox is a zoonosis, which simply means that it can be passed on from diseased monkeys to humans.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that cases occur near tropical rainforests that are home to animals that are carriers of the virus.

Squirrels, poached rats from the Gambia, dormice, and other kinds of monkeys have all been shown to be infected with the monkeypox virus.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), human-to-human transmission is limited; the longest chain of transmission that has been documented spans six generations. This indicates that the most recent individual to become infected in this chain was located six links removed from the person who became sick.


Transmission:

When it does take place, transmission can take place through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or on internal mucosal surfaces (such as in the mouth or throat), respiratory droplets, or contaminated items. Lesions on the skin can also be a source of transmission.

The symptoms, as well as the treatment

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States state that the initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, and tiredness.

In addition, it produces lymphadenopathy, which is an enlargement of the lymph nodes. Smallpox does not cause this.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) emphasises the significance of avoiding confusion between monkeypox and chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and allergies linked with medicines.

The incubation period for monkeypox, which refers to the amount of time that passes between infection and the appearance of symptoms, is typically 7-14 days but can range anywhere from 5-21 days.

The patient will typically acquire a rash anywhere from one day to three days after the fever first appears. The rash will start on the face and then spread to other parts of the body.

The skin eruption stage can continue anywhere from two to four weeks, during which time the lesions become more rigid and painful, fill up first with a clear fluid and then with pus, and finally develop scabs or crusts.

According to the World Health Organisation, the percentage of patients who passed away in reported cases ranged from 0% to 11%, with the mortality rate being significantly greater among younger children.


Treatment:

There is currently no medication that is both safe and effective for monkeypox.

In accordance with the symptoms, the World Health Organisation advises supportive treatment.

It is essential to raise awareness in order to stop the spread of the sickness and get a handle on it.

-Original article from the Indian Express



Gig Economy UPSC
Gig Economy UPSC

Context:


The recent strike that was initiated by delivery agents working for Zomato-owned Blinkit has once again brought to the forefront the problems that are afflicting the gig economy in the country.


Relevance:


GS III: The Economy of India


The following are the article's dimensions:


1. Who exactly is a 'gig worker'?

2. Draught Legislation

3. Concerns with regard to gig workers and the new labour codes that are being suggested in India

4. The benefits of working in the gig economy.

5. Concerns pertaining to the freelancing economy

6. Taking steps to address the problems associated with the gig economy


Who exactly is a 'gig worker'?

People who work outside of the traditional relationship of employer and employee are referred to as gig workers.

There are platform workers and non-platform workers among gig workers. Platform workers are the more common of the two.

Workers who provide their services through the use of online platforms are referred to as platform workers, whilst workers who provide their services outside of these platforms are referred to as non-platform workers.

Gig workers are not easily classified due to their ability to exhibit qualities that are shared by employees as well as those of independent contractors.

As a direct consequence of this, gig workers receive inadequate recognition under the framework of existing employment regulations and are not eligible for statutory benefits.


Draught of a New Law:

For the first time, the Code on Social Security, 2020 included employees for gig economies within its scope of application for labour regulations.

A person who performs labour outside of a regular employer-employee relationship and earns money from such activities is considered a gig worker according to the definition provided by the Code.

Both platform workers and non-platform workers are considered to be gig workers according to the Code.

It is the responsibility of both the central government and state governments to devise appropriate social security programmes for gig workers. These programmes should cover issues such as health and maternity benefits, provident funds, and accident benefits.

In order for employees on gig platforms and other platforms to be eligible for the benefits offered by these programmes, the Code requires that they all register themselves.


Concerns about India's proposed changes to its labour laws in relation to the gig economy:

  1. Reduced access to certain benefits and protections:


Workers who are hired through gig economies are not eligible for the advantages and protections provided by other proposed labour standards, such as minimum wage and occupational safety regulations.

Additionally, it is forbidden for them to form unions that are recognised by the law.

Inability to Provide an Efficient Treatment:


Under the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, gig workers are not permitted to use the specialised redressal procedure that the law provides for other workers.

This prevents people from pursuing a viable course of action to address their concerns with their employment.


2. There is no right to participate in collective bargaining:


Gig employees do not have the right to collective bargaining, which is a key tenet of modern labour law that is essential to the protection of worker rights. Gig workers do not have this right.


3. Unsafe and unsanitary working conditions:


A research published in 2022 by Fairwork India shed light on the appalling working conditions endured by workers in the digital platform industry in India.

There is a pressing need for statutory protection of the rights of workers in the gig economy.


Implementation stalled due to delay:


The proposed labour laws have been approved by the President, but they have not yet been put into effect even after three years have passed since their introduction.

As a justification for the delay, the Central Government has pointed to the States' slow progress in drafting new regulations.

The following are some benefits of working in the gig economy:

Provide for immediate need The Gig economy can be beneficial to workers, employers, and customers by making employment more adaptable to the requirements of the moment and the demand for flexible lifestyles. This can result in a number of positive outcomes.

Less expensive and more productive: the majority of the time, firms just do not have the financial means to hire full-time staff. A significant portion of the working population participates in what is known as the "gig economy," in which they hold temporary or part-time jobs. The end effect is that people who are willing to use services such as Uber or Airbnb have access to cheaper and more efficient options.

Employers have more options available to them because technology and connectivity through the internet mean that freelancers don't have to report to the office to conduct their work. Because of this, companies have access to a greater pool of applicants to pick from because they are no longer required to recruit someone based on their geographic location.

provides specialised knowledge: Professional services companies are engaging gig workers so that client-impact teams can benefit from their extensive domain experience. The vast majority of workers that provide contact for professional services, such consultants, have years of experience in domain-specific knowledge.

The greater variety of options available to workers: People frequently discover that in order to finance the lifestyle they choose, they either need to relocate around or take multiple jobs. The gig economy is a manifestation of this growing trend of people changing occupations multiple times over the course of their lifetimes. People also tend to switch careers multiple times throughout their lives these days.

The economic contribution of India's young people is predicted to increase as the country's proportion of young people continues to rise. According to analysts working for the International Monetary Fund, the rate of youth idleness in India is thirty percent, the highest rate among emerging countries.

The platform provided by the gig economy is ideal for getting young people involved in work opportunities that are beneficial.

It is also predicted that, in comparison to traditional employment, the gig economy offers a level of gender parity in the workforce that is substantially higher than average.


Concerns relating to the Freelance Economy:


The dissolution of traditional economic relationships can be a factor that contributes to the negative effects of the gig economy. This includes the erosion of traditional economic interactions between workers, businesses, and customers. This has the potential to nullify the gains that result from developing a long-term relationship with customers and employers that is based on trust, conventional practise, and familiarity.

Because of this, investment in relationship-specific assets that would otherwise be beneficial to pursue could be discouraged. This is because no side has a motivation to invest heavily in a relationship that only lasts until the next gig comes along, therefore there is no reason to spend significantly in a relationship that only lasts until the next gig comes along.

Workers who prefer a traditional career path, along with the stability and security that comes with it, are finding it difficult to find work in certain areas due to the increased competition for jobs.

Because temporary workers are frequently less expensive to employ and offer greater availability on their own terms, the "gig economy" makes it more difficult for people working full-time jobs to advance their careers to their full potential.

Disrupted work-life balance for employees in the gig economy Flexibility in a gig economy frequently means that workers have to make themselves accessible at any moment the gig comes up, regardless of their other demands, and they must always be on the hunt for the next gig. This can make it difficult for workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

As a result, the flexibility that comes with working gigs can throw off the work-life balance of certain people, as well as their sleep patterns and the activities that make up their everyday lives.

There are no employment-related rights afforded to workers in the gig economy, in contrast to workers in traditional employment, who are typically not eligible for any social benefits, like insurance, medical benefits, employees' provident fund, bonus, or gratuity. Gig workers also do not have the same legal protections afforded to employees in regular employment.

The following are some potential solutions to the problems that are associated with gig workers:

Evaluating the scope of the gig economy There is currently no reliable estimate available on the total number of gig workers in India; however, given the centralised nature of the platforms and the larger platform labour market, the Labour Ministry should find it relatively easy to compile this information.

The formulation of legislation pertaining to the gig economy: A strategy that is more likely to be successful would then entail conditional government agreements with platforms operating under some of its flagship programmes. It is possible that the successful pilot of Swiggy's Street Food Vendors initiative under the PM SVANidhi, or PM Street Vendor's Atma Nirbhar Nidhi plan, will serve as an example of this.

-Foundation: "The Hindu"



Simlipal Tiger Reserve UPSC
Simlipal Tiger Reserve UPSC


Context:


In the central part of the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), the body of an extremely uncommon melanistic tiger was discovered.


Relevance:


GS III: Environment and Ecology

The following are the article's dimensions:


1. The Similipal Tiger Reserve, often known as STR

2. What exactly are creatures that have melanin?

3. Other Significant Protected Areas in the State of Odisha


The Similipal Tiger Reserve, often known as STR

The Mayurbhanj District, which is located in the most northern section of Odisha, is home to the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), which is a protected area.

It was designated a "Tiger Reserve" in the year 1956, and ever since 1973, it has been a part of the national conservation initiative known as "Project Tiger."

Geographical Position and Topography:

The twin peaks of Khairiburu and Meghashini, which are 1515 metres above mean sea level, are the highest points in the surrounding landscape of STR. STR is bordered by high plateaus and hills.

The majority of the landscape is mountainous and rolling, with patches of open grassland and wooded areas thrown in here and there.


Flora:

There is a variety of diverse forest types and ecosystems that predominate, with some semi-evergreen regions being dominated by northern tropical moist deciduous forest.

The sal tree is the most common type of tree in this area.

There are a phenomenal 1078 different types of plants that can be found in STR, with 94 of those being species of orchids.


Fauna:

The Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) is home to a wide range of animals, some of which are critically endangered, such as the Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, Gaur, Elephant, Langur, Barking and Spotted Deer, Sloth Bear, Mongoose, Flying Squirrel, Porcupine, Turtle, Monitor Lizard, Python, Sambar, and Pangolin.

There are several different tribes who call the area around STR their home, some of which are the Kolha, the Santhala, the Bhumija, the Bhatudi, the Gondas, the Khadia, the Mankadia, and the Sahara.


Extra Information:

In addition to the STR, there is a 'transitional area' that is 2250 square feet. UNESCO decided in 2009 to add a reserve that is km in size as a component of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

It is the only place on Earth where melanistic tigers may be found in their natural habitat.


What exactly are creatures that have melanin?

Melanism is a genetic feature that causes an animal to have an extremely high quantity of dark pigmentation. As a result, the animal's hair, skin, or feathers will be black or very dark in colour. Melanism can be passed down through generations.

Melanistic traits can show up in a wide range of animal taxa, from large cats like tigers and leopards to birds, reptiles, and even rodents. Big cats like tigers and leopards are two examples.

Dark-skinned animals, known as melanistic animals, may have an increased chance of surviving in some situations, such as densely wooded regions, because their coloration allows them to blend in more effectively with their surroundings.


Other Significant Protected Areas in the State of Odisha


1. Bhitarkanika National Park

2. Badrama WLS

3. Chilika (Nalaban island) WLS

4. Hadgarh WLS

5. Baisipalli WLS

6. Kotagarh WLS

7. Nandankanan WLS

8. Lakhari Valley WLS

9. WLS of the Gahirmatha (Marine)

-Foundation: "The Hindu"

Comments


bottom of page